Victoria Seabrook Friday 18 June 2021
Deaths from COVID-19 in England during the first wave of the pandemic were 70% higher in areas with worse air pollution than the national average, new research has revealed.
Report author Peter Congdon, geography professor at Queen Mary University of London, said he hoped the study would help avoid a high number of deaths in future similar epidemics – and also serve to highlight “the long standing issues of poor air quality in cities”.
The report, published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal J, found the prevalence of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter 10 were “significant influences” on deaths from COVID-19.
Comparatively, 40% fewer people died in areas of England with the cleanest air.
On Wednesday (23rd June) the legal challenge to Transport Secretary’s decision to approve the highly damaging road scheme through the World Heritage Site will be heard at the High Court. The hearing, which is likely to last for 3 days may be our last chance to stop this government’s wanton destruction.
The hearing is taking place in person at the Royal Courts of Justice, but only the legal team will be allowed to attend. The public, however, can watch proceedings online, but need to register with the court, the day before (on the Tuesday) as follows:
• To observe proceedings remotely, people need to email email@example.com no earlier than Tuesday 22nd June, with case ref. no. CO/4844/2020.• A link will be sent to them up to 15 minutes before the hearing.
Please note it is illegal to record or take any screenshots of proceedings.
Thanks to your support the target has nearly been reached, but not quite.
So, please continue to encourage people to sign the petition and contribute to the crowdjustice appeal.
Nolwan Graver 15 Jun, 2021
For the past years, the Lisbon municipality has been fostering the uptake of cargo bikes among families and individuals with notable success. And the electrically-assisted cargo bike has deeply changed Lisbon Deputy Mayor Miguel Gaspar’s “personal perspective and experience on bikes and their application in cities.” As he noted on social media, “you get the flexibility of a car (…) and the pleasure of using a bike“.
4th March 2020
The Coronavirus global death toll has just topped 3,000. When it reaches 3,561 it will equal the number of people killed on the roads in a single day.
Clearly Coronavirus is a serious threat that is entirely deserving of all efforts to bring it under control, but why do we show such apathy towards another source of danger that kills 1.3 million people every year? People might grumble into their pints about speeding, parking on pavements or mobile phone use behind the wheel, but most tolerate it in a way that would be unthinkable if 3,561 lives were being lost every day to conventional acts of terrorism.
When people here in Britain talk about the roads, many mistake equality for equity. The trope “we all just need to share the roads” overlooks the fact that on the roads – as in so many other areas of life – equity requires that some people get more.
The more time one spends walking or cycling, the more one is exposed to careless, anti-social and downright dangerous behaviour. The photo below shows drivers outside a school in Surrey taking to the pavements because the road ahead is blocked. Children walking to school were forced to take refuge to avoid being run over. No action was taken by police against the drivers.
Man, unaided by any tool, gets around quite efficiently. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer in ten minutes by expending 0.75 calories. Man on his feet is thermodynamically more efficient than any motorized vehicle and most animals. For his weight, he performs more work in locomotion than rats or oxen, less than horses or sturgeon. At this rate of efficiency man settled the world and made its history.
Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man’s metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.
Bicycles are not only thermodynamically efficient, they are also cheap. With his much lower salary, the Chinese acquires his durable bicycle in a fraction of the working hours an American devotes to the purchase of his obsolescent car. The cost of public utilities needed to facilitate bicycle traffic versus the price of an infrastructure tailored to high speeds is proportionately even less than the price differential of the vehicles used in the two systems. In the bicycle system, engineered roads are necessary only at certain points of dense traffic, and people who live far from the surfaced path are not thereby automatically isolated as they would be if they depended on cars or trains. The bicycle has extended man’s radius without shunting him onto roads he cannot walk. Where he cannot ride his bike, he can usually push it.
Court of Appeal reverses decision from earlier this year that City Hall initiatives to promote cycling and walking were unlawful
TfL has today won a Court of Appeal decision against a ruling from the High Court earlier this year that initiatives aimed at promoting active travel and making roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians were unlawful.
In January, High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang ruled that TfL’s Streetspace programme, designed to promote active travel after the coronavirus pandemic hit and aimed at given more space to cyclists and pedestrians, was unlawful.
The action was originally brought by two organisations linked to members of the licensed cab trade, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and the United Trade Action Group, which argued that the Streetspace programme, TfL guidance to boroughs on low traffic neighbourhoods, and the closure of Bishopsgate in the City of London were all unlawful.
Guardian community team
Share your photos and stories of examples of car-led redevelopment where you live
Wed 9 Jun 2021
We’d like to find out how your UK town or city was redesigned for road vehicles.
From the 1950s onwards many towns and cities across the UK adopted car led planning in line with rising car ownership. Today, many residents in urban areas hope to have more environmentally friendly spaces and cleaner air which is at odds with past car led redevelopment.
We’d like to find out from readers about the worst examples of past car-led planning, that should be rethought now.
Share your photos and stories
Those behind the recent “coup” in the National Clarion Cycling Club (Keir Hardie’s cycling club jettisons socialism, 14 June) have, like so many others nowadays, misunderstood the concept of inclusion, treating it like a mantra to be trotted out without actually thinking. Inclusion can only be invoked in order to remove irrelevant obstacles to joining an organisation.
For almost all organisations, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and many other attributes are irrelevant, so they should not be an obstacle. Not so when it comes to political leanings in the context of an overtly political cycling club. One might as well try to persuade the Spurs supporters’ club to admit a card-carrying Arsenal fan. Those who are so unaware of the current political situation as to think socialism “irrelevant” should do the decent thing, leave the Clarion and form their own club, to which they would then be free
The Department for Transport (DfT) has written to local authorities in England to reinforce its guidance from last year that it will not fund cycle lanes that are marked out with paint and that any applications for funding need to include segregation.
In a letter sent to councils this week, DfT deputy director Rupert Furness underlined that applications for grants from the government’s Active Travel Fund involving cycling schemes need to comply with the LTN 1/20 standard, reports transport journalist Carlton Reid on Forbes.com.
In May last year, as the government made encouraging active travel a central part of its plans for the country’s emergence from the coronavirus pandemic, the DfT made £250 million available for cycling and walking projects.
At the time, it said that “to receive any money under this or future tranches, you will need to show us that you have a swift and meaningful plan to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians, including strategic corridors.”
Inviting councils to apply for a fresh wave of funding this week, Furness told them that the DfT “only intends to fund schemes which comply with the Cycling Design Standards set out in local transport note LTN 1/20.
The Department of Transport should run a national public awareness campaign to educate motorists about dangerous, inappropriate and aggressive behaviours that can lead to the injury and even death of cyclists. The attitude that cyclists should not be on roads needs to end.