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Derby Air Quality consultation

Derby City Council in currently in the process of consulting on their proposals to meet their legal requirements for air quality in Derby.

The Derby Cycling Group have provided the following response to the consultation. Members are also encouraged to provide their own feedback.


We are writing from Derby Cycling Group in response to the Council’s consultation on air quality in Derby. As a group involved in campaigning for cycle facilities in the city, and comprising approximately 400 members, we are a key stakeholder in the consultation process.

With regards to the Council’s Air Quality, Low Emission Policy, and proposals for reducing pollution levels below the specified maximums, we would make the following points which we would expect to be taken into consideration during the refinement of the proposals.

  1. All the proposed options contain non specific improvements to cycling infrastructure. These would be welcomed by the Derby Cycling Group but need to be made specific to allow for any informed comment. We welcome more details of the plans and would expect to be invited to comment.
  2. An overall reduction in traffic within the city would be welcomed as this would lead to a improved environment for cyclists (and hence increased numbers). It is important that the plans do not result in substitution of “dirty” vehicles with similar levels of “cleaner” larger vehicles.
  3. The option to rearrange traffic measures in Stafford Street does not address the underlying problem of poor air quality and just “games” the modelling to spread the same (or higher) pollution to allow the limit of NOx pollution in Stafford Street to be met. This might meet the letter of what is required by law but not the spirit. We would prefer to see measures that address reducing overall pollution rather than addressing the measurement of pollution at just one or two points.
  4. We are concerned about the impact Option 1 might have on existing cycling behaviour and provisions. Again, we welcome more details of the plan and would expect to be invited to comment. We would strongly resist any worsening of the current situation for cyclists.
  5. We would prefer to see additional options alongside the current 3 options which are at extreme ends of the possibilities (i.e. tinker with Stafford St or create a 24 hour a day charging zone). There should be scope for an additional option of a massive focus on active travel, a LCWIP and the creation of a good quality, connected cycle network.
  6. A design principle should be adopted that any cycling infrastructure in an area subject to a change is upgraded or enhanced as a consequence of that change, be that traffic management or reconstruction.
  7. We are concerned about one-off payments to favoured individuals or companies to allow for replacement of “dirty” vehicles when this money could be better spent on creating cycling infrastructure that would provide a long term benefit to pollution issues rather than a one off “hit”.
  8. Within the Low Emission Strategy, an additional focus area should be added as “transport cycle strategy” to put active travel on a par with EV, buses, taxis, etc. which each have their own focus area.
  9. Any grant / discount schemes for electric or low emission vehicles should also include the option of purchasing ebikes (for the whole family) as a solution.

We welcome the desire of the Council to address air quality issues within the city and would support any measures that improve the cycling infrastructure and encourage increased cycle usage within the city and the surrounding “travel to work” area.

We would welcome the chance to comment on detailed proposals as they are defined and would ask that the Derby Cycling Group is included in the list of stakeholders or interested parties during the review process.

Comment on the Derbyshire cycle network plans

You have the opportunity to influence the extent and shape of the cycle network in Derbyshire as Derbyshire Council and Active Derbyshire work towards their goal of making Derbyshire the most connected county for cycling in England.

Councils around the country are currently defining what they would like their local cycle network to look like if money was no object. They then move onto examining which of the possible projects should be addressed as a high priority.

Derbyshire County Council are nearing the end of the first stage and are asking the public to comment on their plans. They have defined a possible future network and are asking people to comment and to give opinions on which portions of the network are most important. Continue reading Comment on the Derbyshire cycle network plans

Newark gains funding for new cycle routes

Newark have identified a series of desired cycle routes throughout the town and have obtained funding to build some of the proposed routes. They have been collecting feedback on which should be the priorities.

Funding for the work has come from the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which can also provides funds for Derby and Derbyshire.

The Newark plans have the goals of:

  • make cycling to work a viable choice for a significant proportion of local residents
  • greatly improve the cycle infrastructure network by addressing gaps in the network which are a major barrier to accessing large employment and housing sites
  • create safe, direct, convenient, attractive and continuous cycle routes.

The proposals will also deliver other key benefits such as:

  • positive public health (more people exercising)
  • environmental – emissions and air quality reduced
  • reduce traffic congestion – modal shift to cycling.

It is accepted that not all the desired routes can be built immediately but the town has managed to put in place a long term strategy and this has directly led to some initial funding.

Let’s see Derby create a similar long term plan of what a future network should look like.

Details and maps of the Newark plans here

Lorry blind spots

None of the cyclists shown are directly visible to the driver

It was an interesting experience to sit in the cab of a HGV and see how the driver’s visibilty is so restricted. In particular, whilst I was aware of being very careful on the left hand side of the vehicle, I hadn’t appreciated how vulnerable cyclists could be in front of the vehicle (in, for instance, the cycling area created by an advanced stop line).

Loughborough University have done a lot of research on behalf of the DfT (see this link for full details) including the chart on the left showing the areas that drivers can see directly, those they can see in their mirrors, and those that are invisible.

Derby cycle improvement plans

Derby City Council (together with funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership) plan to make improvements to cycling provision in the city centre over the next two years. Improvements will include the legalisation of cycling through the city centre via St Peters Street, before 10am and after 5pm.

The plans should be formally approved by the Council next week. More information here

 

Midlands Connect Strategy

The 72 page Midlands Connect Strategy: Powering the Midlands Engine has recently been published. This document sets out a 25 year plan to improve transport links and reduce transport delays in the Midlands region.

Nowhere is cycling mentioned! The closest is on the final page of the report where it says “Local projects will not appear in the Midlands Connect strategy, but the partners in Midlands Connect do recognise their significance and urge the Government to maintain a significant flow of funding for local transport schemes.”

The focus is on large scale trunk road improvements and improved rail links and speeds. Whilst appreciating that the focus of the report is on long distance connectivity (trunk roads, HS2, etc.) it is disappointing that an emphasis on reducing localised road transport (e.g. by encouraging cycling and public transport) is not seen as part of the solution for long distance travel.