Mark Sutton16 November, 2020
Before we begin, some context of where we are as a nation.
Climate experts say UK should aim to cut emissions by more than 70% as crucial summit looms
Last modified on Fri 20 Nov 2020
Boris Johnson is facing a fresh test of his green commitments as the UK prepares to submit its national plan on future carbon emissions, before crucial UN climate negotiations.
Pressure is growing on the prime minister to come up with an ambitious national target – known as a nationally determined contribution (NDC) – on cutting emissions substantially by 2030, because the UK will host the postponed Cop26 summit next year.
The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, spoke out on Thursday on the need for developed countries to step up their ambition. In a speech to the European council on foreign relations, he said: “By early 2021, countries representing more than 65% of global carbon dioxide emissions and more than 70% of the world economy will have made ambitious commitments to carbon neutrality.
“But we are still running behind in the race against time. Every country, city, financial institution and company should adopt plans for transitioning to net – zero emissions by 2050. We need to see these plans well in advance of Cop26 – in particular the NDCs required under the Paris agreement.”
Trial to allow rented scooters on roads as part of green transport plan
From spring, up to three firms will operate hire schemes in London; private scooters, which are widely in use, will remain unauthorised. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock
E-scooters to rent are expected to be on the streets of London from next spring after the capital gave the go-ahead for trials. Up to three firms will be permitted to operate hire schemes, which are likely to start as small-scale operations in a limited number of boroughs.
Transport for London said the trials were part of plans to encourage greener forms of transport and, in particular, to avoid a “damaging, car-led recovery from coronavirus”, with road congestion already approaching pre-crisis levels.
Privately owned scooters will remain illegal in public, although they are already widely in use, unauthorised, on London roads.
Stefano ValentinoWed 21 Oct 2020 07.00 BST
The health costs of air pollution from roads are higher in London than any other city in Europe, a study has found.
Two other urban areas in the UK, Manchester and the West Midlands, have the 15th and 19th highest costs respectively among the 432 European cities analysed.
The research puts a figure on the social costs of car emissions at local level at an unprecedented number of sites across 30 countries – the EU27 plus the UK, Norway and Switzerland.
Thinktank says deadline of 2026 is needed for government to meet its own carbon budget.
Road transport is the single largest contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions, yet little to no progress has been made reducing transport emissions since 1990, according to the thinktank. It has called on the government to help reduce traffic by encouraging cycling, walking and more flexible home working.
“Reducing car emissions means reducing petrol and diesel car miles travelled,” said the report. “These miles will mostly be replaced by electric car miles, but they could also be reduced by modal shift including public transport as well as cycling and walking. The Department for Transport must work with departments across government to ensure that policy supports a reduction in petrol and diesel car miles.”
Mon 16 Nov 2020
Cleaner, safer cities are one good thing that could come out of the pandemic – if politicians hold their nerve
Some good can come of even the worst disaster. Amid all the suffering and difficulty of the pandemic, environmentally minded people spied a chance.
Could the enforced immobility of life under Covid-19, the rediscovery of neighbourhood shops, parks and walks brought about by the closure of workplaces and schools, lead to a longer-term adjustment – a new car/life balance?
SAGE professor calls for road closures over Christmas to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to exercise
A public health professor at the University of Bristol has called on councils to close roads over Christmas to encourage people to walk and cycle for exercise. Professor Gabriel Scally, a member of the Scientifc Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) argued that the measures should be introduced as part of the fight against COVID-19. He also said people should spend as much time as possible outdoors over Christmas.
At 5’25” into the video above he tells Good Morning Britain: “We should try to spend [Christmas] as much outdoors as we can, weather permitting, walking, cycling. The councils should be closing streets and roads so people can get space and opening up new green space for them to be outside.”
Firm will also hire hundreds of new staff as it prepares for switch away from petrol cars
The coronavirus pandemic has boosted demand for e-scooters and e-bikes as well as traditional cycles. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock
Halfords is training 1,500 extra technicians to work on electric vehicles, bikes and scooters as it prepares for the switch away from petrol cars.
The cycles-to-vehicle servicing group said it expected to hire hundreds of new staff and to retrain existing employees so that it would have 100 more electric car technicians next year, bringing the total to 470, and 1,400 extra electric bike and scooter technicians in addition to the 400 now in place.
17 November, 2020
Covering Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Ljubljana, London, Paris, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb, the research sought to understand the relationship between cycle use rates, safe infrastructure and helmet use.
One thing was immediately obvious, said the researchers: “When you look at the number of accidents as a ratio of distance traveled, the Netherlands is the second safest country after Denmark in which to ride a bicycle,” says DEKRA accident researcher Luigi Ancona. “Our figures clearly suggest a link between a bicycle-friendly infrastructure, the subjective feeling of safety and the rate of helmet-wearing.”
Three low-traffic neighbourhood schemes across the UK highlight the difficulties and benefits of curbing cars to encourage cycling and walking
Acorn Road, Newcastle upon Tyne
When Newcastle city council planned to reduce motorist access to Acorn Road in the leafy suburb of Jesmond back in 2014, hardware store owner Steve Robson helped to raise a petition against the £350,000 scheme, organised meetings to oppose the plans and told a local newspaper that the proposed changes would be “devastating”.
The changes went ahead. And to date, Acorn Road has not been devastated. Far from it. Robson’s hardware shop – trading from the same small premises since 1912 – is doing so well that last month it expanded into an adjacent shop, doubling its floor space.