Julian Fulbrook has been a Holborn Councillor since time immemorial and he has been Camden’s Cycle Champion Councillor since May 2014. He is now leading a Scrutiny Panel on Camden Council’s role in the Circular Economy.
The idea of the circular economy originated from economist Kenneth Boulding who called for a shift away from the expansionist ‘take/make/waste’ habit to ‘reduce/reuse/recycle’. The idea is to eliminate waste from the start, moving to zero waste by circulating objects and materials.
Each member of the panel has chosen a different focus; Julian has chosen logistics including cargo bikes.
Other aspects are important and have been adopted by other panel members:
- textiles – e.g. clothes for children
- construction – e.g. the developers at Central St Martins have been persuaded to repurpose the building
- automotive industry – public transport is important while the private motor vehicles (including private hire vehicles) circulating around not only produce emissions but also affect the safety of other road users
- logistics – packaging and delivery including food waste
- furniture e.g. Regis Road could separate the re-usable items
- oil/gas/renewable energy
- zero waste e.g. plastic
- e-bikes batteries based on lithium mined by juveniles e.g. in Congo and South Africa
Julian’s focus is on cargo bike delivery – 30% of the traffic in the borough is diesel vans.
Logistics and last-mile delivery – air quality: 9k London citizens die prematurely and many others suffer from poor quality of life including dementia; unscrupulous wealthy people buy mews properties so as to be able to park in a garage in Holborn, even letting out a second garage.
Using cargo bikes – firms such as Absolutely and PedalMe (founded by Ben Knowles) have shown that cargo bike delivery is economically feasible and faster. LTN access is much simpler on a bike. And some things, e.g. a screwdriver delivered to GOSH, are very small.
Hubs are essential. e.g. Absolutely has a hub in Millman Street – the firm has been there since 1850s
But getting tradespeople, e.g. plumbers and carpenters, to use bikes is also important.
Jean Dollimore: concern about standards for work conditions for the riders and for their training
JF: This is important: Ben Knowles is strong on this point; the council has the power to impose conditions regarding those they employ but it may be hard to affect companies such as Deliveroo.
Steve Prowse (SP): the Gig economy needs to be embraced
John Chamberlain (JC): what do Absolutely say would make it easier for them to carry out their business?
JF: parking for their larger vehicles
JC: do they need any dispensation or help?
JF: financial incentives e.g. parking bays; they have no problem with door-to-door delivery; a hub at Belsize Park would be beneficial
Rachel Wrangham: Cambridge has special places for parking cargo bikes; a consolidation hub useful; theft is a big issue; to be insured access to a hangar is needed
JF: mentioned St Joseph’s School which had the first Healthy School Street in Camden. And that at the recent quarterly meeting he had said that we need to think about cargo bike parking at schools; could fit with Healthy School Streets plans. For example, in Cambridge there are dedicated cargo bike spaces at schools
Simon Pearson: The Council should be able to influence what goes on at Regis Road
Paul Braithwaite: Freddies Flowers delivers by cargo bike (40 boxes at a time). Can Camden make fast-food delivery firms use parking bays e.g. provide a financial incentive?
JF: Amazon is piloting cargo bike delivery; a combination of the carrot approach with enforcement is needed. Islington Council now has 24/7 parking restrictions.
SP: Mentioned the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which she set up in 2010 to promote the Circular Economy
SP: Thanked Julian for the briefing, saying that we are behind this work. And asked what Camden Cyclists can do to help
JF: write at any time; send leads to research; the Scrutiny Panel report will appear in September.
JF: Councillors on the panel are Siân Berry, Camron Aref-Adib, Matthew Kirk and Nina de Ayala Parker