Bradford Beck consultation – have your say by 16th January

The Council plans to open a culvert that covers the Bradford Beck alongside Valley Road, between Poplar Road and Briggate, and landscape that part of the greenway between Bradford and Shipley. This was originally part of the Bradford-Shipley Road Scheme but separate funding has been found for it.

You can see the plan, and please comment on it up to 16th January via the survey at

There is very little change from the current pathway and grass, but among the general welcome for tidying up the area and enjoying the Bradford Beck, there have been some comments you might wish to consider.

  • Include a cycle track separate from walkers.
  • Put in lighting for walkers and cyclists so the greenway is usable after dark including for commuting in winter.
  • Include a bridge or two for residents on Valley Road.
  • Dual carriageway on Valley Road will be to the detriment of this scheme.

Third anniversary of Bradford council’s declaration of a climate emergency policies – councillors must do much more

All West Yorkshire councils declared a climate emergency in the first half of 2019, starting with Bradford on 15th January and ending with West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) on June 27th 2019.

Although transport emissions were identified by WYCA in June 2020 as the main source of greenhouse gases, WYCA’s Transport Committee has not considered a single report on the issue since then. Transport emissions have not reduced at all in the past decade.

The expansion of traffic capacity planned for Bradford-Shipley must be reviewed; the investment could be used instead to encourage less pollution from transport, not more.  Current plans will generate considerably more air pollution through increased traffic volumes and congestion at bottlenecks.  Instances of respiratory illness amongst the vulnerable including children with developing lungs and the elderly with vulnerable lungs is evidenced in our local hospitals and GP surgeries across the whole Bradford area.

West Yorkshire campaigners have said in an open letter to each member of WYCA transport committee:

It is the responsibility of the WYCA Transport Committee to take the lead in facing up to this decarbonisation challenge, but our submission to you is that so far you have failed to discharge that responsibility.”

In December, Councillors in Bradford learned that the Bradford-Shipley road scheme has been amended, but no details of the amendments have been released. BSTA has always said that consultation must happen with full information about likely levels of traffic and air pollution. A change in the scheme will need approval. BSTA have asked what these changes are, and how they will be approved, and is waiting for a response. Bradford residents need the changes to prioritise the health of Bradford residents, and reduce greenhouse gases.

Monthly BSTA meetings and a Public Consultation event

The next two BSTA meetings are this Wednesday 5th January 7pm on Zoom, and Thursday 10th February 7pm at the Tambourine Café at 38 Bingley Road, Shipley BD18 4RU. At these meetings we will plan our next steps, all are welcome.

Saturday 5th March 2022: a Public Consultation on the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s road development plans for Bradford and Shipley, hosted jointly by BSTA and Shipley Town Council.  Kirkgate Centre, Shipley – a unique opportunity for Bradford and Shipley residents to listen to and question key stakeholders in the current plans and have an impact on how this important development turns out.

Major local conference on health, climate and transport

Shipley Town Council and BSTA are to organise a conference on health, climate and transport. Scheduled for Spring next year, we will invite Council and Transport planners, residents and community activists.

Shipley Town Council held the first of their Community Assemblies on climate on 13th November. Over 60 people filled the Kirkgate Centre with discussion about the strengths of Shipley and how it could be even better. Reduced traffic pollution was noticeably on most people’s list for improvement.

Two good examples of traffic planning

Birmingham City Council has announced plans for an ambitious supersized Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN), spanning the entire area within the inner ring road. The plan would see the city centre split into zones, with roads closed off to traffic, preventing and discouraging short car journeys within it. The traffic restrictions will be combined with significant investment in public transport, pedestrianisation and protected cycleways. A workplace parking levy will be introduced to reduce commuting by car and to help fund the improvements.

The Welsh Government established an independent panel in the summer to review its roads programme. The panel chair was asked to fast track scrutiny of the Llanbedr Access Road and Bypass. She has now reported her findings and recommended that the road be scrapped which the Welsh Government has accepted. A package of alternative measures will now be developed to encourage modal shift, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the negative impact of traffic on Llanbedr and other villages along the A496. We hope Grant Shapps and the DfT and WYCA are watching and learning.

Source: Transport Action Network

Bradford Council investing in fossil fuels

Last Tuesday, Bradford Council decided not to call on the West Yorkshire Pension Fund, which it administers, to withdraw at the earliest opportunity from its 500m investments in fossil fuel companies. It decided not to follow Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield Councils in seeking an early divestment. Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe declared that councillors should not think they can take financial decisions on the Fund’s behalf, though only a review of how to divest had been called for. Instead the Council decided to urge the fund to “wind down” holdings in fossil fuels and make a commitment “to significant progress towards net-zero by 2030.” That is not even calling for divestment.

The report by the Telegraph and Argus focuses on Extinction Rebellion’s support for divestment from fossil fuels, but they would probably be the first to highlight the work by Fossil Free West Yorkshire and the lobbying of councillors at City Hall last week of Friends of the Earth, Global Justice, Unite the Union, BSTA,  and others.

Air quality and COVID

Bradford’s air quality improved markedly during the lockdown but is back up to illegal values again (40mg/m3 of NO2). The Centre for Cities report uses DEFRA figures, showing this pattern of badly bouncing back for most cities in Britain. Bradford has the worst nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels of the 49 cities studied, both before and after COVID.

NO2 is a major polluter from petrol-driven traffic, and gaining legal levels is the aim of the Clean Air Zone starting next year. The health professionals of Born in Bradford point out that legal levels are not safe, and that particulate matter from brakes stays in lungs and blood is another killer pollutant of traffic, whether petrol or electric-driven. BSTA would like to see the Clean Air Zone insistence on ‘clean’ engines extended to all traffic, with support for those can’t afford the upgrades.

In another recent report air pollution is shown to be associated with higher risk of catching COVID. Air quality really must be improved way better than simply the illegal limits.

Transport Action Network (TAN)

TAN keeps us up to date with national news and other local campaigns, and their own challenges to continued road-building. TAN director Chris Todd led us in our July strategy meeting, and continues to advise us. Here are two pieces from recent TAN newsletters which report on national figures who talk the talk.

  • Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee (CCC) at a Greener Transport Solutions webinar said that: “the government must be congratulated on its targets and attacked on the basis it has not delivered on the mechanisms for delivering those targets”. He also went further saying that: “we’ve also got to ask ourselves a very big question about the road building programme. There is a very great deal of money there which should be used in other ways.” This is the first time that the CCC has been so explicit in its criticism of RIS2 [the government road programme] and roadbuilding in general.
  • Grant Shapps acknowledges in his Transport Decarbonisation Plan that “we cannot, of course, simply rely on the electrification of road transport, or believe that zero emission cars and lorries will solve all our problems”. It is something the Government has started to address in urban areas where it wants to see half of all journeys made by walking and cycling and for more people to travel by bus.

We are meeting

BSTA has begun to meet physically and all readers of the newsletter are very welcome at out next meetings on Wednesday November 3rd, and Thursday December 2nd, both at 7pm in the Tambourine café at the top of Saltaire, 38 Bingley Rd, Shipley BD18 4RU.

We have a constitution and a committee: Anna Watson (Chair), Jenny Stein (Treasurer), Ludi Simpson (Secretary), Tony Plumbe, Gordon Roscoe, Bryan Groom. We are applying for grants to help increase the impact of our actions. We are working with Shipley Town Council on a major event in the new year to highlight the gains in air quality and lowered pollution to be gained from a review of transport plans. We continue to speak to businesses, residents and schools.

We are looking to bring much greater public understanding, and to influence the politicians who make decisions, not just in Shipley but along the Aire Valley route of the road, and across Bradford and West Yorkshire Councillors.

BSTA puts our alternatives to widening the roads leading up to Shipley

Following three meetings to discuss ‘How would you spend £48m if not on widening roads?’, BSTA has sent details of alternatives to Bradford Council, for them to consider in what we understand to be an imminent reappraisal of the scheme.

It is relatively cheap to put in a clean air zone as planned next year for commercial vehicles in the Aire Valley to Shipley which is Bradford’s worst-hit pollution sink. Why not extend it to all cars, and give the grants that allow families to convert to cleaner engines? Why not do it hand-in-hand with all the measures that help people to avoid using cars for shorter trips: co-ordinated cycle routes with priority and places to keep bikes safe. Safe and well-maintained routes to walk to schools and shops.

Through-traffic of heavy lorries contributes a lot of Bradford’s pollution. Weight restrictions would keep heavy loads on the M62 instead of cutting through Bradford to get to the North West. At the same time, a rail freight terminal in the Shipley area could link up with ‘last mile’ van delivery of parcels and shopping.

Park and ride schemes are well-tried and would suit the Aire Valley with rapid bus and train routes into Bradford. They would work well with deterring long-stay parking in the city. It would make such a difference if West Yorkshire buses were much cheaper.

The full list of our alternatives is here. Please comment on your own priorities.