Join the debate on what Bradford Council should do to decarbonise the District

Bradford Council has funded an online platform for residents to suggest and comment on initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in the District. It is only available until the end of November, so use it now. There will be a workshop with Councillors and businesses to discuss the suggestions.

This is the link to make suggestions and comments: https://yorkshire-climate.org/

Registration is straightforward, and on logging in you are able to

  • Click on an initiative already proposed, and then support it, express an interest, make a comment or propose an alternative.
  • Click on an issue (eg. Transport), see the existing issues and initiatives proposed, or propose a new issue and an initiative that would address it.

The process is rapid – progressing through discussion of initiatives for a fortnight, and then voting for them. So if you have some space to contribute and agree or disagree with initiatives, get going now!

It is a system that has been used in Germany and elsewhere to asses support for initiatives and the reasons for support or opposition. Use it to express your views and be heard.

Of course there is no commitment to take any of these suggestions on board, but it is a means of recording your views, and those views being independently recorded by the University of Leeds. Your comments are anonymous – your details are only used for registration, and you can choose a nickname for your comments.

https://yorkshire-climate.org/

Tracy Brabin’s office looking both ways

It is useful to look both ways before crossing a road. But if you see traffic coming from two directions you may feel stuck. That seems to be the case in the reported words from West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, whose office rejected pleas for a review of road-widening, saying “not all the road schemes would increase carbon emissions, adding that some included new cycle and walking facilities”.

Below we reproduce the letter that BSTA sent to Tracy Brabin yesterday. Her Office promises a reply within 15 working days.

8th September 2021

Dear Mayor Tracy Brabin

Congratulations on your election as Mayor, and on your and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s commitment to reduce traffic pollution to meet its net-zero carbon target. The Combined Authority ‘Carbon Emissions Reduction Pathways’ report in June 2020 highlights the need to treat greenhouse gas emissions as a budget that must reduce each year, and its carbon audits of road schemes will help to decide how to do this.

Time is not elastic in this matter. To put in no starker terms than the world’s scientists, immediate measures are needed for deep reductions in carbon emissions.

I was surprised to read then, that “Ms Brabin’s office told the Local Democracy Reporting Service … that not all the road schemes would increase carbon emissions, adding that some included new cycle and walking facilities.” Bradford T&A 5/9/2021

The Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance brings together those concerned on health and climate grounds about WYCA’s proposed increase in traffic capacity of the route between Bradford and Shipley. The Alliance’s members now include over 200 individuals, and the local organisations of your own Labour Party as well as the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. It includes Shipley Town Council, local environmental and community associations and many businesses.

The road scheme is part of the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and devised in its current form in 2012. It envisages new cycle and walking facilities. But its main expenditure and aim of widening roads and increasing traffic capacity speaks to an age when increased traffic capacity was the main measure of success in economic prosperity. That perspective is no longer valid.

WYCA’s Carbon Emissions Reduction Pathways report investigates three scenarios to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2038. These differ according to how much is left to hoped-for but unknown solutions. Even the most optimistic of the three scenarios requires not only a large shift towards electric vehicles but a 21% reduction in car traffic. A major reduction in traffic capacity.

The final public consultation on the Bradford-Shipley Route Improvement Scheme is due early in 2022. All our members and member organisations have agreed to ask you not to proceed without evidence that shows how the intended benefits of the scheme will be guaranteed, and that these benefits must include reduced traffic and a switch from car to other forms of collective and healthy travel. The health of our children and adults is affected not only by the catastrophe if global warming is not stemmed quickly, but by the particulate and other emissions of traffic.

If the reporting is accurate, your office’s suggestion that new cycle and walking facilities are enough to meet the Combined Authority’s carbon emissions commitments should be withdrawn. Instead an auditing and review of all travel, as part of the carbon emissions reduction research, must be undertaken before this road scheme is developed further.

The Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is developing alternative uses of the £48m committed to the Bradford-Shipley scheme, uses which would reduce traffic flows and emissions and therefore improve the travel of all types, including by car.

We would appreciate meeting you in order to explore these options with you.

Best wishes,

Ludi Simpson, Secretary Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance, www.bsta.org.uk

What would you spend £48m on, if not more car traffic? Open meeting on 7th September

Are you concerned about children’s health and traffic pollution? Take global warming seriously? Want fewer cars on the roads, not more? What would you spend £48m on?

West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council want to spend £48m on widening Valley Road, pumping more traffic into Shipley and beyond, and surely attracting more through-traffic and more rat-running.

Bradford-Shipley Travel Alliance is going public on Tuesday 7th September, meeting in the Shipley Kirkgate Centre BD18 3EH at 7.30pm. We’ll review the merits of alternative proposals for what the money could be spent on, and what actions to take to make healthier travel happen between Bradford and Shipley.

You will be very welcome. There will be an online link for those who can’t make it in person: email admin@bsta.org.uk for an invitation (we can’t guarantee the quality of the link though we will do our best).

Five minutes in a cyclist’s day: Birklands Road Shipley to cycle route 66

Its early morning, bump the bike down the back steps. On goes the high viz jacket, ditto helmet. Check for speeding rat runners (still happening despite 20mph and school street signs)

Take a deep breath and set off down the back street, very slowly. Congestion at the junction with Manor Lane, always cars jockeying in both directions to get through; danger of parked cars.

Make the run down Sunny Bank. Traffic lights stay red. “Been there long” says a taxi driver, pulling up alongside. “lights don’t register bikes you know”. REALLY, who knew?

He’s there…. lights go green. Adrenalin kicks in, Set off.  

Cars and huge lorries. Air filthy. Eyes peeled for potholes and tarmac ‘molehills’. No room to move out on this stretch. Teeth and bike both rattle riding through dips and bumps

Finally… the safety of the pavement at the bottom of Briggate and onto Route 66. The RELIEF!

Certainly got some kicks (apologies to the Stones, Nat King Cole and whoever else covered the song) Ironic that it was all about a road trip.

  • Hear it now for walkers, cyclists and public transport!

Kath Jackson

News and comment summer 2021: Links

17 September Bradford Climate Emergency Walk. Baildon (1.30) – Shipley (3.15) – Bradford Centenary Square (from 5pm). Route and further details.

13-17 September free zoom conference ‘Real zero in a hurry’, with many talks on decarbonising transport: https://decarbon8.org.uk/decarbon8-conference/

8 September: “An accessible, attractive, and cleaner alternative to car journeys”. Bradford Council consultation on four schemes in central, south and west Bradford, ends 8th September https://bradford.moderngov.co.uk/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?ID=345&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

“Is this new road OK? It’s only a bit more carbon…” Local authority carbon budgets needed for transport, by Greg Marsden.

The Transport Decarbonisation Puzzle. Comment by Glenn Lyons on the government’s July 2021 Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

From the Transport Action Network’s newsletter: The Government has committed to cutting carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, including international aviation and shipping, while failing to actually show how it will deliver such a radical target. This has led some to predict that there could be many more legal challenges over transport investment decisions.

Further links to government Transport Policy and decarbonisation, and commentary, here.

Come on the streets with active travel

Last weekend’s door-knocking in Shipley about active travel was very successful – many people were in and grateful for being pointed to the current consultation to stop rat-running and encourage walking and cycling. Around 60 signed up to keep in touch with Living Streets and with BSTA. Thanks for all who took part and especially Will’s organisation from Living Streets. We made good use of the new BSTA flyer.

To make the most of the consultation on Saltaire and Shipley which ends on 17th August, can you join us to do some door-knocking this coming weekend on Saturday 14th between 1 and 4 and Sunday 15th also between 1 and 4?

On Saturday we’ll meet in the car park on Saltaire Road/Exhibition Road, BD18 3JN. If you come later than 1pm then ring Ludi on 07747 565273 to find out where we are. The area Bradford Council are looking at includes Wycliffe so we’ll visit Park Street, Elliot Street and Wycliffe Road and Belmont Terrace which are used as short cuts for through traffic.

On Sunday we’ll knock on doors in Frizinghall. Although the consultation on the Active Travel Neighbourhood in Frizinghall is just finished, it will be good to raise awareness about the issues and begin to sign people up there who are concerned about car-dominance in travel. We’ll meet at 1pm at the top of Shipley Fields Road, BD18 3BL. Again, if you are later than 1pm, ring Ludi on 07747 565273 to find out where we are.

All welcome.

Thank you! If you haven’t commented on the Shipley Active Travel network you can do so here until 17th August: https://activetravelbradford.commonplace.is/proposals/have-your-say

Best wishes, Ludi

Champions

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 admin@bsta.org.uk, 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.

    New reports on roads and climate

    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.

    Bradford-Shipley traffic scheme: new release of (old) information

    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.