Lobbying Councillors – or “the time for action is now”: can you do this now please?

Our current objective is to raise awareness amongst Bradford District councillors of reasons (air quality and public health, environment and climate change) to oppose the plans to turn Valley Road/Canal Road into dual carriageway. We want to make clear to the council that there is widespread and growing opposition to this plan.

We are asking concerned residents to pose any of the following questions to their councillors.  You can find your councillor and their contact details here: Councillors. If you live in Shipley itself, all our councillors are already supporting us, so please write to Bradford council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe who is also in charge of West Yorkshire transport, or to Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw who has responsibility in Bradford for transport. Please let us know when you get a response.

·         Health and breathing

Dear Councillor

I am aware of plans by Bradford Council to develop Canal Road/Valley Road into dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley.  As this will create extra traffic I am worried about a further reduction in air quality as a result and particularly its effect on children’s health – one example is Shipley C of E primary school at the junction of Otley Road and Canal Road.  Could you please ask in Council how this road development plan is expected to impact on air quality along the length of the road?

 ·         Induced traffic – additional traffic resulting from road development

Dear Councillor

I am aware of plans by Bradford Council to develop Canal Road/Valley Road into dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley and understand that new or developed roads create traffic https://bettertransport.org.uk/roads-nowhere/induced-traffic. I am concerned that more traffic means more air pollution, poorer health and increased traffic congestion.  Could you please ask in Council why we are not making plans to reduce traffic instead of increase it?

·         Council’s climate commitments not being met

Dear Councillor

I am aware of plans by Bradford Council to develop Canal Road/Valley Road into dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley. I also note that it is three years since Bradford Council announced a climate emergency, yet they are still proposing road development schemes that will contribute to increased vehicle journeys and so increased CO2 emissions. The council are not taking their commitments to reduce emissions seriously. Could you please request in Council that such schemes be dropped immediately.

 ·         Introducing weight limits to reduce heavy goods traffic

Dear Councillor

I am aware of plans by Bradford Council to develop Canal Road/Valley Road into dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley. We already have a problem along the length of Canal Road and onward through Shipley and Saltaire with large heavy goods vehicles making a ‘short cut’ between M62 and M6 lake district.  A dual carriageway will only increase the number of such vehicles. Could you please request in Council that these road development plans are abandoned and instead weight limits are imposed on Canal Road, Valley Road, Manningham Lane and through Shipley (exceptions could be made for local hauliers).

 ·         National objections to road development

Dear Councillor

I am aware of plans by Bradford Council to develop Canal Road/Valley Road into dual carriageway between Bradford and Shipley. Around the country increasing numbers of road development plans are being opposed by local communities because they increase traffic and emissions which damage the environment and pollution which damages health. Governments in Wales and Scotland have called a halt to road development for these same reasons. Could you please request in Council that the Canal Road scheme be replaced with measures that will reduce rather than increase traffic immediately.

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.