David Brown Tuesday February 23 2021,
Fears that other local authorities will follow suit
Motorists face charges of up to £690 a year to park near their homes in an effort to cut pollution.
A London borough is planning to drive up fees for permits in controlled parking zones to what is believed to be the most expensive in the UK.
Permits for the most polluting cars will cost up to £540 in areas of Merton covered by round-the-clock controlled parking zones in addition to the existing £150 charge for all diesel vehicles and older petrol cars. All annual visitors’ permits will increase to £690.
Barcelona is experiencing an unusual protest that does not stop growing. They are schools that have been planted against the pollution and noise that surrounds them, caused by traffic, and they demand that the City Council eliminate lanes of traffic from their surroundings. Mayor Ada Colau has launched a plan to pacify school zones, but these schools see the pace and intensity of the actions insufficient.
Half of the city centers exceed the pollution levels recommended by the European Union during school hours. And there is scientific evidence that pollution affects the health and cognitive development of children. The families, hand in hand with the schools, have said enough. Every other Friday they simultaneously cut the traffic in front of the centers at the end of the school. On December 11 there were 17 schools. Last Friday, more than 50, and schools from two other cities, Badalona and Sabadell, joined. The Catalan Society of Pediatrics and the ISGlobal institute support their claims.
Campaign group Trees Not Cars says victory exposes ‘hypocrisy’ of council’s approach to air pollution
A group of women from Manchester have won a legal battle with the city’s council, which wanted to build a 440-space car park next to the city centre’s only primary school.
Campaigners said the victory exposed the “hypocrisy” in the local authority’s approach to addressing air pollution and global heating.
It may also be viewed as a warning shot to other councils which, like Manchester, declare “climate emergencies” and then push through polluting development projects.
Manchester city council (MCC), which is running a public consultation on how to save £50m, spent an estimated £70,000 on some of England’s top planning barristers to fight a community group called Trees Not Cars.
What do you do when M&S, Debenhams and New Look are all gone? Knock down the shopping centre and replace it with a riverside oasis. Could the ‘visionary’ plan of Stockton-on-Tees spark a revolution?
An empty Debenhams, a shuttered Marks & Spencer, an abandoned New Look: the town centre of Stockton-on-Tees has suffered a similar fate to countless high streets up and down the UK, struggling to survive in the online shopping, Covid-stricken era. But, while some towns scramble to convert empty department stores into flats, or fill vacant shops with community pop-ups and urban farms, Stockton Council has come up with an altogether bolder proposition for the post-retail age. It plans to demolish half the high street and replace it with a park.
Feb 18, 2021,|1,074 views
Thousands of fake comments aiming to skew the results of a public consultation into the closure to motor vehicles of five Newcastle upon Tyne bridges have been discovered by the city council.
Discrepancies in an online engagement platform seeking views on the road changes led Newcastle City Council to call in digital forensics experts.
An investigation revealed the existence of 1,894 fake accounts, which, between them, had made 7,131 “malicious” comments.
The public consultation was powered by Commonplace, an online engagement platform that, says the company’s website, allows councils to “connect with the whole community, hear their voices and make better, more inclusive planning decisions.”
Jan 31, 2021
An aide memoire of items I’ve noted from the boroughs where I work, rest and play, in case it is of use to others.
Here’s a link back to December 2020’s round-up if you want to rummage backwards.
Closing 28 Feb’21 … perversely, the consultations are still open …
Recently, I caused a bit of a storm on social media. My crime? Simple – I asked why we do not have laws that limit the size (width and length), along with top speed and engine power of cars. Yes, I’m aware there are laws which specify certain limits, esp w.r.t vehicle width, and that different licence categories impose weight restrictions, but this is more specific that that.
You will note that – despite rather strongly believing that we should have tight laws governing this – what I did was merely ask a question. Never once did I suggest that we should immediately scrap all cars that exceed certain limits, nor that everyone everywhere should be forced to all drive exactly the same car.And yet, some of the reactions I got suggested that some people at least convinced themselves that this was exactly what I proposed, and as a result became extremely defensive.
One person (unsurprisingly, a Land Rover driver) claimed that SUVs were somehow safer for pedestrians – the reality is SUVs are lethal to pedestrians, and becoming more so.
The London Society aims to provide a platform for the debate on how London ought to develop, and to go with our theme of ‘change’ in 2021, we will have a strand of articles on the blog called “Change: Opinions” – polemical pieces that make a case for a radically changing some aspect of the status quo or of received wisdom.Here, Jon Burke formerly a Hackney Councillor, and the Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, argues that on environmental, medical and social grounds, drastic action has to be taken against the motor vehicle in London. Part 1 (below) looks at the scale of the problem, and part 2 addresses what we need to do. You can download the whole article here (PDF).
They’re still cars. Technology can’t cure America of its addiction to the automobile.
Feb. 18, 2021
I am starting to worry about the electric car.
Not the thing itself; I’ve found electric vehicles to be superior to their fossil-powered predecessors in just about every important way, and although I am a car-crazy Californian, I don’t expect to buy a lung-destroying, pollution-spewing gas car ever again.
But electric motors are merely a power source, not a panacea. From General Motors’ Super Bowl ads to President Biden’s climate-change plans, plug-in cars are now being cast as a central player in America’s response to a warming future — turning a perfectly reasonable technological hope into overblown hype.
Truly liveable neighbourhoods can only be created if the views and needs of society’s most marginalised groups are heard, writes Daisy Narayanan
We know the environmental, social and economic reasons for creating people-friendly, ‘liveable’ places. The last century has seen a significant rise in car ownership, resulting in cars becoming a dominant presence on our roads, impacting the way we use our streets and how we move around our local neighbourhoods. As a result, we are often left with congested neighbourhoods, poor air quality and uninviting public spaces.
Our streets should be more than carriageways for vehicles, and our cities should place people at its very heart, supporting and enhancing the lives of the communities they serve.