Welcome to the website for the Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance. You can find out more about us here.
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The plan is for this Alliance to be a broad discussion forum with the objective of presenting (and campaigning on) common concerns, to Bradford Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority that are planning and funding a major road scheme which will affect Manningham, Bolton Woods, Shipley, Sataire, Bingley and other areas on the route.
In its present form the Scheme could have a major detrimental impact on the whole area between Bradford and Bingley, although the proposals also have positive aspects.
We anticipate that a cross section of community, business and political representatives will join the Alliance to best represent local residents.
The Alliance was launched early in 2021 and has gained affiliation from many local environmental, community and other organisations which together with active individuals decide how we operate and what we do. We are not affiliated to any party political organisation. One priority is to seek meetings with Bradford Council’s transport and environmental officers and collaborate with them in making the most of the investment in transport to improve health and address the climate emergency.
Will you be a Champion of less traffic, better health and taking seriously the climate emergency?
Following a successful strategy meeting in early July, Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is growing its activities with Champions in the following nine areas:
Social media and publicity
Engagement with politicians
Health matters including Born in Bradford and GPs
Traffic flows, speeds, composition
Air qualityActive Travel
Schools and education
Engagement with businesses
Finance and fundraising
We are drawing up plans for the next 6 months, to influence the detailed plans for the Bradford-Shipley road scheme, and to engage with them when published for consultation in 2022. Thanks go to those who are already preparing campaign plans, we do need more help.
Appeal:As we write we need especially a Champion to develop our social media reach and another to lead a concerted effort to reach politicians. If you can help with these or any of the other areas listed above, please get in touch with Ludi at email@example.com, and we’ll welcome you on board with all the support you may want. Please get in touch now, and certainly by 2nd August, as we will be discussing ideas and plans on 18th August.
Led by a cross-party panel, the final report of the Institute of Public Policy Research’s Environment and Justice Commission was published in July. It insists on ‘six shifts’ to make the response to climate emergency an opportunity, done with and by people, fairly and taking a whole-society approach, treating climate not in isolation but with nature, with government taking leadership but giving responsibility locally. Summarising 4 citizens juries spread through the UK, and analyses of carbon emissions and much else, on transport the report says:
“Transport decarbonisation plans must aim to make it possible to live a good life, wherever you are, without needing to own a car. This will mean that alternatives to the private car, including both public transport and shared mobility schemes, reach a level of convenience and affordability that makes them the obvious choice for personal travel for far more people than they do today.” (p99)
Roads, Runways and Resistance is a very different read. Published this year, Steve Melia entertainingly runs the winding course of government road policy, the industrial road lobby, and resistance to road schemes from 1990 to the present. Scepticism in providing for forecasts of ever-increasing traffic is a streak that has run through all governments during that time, keeping road-building a hotly contested policy.
Despite John Prescott’s 1997 promise ‘I will have failed if in five years there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car’, the road lobby has always been powerful enough to keep policy confined to slowing traffic growth rather than putting a lid on it. The book’s final chapters chart the climate actions of recent years.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority have finally released to us the ‘Benefits Realisation Strategy and Monitoring Plan’ prepared for their traffic scheme between Bradford and Shipley in 2019. Although all the scheme details have been hidden and made unreadable, the list of aims and intended monitoring sadly reveals a lack of ambition on making a shift to traffic patterns that health and climate improvements demand.
The document claims to “summarise the principal scheme objectives and related benefits, the proposed interventions, opportunities to maximise and lock-in the benefits, their measurement and ownership” (p3).
The main objectives declared for the scheme (Table 3) are as follows:
“Increased capacity to a level which can accommodate the predicted demand from the residential and employment growth around the corridor
Reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability
Improve safety… with a particular focus on pedestrians and cyclists
To support … a modal shift from private cars
To improve air quality and environmental impacts”
While welcoming the aims of safety and improved air quality, it is fair to ask how will the aims be achieved? Though every measure is blacked out, the ways of monitoring the impact of the scheme are listed.
An initial concern is that the aims are not reflected in the ways the expected benefits will be measured (Table 4):
‘Increased capacity’ has no quantitative target, simply ‘widened highway’.
‘Modal shift from private cars’ has no target at all. Measurements will be made to reveal if there has been a change in walking, cycling and public transport, but no measurement or target of a shift to these away from private cars. WYCA has an aim from its climate emergency policy to reduce car journeys by between 21% and 38%, but there is no whiff of that realism here.
Bradford Council officers, who develop and implement the scheme on behalf of WYCA, have said that the objectives themselves are being further developed (Ref 16 in their June 2021 response to the Shipley Labour Party’s review of the scheme). It can only be hoped that the concerns of residents and Councillors will be taken on board. It would be better if we could have a conversation rather than rely on hope. Just for confirmation, Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is not party political and has support from community and environmental organisations as well as from several local branches of different political parties.
The reason given by WYCA for hiding or ‘redacting’ the details is:
“Redactions have been made to information specific to the scheme itself that is still under development. The data / information is changing frequently as options are developed, assessed and refined and it is therefore not appropriate to share these at this time. Evidence summarising the Full Business Case will be provided through further consultations and other statutory processes such as Planning Approval. … We are committed to openness and transparency however we also need to ensure the integrity of the development process is protected.”
It seems clear that WYCA and Bradford Highways do not at present intend to collaborate with residents, schools and businesses affected by the scheme. Currently, it appears they intend to consult only on a finished scheme, “the Full Business Case”, not gaining residents’ inputs to the formulation of the scheme. It is our intention to intervene to change that process and influence the plans to make them better for health and climate.
The consultation offers a map of the area and invites you to click on a place you think there is a problem. The problem might be speeding cars, rat-running through an area, parking, or anything that makes walking and cycling less attractive. You don’t have to suggest solutions, but you can if you think you know what would work: examples might be blocking a road at one end, speed bumps, one-way traffic, no-through-traffic signage, bus only stretches (bus gates), cycle or pedestrian only routes, lighting, information, training, maintenance, pedestrian seating or cycle parking, vehicle restrictions around schools, creation of walking or cycling groups, removal of steps or curbs, or whatever else you think would help. You can also read comments that have been made, and agree or disagree with them.
Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance thinks that increased traffic capacity on Canal/Valley Road would put additional traffic pressure throughout Shipley, Frizinghall and many places from Keighley to Tong, Baildon to Wyke. Along with many of our affiliates we welcome measures to make cycling and walking easier, and to reduce the need for the car to be the dominant way of travelling.
Will Sanderson of Living Streets is encouraging residents to respond to this consultation, and educating residents about the impact of more traffic on the Bradford-Shipley route. Get in touch if you can join him knocking on doors on 7th and 8th August or any other time (firstname.lastname@example.org, or Will on 07970 654333).
Press release 15th July 2021, from Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance
The government’s plan to make transport climate-friendly has been described by a Bradford transport campaign as “too little too slow”.
“The Transport Decarbonisation Plan will do nothing to reduce congestion nor provide health benefits as particulates emissions will not be reduced, indeed are likely to increase. It doesn’t address the need to reduce car traffic,” said Ludi Simpson from the Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance.
Published on Wednesday, the government plan aims to cut in half the transport carbon emissions from all transport by 2035. It says that local authorities will have to make carbon reductions a fundamental part of local transport planning.
Ludi Simpson said “The targets won’t save us from the disastrous consequences of further man-made global warming. They are less than demanded by the Climate Change Commission which the government itself set up to advise it.’
The campaign says that local government should be given more support to implement solutions to the climate emergency. It calls for major changes to the traffic scheme that plans to increase motor traffic on Canal and Valley Roads between Bradford and Shipley. It calls for support at www.bsta.org.uk.
Where do we want to be at the end of it? (a) To understand better how we can influence the road scheme. (b) To propose actions that are taken away to work on. (c) To make the most of the period up to early 2022, the expected time for the final formal consultation on the road’s business case.
What will we cover in the workshop? (a)Who are the players (residents, councillors, business, media etc etc)? How to shift players with most interest to have more power/influence, and shift players with most power/influence to have more interest? (b) Create a timetable of decision points. What is a good rhythm of education and campaigning to best influence the scheme? (c) What are the key things that we need to win, drawn from Chris’s experience of other road campaigns.
Please help us prepare for the meeting in these two ways:
After an appeal, BSTA has received the ‘Benefits Realisation Strategy & Monitoring and Evaluation Plan’ for the road scheme between Bradford and Shipley. West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) sent it with all reference to specific ‘improvements’ blacked out because its planning is “still in the course of completion”. We can hope that this means the options for the road are being revised and that when published they will take into account health and climate concerns. They should include full publication and discussion of the carbon audit that WYCA plans to conduct on the scheme later this year.
The objectives of the scheme stated in the document are first to increase road capacity but also “to support a more sustainable transport network and modal shift from private cars”. Sadly that ‘modal shift’ doesn’t get mentioned again and is not included as an outcome for monitoring. Only an increase in public transport and active travel (walking, cycling) are measured, not whether there is a shift away from cars. Nor is ‘model shift from private cars’ mentioned in the summary case for the scheme. Yet a minimum 21% shift away from car travel is necessary to achieve WYCA’s target of net zero carbon by 2038, a target that many say is not ambitious enough.
The Bradford-Shipley road scheme was conceived a decade ago to support new housing and employment in the Canal Road / Valley Road area. We do need people-centred jobs and housing, that don’t require more cars on the road. It means implementing the Council’s policies in favour of a shift to other forms of transport, and to reduce car traffic as part of avoiding climate catastrophe. It means providing car-share schemes and public transport along the valley and insisting on housing with low car density, not only in the valley but across the District.
I am writing this in response to Bradford Councils proposal to expand Canal Road into a four lane road.
Despite declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the Council seems incapable of acting in a way commensurate with the climate facts. 2020 was the hottest year since records began. Nineteen of the warmest years have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2020 tied with 2016 for the warmest year on record since record-keeping began in 1880 (source: NASA/GISS).
We already have illegal levels of dirty air on the route of the A657 as it passes through Saltaire and air pollution at many other locations in the district. Every day tens of thousands of vehicles spew noxious fumes affecting the health of citizens and in particular schoolchildren whose schools are sited along our roads. 191 people every year die in the Bradford District because of toxic air.
How ironic when back in the 1850’s Titus Salt built Saltaire to escape Bradford’s pollution!
We need a fundamental shift in transport policies away from endless road building to a huge increase in the provision of affordable, and clean air friendly, public transport. Active travel needs to be encouraged and funded to tackle fumes, congestion, public health crises like obesity, asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Encouraging the positive benefits of quieter streets, clean air, more birdsong and nature; streets for people not cars.
A recent Dutch study (Cycling Embassy of Denmark) found that, in terms of socio-economic costs, cars cost 79 cents (with fuel, parking, road building, ill health) and cycling gains 72 cents (with health and climate benefits).
In terms of building infrastructure for the future for every 1Km of highway built you could provide 100Km of cycle ways. (Manuel Calvo, Seville bicycle way architect)
Cars are the least space-efficient way of moving people and goods around – a three-metre wide lane can move 700 to 1,100 people per hour in cars, whereas for bicycles and walking this increases from 2,000 to 6,500. There are also multiple city case studies, such as the construction of Cycle Superhighways in London, which show that changing car space to bicycle space does not adversely affect car travel times.
The truth is giving more road space to bicycles and pedestrians does not make traffic worse and quieter, safer streets can increase the footfall in the city centre, as most other cities have discovered.
During lockdown Gov figures show cycling increased by 380% and other means of traffic dropped 90%. Cycling turns out to be a cheap and fast solution to our city problems of toxic air and congestion.
It followed unprecedented levels of walking and cycling seen across the UK during the pandemic and an attempt to encourage people to make healthier travel choices and to choose alternatives to public transport as they started to return to work.
The £250m emergency active travel fund was the first stage of a £2bn investment promised to boost greener, active travel.
What did the transport secretary say? Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “With public transport’s capacity severely restricted at this time, our trains and buses could become overcrowded and our roads gridlocked – holding up emergency services, critical workers and vital supplies.
“We know cars will continue to remain vital for many, but as we look to the future we must build a better country with greener travel habits, cleaner air and healthier communities.”
I recognise that politicians only have a four year ‘lifespan’, they need to get re elected and don’t want to be perceived as unfairly demonising car owners. But if we make changes now we will save so much more than money in the long run. We will save lives and create a city that people want to live in.
If Bradford Council are serious about their Climate Emergency and their commitment to Clean Air and a decarbonised transport system in our district they must instigate a Citizens Assembly on Climate Change. Let the people learn about the issues, debate the solutions and give them a mandate to instigate the radical solutions necessary to benefit us all.
This post introduces the presentation by a very brief overview, and lists some limitations of the Clean Air Zone observed during the discussion.
Rosie described the impact of air pollution, now mainly from traffic emissions, on health. A quarter of Bradford’s childhood asthma has been attributed to poor air quality. Air quality is also implicated in cancer, stroke, children born with low birthweight and a whole host of other health outcomes. The poorest areas are the worst affected. The aim of the Council’s government-funded Clean Air Plan and Zone is to bring air quality within legal limits across the District. The Zone covers all Bradford within the ring road, and the valley up to and including Shipley. It is due to start early in 2022.
Born in Bradford’s role is to provide an independent evaluation of how air quality changes with the introduction of the Clean Air Zone. They will use not only their own work but also health data for all Bradford residents, air quality monitoring from Council sensors already in place and from pupils in 12 schools inside and outside the Clean Air Zone, who will wear sensors on their journey between home and school. A survey on the attitudes and behaviour of Bradford residents to air quality is already providing contextual information.
All those involved would be delighted if the Clean Air Plan and Zone improve air quality not only for Nitrogen Dioxide which is currently above legal limits in some areas, but also for other emissions and particulate matter. The evaluation will show whether this is the case, and its results will indicate best practice for other cities’ implementation of Clean Air Zones.
As Anna Watson, Shipley Town Councillor and facilitator of the event stressed, Bradford is privileged to have the scientific expertise and experience to allow this evaluation by the Bradford Institute for Health Research and Born in Bradford.
Some questions were raised about other developments such as the Bradford-Shipley road scheme’s increase in traffic, and the dangers that would remain even if air quality were within legal limits. These questions are summarised here, without reducing the positive contribution of the evaluation from Born in Bradford which had event participants’ fulsome support.
The Clean Air Zone is dictated by government funding which is limited to be the least stringent regulation that will bring the District’s pollution levels with UK legal limits on nitrogen dioxide. It is not aimed at bringing air quality to a considerably better level than the dirtiness which is inside the law. Policies aimed at climate survival or healthy clean air, need further actions.
The CAZ funding does not give car owners support to change their vehicles to cleaner engines, or to leave their car at home. Inequality of access to non-polluting transport is not addressed, because people on low incomes can less afford it. Funding to allow the poorest to have cleaner cars and use different modes of transport would be a major contribution to cleaner air that is not within this government clean air policy.
Monitoring the CAZ will monitor the overall impact of the CAZ and all other interventions that happen at the same time. It is not a tightly controlled experiment where nothing else is changing at the same time. These changes may include the disruption of building a new Bradford-Shipley traffic route, bus improvements, and other changes. To the extent that statistical modelling cannot disentangle the impact of different interventions, the relevance of the results for other places will be weakened.
Car dominance, and the entitlement it engenders in drivers, has a lot to answer for: contributing to climate change, polluting the air we breathe, making conversation in the street difficult and unpleasant, isolating the elderly and disabled, disturbing our sleep, contributing to roadside litter, and resulting directly in avoidable injury and deaths.
According to the Council’s own reports, cars are the biggest contributor to air pollution in Bradford, causing 1 in 20 early deaths in the region, and costing local NHS Trusts around £3million per year. Around 200 people are killed or seriously injured on Bradford’s roads every year. And still, millions of pounds are being spent adding capacity to the road network, while too little is done to provide the infrastructure and incentives for alternative modes of transport. This is why 40% of journeys under 2 miles are currently made by car. Now is the time to enable and encourage active travel: a simple lifestyle change that has such enormous health and social benefits.
Shipley & Saltaire Living Streets, in support of the excellent campaigning done by the Bradford Shipley Travel Alliance, Clean Air Bradford, and Friends of the Earth, are calling for an end to car-centric thinking in planning and transport (avoid), more joined-up cycling and walking routes (shift), and measures to prevent antisocial driving, parking and rat-running (improve). We need your help!Commit to leaving the car at home whenever possible, or get in touch to join our team. We especially need some help from parents of primary-aged children (to start a walking/cycling bus and play streets), young adults with a flair for social media (to run our accounts), and artistic folk (to do some tactical urbanism).
We have a choice, now, between a cleaner future for people, places and our planet, or continuing with activities which damage our health and environment. Walk with us.