Wednesday, 24 June 2020

We need new green jobs, not a bail-out of the planet-destroying industries

As we emerge from lock down, the world has to create new jobs in the green industries of the future, not bail out big-oil and aviation whose emissions are putting our very existence on this planet in peril. Temperatures this month have been as high as an astonishing 38C in the Siberian Arctic. [See: "Arctic Circle sees 'highest-ever' recorded temperatures"]

It's urgent that the UK government fully backs plans by local councils such as Ealing's to go carbon neutral ASAP and matches those efforts with a national plan.

The science is clear. Failure to act would mean that we would stumble out of the Covid crisis only to face a looming and far worse climate catastrophe.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Walk or cycle to stay healthy, cut pollution & CO2 emissions, and avoid Covid

Traffic volumes in London before the Covid pandemic were already causing air pollution that kills over 9000 Londoners every year, and producing CO2 emissions that contribute to the looming climate catastrophe. Now, with the reduced capacity of public transport due to Covid we need a safe alternative that doesn’t involve burning oil to move around thousands of one and a half ton metal boxes (cars), typically containing just a single passenger each.

So it's good news that Ealing Council and the London Mayor aim to to make it safer to walk or cycle. But to transform our city we need first class cycling provision. What does that mean?

First Class cycling provision IS:

and it’s NOT:

Smooth, broad, segregated cycle paths

Narrow, patched & potholed routes, only a white line separating them from traffic, full of speed bumps and parked cars.

Continuous routes

Broken by stretches of busy roads or dangerous junctions.

Direct and uninterrupted routes that would be straightforward and safe for a child cyclist.

‘All around the houses’ routes with endless turns, multiple buttons to press at controlled junctions, requiring frequents stops and even dismounts to stay safe.

Frequent stops (more than 5 times a mile) could double the energy required from the cyclist.

Away from pollution hot-spots

Next to highly polluted major roads

Equipped with secure, convenient and dry parking at destinations like schools, colleges, workplaces, shopping centres, entertainment complexes and stations.

Without anywhere genuinely secure to leave your bike.

The Dutch have done it - why can't we?

We know first class cycling provision. is possible because the Dutch (and others) have done it. Take a look at these short videos about the truly inspirational cycling facilities in Holland:

"How the Dutch got their cycle paths" [6 minutes]


"Utrecht: Planning for People & Bikes, Not for Cars" [13 minutes]

What are Ealing doing?

A map by active travel charity Sustrans enables people to view their local authority’s response to the Covid-19 crisis in the provision of safe infrastructure for walkers and cyclists. (Note: On the Sustrans website, to see the map, you need to open the link “head to the map here” near the end of the article).

You can catch up on what Ealing Council is planning by viewing this video from Julian Bell, Ealing Council leader, about new cycle lanes.

Ask for more!

If you can suggest a cycling improvement, contact your councillors. You could also add your suggestion to this interactive map that allows people to suggest improvements for walking or cycling: WidenMyPath

How about ...

  • Secure covered bike parking in town centres and supermarket car parks.

  • Facilities for a cycle rickshaw service to take you and your shopping home. Or speed-limited, electric TukTuks.


  •  A safe route across a busy junction.


Ealing Cycling Campaign

Video by Dave Watson: Top Tips for Cycling in London

"How cycling could help solve the coronavirus transport crisis" - video from The Guardian.