Peter Hain Sat 8 May 2021
After the recent acquittal of climate activists by a crown court jury, it’s clear public sentiment is on their side
In the face of resistance by juries, surely there is a strong case to halt all the pending trials of Extinction Rebellion activists? With nearly a thousand trials still waiting to be heard in the courts, six members of the group were recently acquitted at Southwark crown court in XR’s second trial by a jury.
Voters across the country cast their ballots in local, Scottish and Welsh elections on 6 May. As well as winning Hartlepool from Labour in a parliamentary by-election, the Conservatives took control of an extra 13 councils, winning more than 240 seats. But they did not fare as well in the elections for metro mayors, losing both Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and the West of England to Labour.
In April 2019 a heavily-used bridge across the River Thames in London was closed indefinitely due to structural problems. Local media were full of alarm, warning about the likely traffic congestion that would result. But, curiously, several months later, the signs are that the opposite may be happening. Pollution levels in key nearby centres have gone down, a strong indication that fewer cars are on the roads. Could this be the latest sign of one of the best kept, and counter intuitive secrets in urban planning, that less road space doesn’t increase congestion but leads to a drop in vehicle numbers? In a world looking to quickly cut carbon emissions it’s an insight that could prove revolutionary.
Cycling is often described as good for health, the environment, accessibility and social justice, but current appraisal methods may only capture some of these benefits, which may perpetuate bias, warn Rachel Aldred and James Woodcock
With colleagues at four academic institutions, we have developed the Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT; pct.bike). Funded by the DfT, the PCT is an award-winning open-source tool recommended for developing cycling networks, used by over 80 transport authorities across England and Wales.
Birmingham is following London and Bath in deterring highly polluting vehicles from its centre
Gary Fuller 19/4/21
Clean air or low emission zones are being rolled out in more UK cities. On 1 June, Birmingham will follow London and Bath by introducing a charge to deter highly polluting vehicles from the city centre.
The zones in Birmingham and Bath were delayed by Covid but these schemes are now needed more urgently than before. With new vehicle sales at record lows, older and more polluting vehicles are still on our roads rather than on the scrap heap where we expected them to be by now.
Lessons from London’s zone and the hundreds that operate in Europe counter many of the myths around these schemes.
10 September 2020 Roger Harrabin
Earlier this year, the BBC’s Rebecca Morelle heard the views of four citizens’ assembly members
A frequent flyer tax, phasing out polluting SUVs and restricting cars in city centres are among climate change solutions suggested by members of the public.
A citizens’ assembly of 108 people from all walks of life published its report after weeks of debate.
They proposed curbing road building and using the pandemic to cut emissions.
MPs said the report offered a “unique insight”, but activists Extinction Rebellion said it didn’t go far enough.
The report says the government must show leadership on climate change and insists climate policies must be fair to all – especially the poorest in society.
Its radical conclusions may offer political cover to ministers who’re typically nervous of a public backlash against policies that affect lifestyles.
Carlton Reid May 17, 2021
Journalists reporting on road collisions can now check with a new set of media guidelines drawn up by legal, policing and safety experts. The ten guiding principles for the U.K. media, issued on May 18, have been supported by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
“We hope the information can encourage accurate and fair reporting,” said the union’s general secretary Michelle Stanistreet. A NUJ member sat on the working group which drafted the guidelines.
Guidelines already exist to help journalists report on suicides, domestic violence, and refugees.
One of the new Road Collision Reporting Guidelines stresses that journalists should not use the word “accident” for a road collision but, instead, use “crash.” This is the language going used by the police, who may also refer to “incidents.” The word “accident” suggests no-one is to blame for a crash.
Exclusive: consultations for asthma and other respiratory infections go up with increased dirty air, finds study
Damian Carrington Tue 18 May 2021
A “huge” increase in the number of visits to doctors by children with asthma problems occurs after a week of raised air pollution, according to a study. The number of inhaler prescriptions also increases significantly.
Dirty air is already known to increase hospital treatment for severe asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. But the new research is the first using clinical data to show increased illness among the much bigger number of people who seek treatment from their GP.
The researchers said children were the most severely affected by the raised air pollution, but there were increases in GP consultations and inhaler prescriptions for people of all ages. Overall, they said, the study demonstrates that air pollution, particularly from diesel vehicles, affects whole communities.
The now-deleted tweet showing a driver with a vast array of screens and gadgets in front of him raised huge concern among cyclists on social media
A tweet from Mercedes-Benz USA advertising the in-car technology in its S-Class range has caused uproar on the social media platform, with numerous people suggesting that the potential for distraction could put cyclists and pedestrians in danger.
The tweet, that has now been deleted by the Mercedes-Benz USA account, said: “With up to five screens, OLED displays, and 3D displays with real-time eye tracking, the new S-Class has no shortage of bright ideas”; however thousands of people were quick to point out the potential issues, with Pompey Cyclist saying: I look forward to being murdered with one of these in the near future.”
Do close pass laws increase road rage? New study finds increasing safety for cyclists could have ‘possible unintended consequences’