Professor Rosie McEachan of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, will be speaking about Air quality, health and Born in Bradford’s plans to evaluate the Bradford Clean Air Plan. It will be a chance to ask questions and join discussion, and all are welcome. Rosie is an applied health researcher, and director of the Born in Bradford study which follows the lives of over 50,000 Bradford residents to explore why some families stay healthy and why others fall ill.
Please advertise widely and come to this discussion which will be supported by other clean air scientists, and the campaigning group Clean Air Bradford. Organised by the Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance, concerned about health and climate impact of traffic schemes between Bradford and Shipley.
No-one has been willing to state the aims of this Bradford-Shipley road scheme. Our last newsletter pointed out the contradiction between its original justification – to increase traffic as a means of stimulating economic growth – and the current aims of West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) to reduce traffic to avert climate catastrophe. Each scheme document states a different set of aims.
As promised, we wrote to Bradford Council on 8th March to ask for the scheme’s Benefits Realisation Plan, which all WYCA schemes must have. This would lay out the scheme aims, and how they will be ensured.
Not receiving an acknowledgement or a reply during March, we approached the Councillor responsible for the scheme, Alex Ross-Shaw, who followed it up and assured us that a response would be forthcoming “in due course”.
As of 24th April, there still is no reply.
We also asked for the assumptions being made for scenarios of future traffic. The scenarios, or forecasts, will be core evidence to judge the scheme’s impact on our health. We would like to engage with the Council in a helpful collaborative manner to get the best scheme possible.
No answer to that one, either.
We will knock on the door again in every way we can think of, you can be sure.
There are many welcome promises to take climate change seriously, and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in Leeds and many other Councils, or by 2038 in Bradford, West Yorkshire and many others, or by 2050 for the UK government.
But rare are the plans that work backwards from a target like those, to lay out just what needs to be done to reach it in the time available.
It explored three pathways, none of which would reach the net zero carbon target of 2038 entirely. Each would leave between 18% and 27% of further reductions that required “a combination of specific, ambitious measures and innovative new technologies as they become available”.
The minimum requirements of the least ambitious pathway include a 21% reduction in car miles travelled. The most ambitious pathway reckons on a 37% reduction in car miles travelled. Both also assume a hefty shift to electric-powered vehicles. All the pathways say that a shift from car to walking, cycling, bus and train is necessary. Necessary to avert what Bradford Council called ‘the enormous harm’ associated with global warming by 2 degrees centigrade, in its declaration of a climate emergency in 2019.
All the pathways demand retrofitting 700,000 houses with insulation, shifting to renewable energy sources, restoring peatland, planting 420 football pitches of trees, and reducing food waste by over one third.
The July 2020 report expected public consultation by December 2020, and WYCA urged further work on measuring carbon emissions. It is nearly a year later and there has not been further public information. But the work is ongoing and shows the scale of change necessary to avert human catastrophe in Bradford as elsewhere.
The CERPs report is essential guidance to all that is coming.
The District Plan includes policies on transport, the environment, and a section on the ‘Canal Road Corridor’. So Bradford Shipley Travel Alliance commented with our focus on that ‘corridor’ and our concerns on health, safety and averting climate catastrophe. We made it clear that our response did not distract from comments that any of our supporting organisations may make.
We applauded the policy for 15-minute neighbourhoods with all services close to housing developments. We welcomed the policies favouring housing developments without increasing car traffic, and the policy for carbon neutrality by 2038. All were all positive and necessary. But there seem to be major contradictions between these strategic policies and the current plans for Canal Road, which were drawn up a dozen years ago under different priorities.
We said that “The Plan’s strategic priorities should be defended against contrary measures in current plans, not tucked around them like fancy decoration around a poisoned chalice.”
The District Plan does not temper or alter the Canal Road scheme in order to meet the new priorities. The housing developments in Bolton Woods have no conditions to reduce car travel, no conditions to insist on car clubs, active travel (bikes and walking), or buses. The plan protects a route for creation of extra traffic capacity between Bradford and Baildon (the Shipley Eastern Relief Road). It sees Canal Road and Valley Road becoming “a streamlined high-capacity route”. These plans fly in the face of the Council’s support for Carbon Emissions Reductions that require a significant reduction in car traffic. The scheme incorporated into the District Plan puts more pressure on the traffic bottleneck of Shipley rather than reduces it.
Isn’t it poor planning to declare the destination is one place, traffic reduction and sustainable development, but accept without comment projects that will instead take us to somewhere else?
Shipley Town Council’s gave an extensive response to the District Plan, which can be read here: https://shipleytowncouncil.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/draft-local-plan-response-final-ja.pdf. It included a comment on the road plan between Bradford and Shipley: “We are concerned about the impact of the Bradford-Shipley Route Improvement Scheme on Shipley. This road scheme is designed to increase road carrying capacity on Canal, Valley and Otley Roads and as a result will, through induced demand encourage more traffic onto the roads. This increase in traffic is highly likely to have a specific negative impact on Shipley. It will increase congestion, air and noise pollution as well as rat-running and will have a negative impact on community wellbeing through community severance caused by wide, congested roads.”