Category Archives: Transport

What I want for London: put walking first

walking London credit Ric CapuchoYesterday we launched Greener London with eight other environmental organisations, a set of 20 practical actions for the next mayor that together would make London a greener, fairer and better place to live and work. And, at our Greener London hustings on 4 March, Londoners get their chance to quiz mayoral candidates on their plans.

So, in Greener London week, we’ve asked people from organisations active in the capital to tell us the one thing they’d like to see for a greener London.  Today, we hear from Sarah Williams of Living Streets Read more

Boris’s big failure: why is London still killing its citizens?

Emissions of a starting diesel engineA little over five years ago, my daughter was born in central London, in an area where the nearest air quality monitoring station recorded particulates as having reached dangerous levels 55 times that year. When 35 bad days are exceeded, the UK falls foul of European air rules, which means it faces court cases and fines until the problem is rectified. Read more

The plan to tackle UK air pollution won’t be enough to protect health

air pollution over LondonThis post is by Professor Martin Williams of the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London. He was previously chairman of the Executive Body of the UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution.

At this time of year it’s customary to present awards for achievements over the previous year. If there was an award for Air Pollutant of the Year then nitrogen dioxide would surely win. Read more

Unpicking the modernisation of the UK economy one step at a time

Infrastructure_info_homeIt generally pays to remain sanguine in the face of the ups and downs of the public policy debate, because it’s usually driven by short term concerns that don’t have a lasting effect in the real world.

Last week, however, I found myself looking at data from one of the dustiest corners of Whitehall and feeling shocked that the reverse had happened: a series of short term decisions is unpicking long term plans to modernise our economy. Read more

How new cycling policy could transform London

TxirrindulariakThis post is by Rosie Downes, campaigns manager at the London Cycling Campaign (LCC).

In 2013, the mayor of London Boris Johnson published his Vision for Cycling, a document which we described as “one of the most ambitious plans to promote cycling ever produced by a major UK political leader”. Johnson himself described it as a “profound shift in my ambitions and intentions for the bicycle in London”.  It promised an increase in the total cycling budget to almost £400 million over the next three years; a commitment to delivering future cycle superhighways to international standards, and the development of a London cycling network.

Read more

A little more conversation, a lot more action: getting infrastructure right

Centre span of the new Severn Bridge , UKThis post is by Huw Irranca-Davies MP. It first appeared on Labour List.

The infrastructure we use to travel, talk and power our homes and businesses is constantly being renewed and improved. When we get it right, it delivers outcomes that society hugely values such as easier and quicker commuting, allowing people more time to spend with their families, clean, plentiful water supplies and access to affordable energy. The best infrastructure is also future proof and helps to tackle climate change.

But infrastructure can also be a source of huge frustration and contention as debates erupt over new projects and interest groups get pitted against each other. Read more

My big manifesto idea: infrastructure

Big Ben londonIt’s less than a year until the next election, and the race is on to inform and shape the policy agenda of the next government. Manifesto priorities may appear to be determined entirely by public sentiment, party values and a febrile media debate, but the quality of new policy ideas also plays an important role. New ideas nearly always come from outside formal politics. The proposal to create a Green Investment Bank, championed by both Conservatives and Labour in the run up to the 2010 election, emerged from policy entrepreneurs in the environment and finance community over a year before. Read more

One of the best things an environmentalist can do: get on a plane

Plane landing by sunriseThis post is by Brendan May, chairman of The Robertsbridge Group.

Some years ago, Prince Charles got into trouble for accepting an environment award overseas. ‘But he flew!’, they cried. Since then, from what I can tell, HRH has had to resort largely to pre-recorded video pieces or appearing as a hologram at non-British environmental summits. Mercifully, he adds as much sustainability work onto his official state visits as he can. Having seen first hand what his interventions can do to get a green cause moving (sustainable seafood, in my case) I was sufficiently irritated by the furore to write to one of the newspapers that covered the story. I argued that the Prince and others who spend most of their waking hours trying to stop business and government wrecking the planet should not just be entitled to travel the world but have an obligation to do so, building global traction for sustainability efforts. Read more

Green liberalism: why we need a local approach to sustainable transport

Sea_of_bikes,_Bristol_Temple_Meads_stationThis post is by Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge. It is one of a collection of forthcoming essays to be published by Green Alliance, titled Green liberalism: a local approach to the low carbon economy. Similar collections will also be published under Green Alliance’s ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green conservatism’ projects, as part of our Green Roots programme, aiming to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK. This piece has also been published on Liberal Democrat Voice.

A sustainable and low carbon transport system is something which UK governments have historically struggled to achieve, thanks to years of poor forward planning and systems which revolve heavily around cars, a highly inefficient mode of transport. But mobility patterns are changing, especially amongst young people, and sustainable transport systems are much more effective at meeting local social and economic needs. Read more

Will City Deals promote sustainable transport?

Railroad Lines in downtown Birmingham, AlabamaThis post is by Stephen Joseph, CEO of the Campaign for Better Transport.

Launched to some fanfare last July by Nick Clegg, the City Deal programme is supposed to free larger urban areas from the dead hand of Whitehall, allowing local decisions on issues like infrastructure. So what will this mean for sustainable transport?

Getting transport right is essential to growing city economies. An overly centralised system under previous governments has been blamed for holding up decision making and restricting the availability of funding. Read more

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