Q&A from POP+ Learning & Collaboration Event

POP+’s recent climate crisis event provoked much reflection, suggestions and questions. As POP+ considers what we can to to reduce our carbon footprint we’d like to hear from you about the support you might like to have; the conversations you might already be having and how, working together, we can tread more lightly.

Comments regarding Cars, Bikes & Buses

We were asked what could be done to make driving less convenient; to encourage people to forego driving for short journeys and what can be done to help people for whom there is no option but to drive. It was felt that:

  • a congestion charge would work in Plymouth.
  • what could be done to make driving less convenient
  • need to lobby for integrated free or low-cost Public Transport.
  • different people have different needs.
  • agencies must work together to ensure residential areas & (new) housing developments are better served by public transport.
  • incentivise car-sharing and/or reward people for doing so. – car-free days (already included for action 2020 in the Plymouth Climate Emergency Action Plan).
  • change the perception that cycling is ‘dangerous’: if statistics show it to be relatively ‘safe’ then this suggests there is an opportunity to increase the number of cyclists, number of journeys & distance travelled through a prominent, visible and orchestrated campaign.
  • could we have ‘docking’ points across the city from where bikes can be hired/used.
  • greater engagement is needed to encourage lower-income families to cycle. In Plymouth every single person should have access to free cycle training.

We already have this in Plymouth through the amazing project that is Plymotion (which was at the POP+ climate crisis event). Plymotion offers free adult cycling sessions, free children’s training and will even ride with you on your cycling commute to help you build your confidence. Members of the team also provide a (free) personalised travel plan for employees (be quick: available until March this year) to incentivise and encourage people to walk, cycle, car-share or take public transport. And, if that’s not all, it also organises escorted bike rides around the city including those just for women. Last year the Plymotion team knocked on 3,000 doors across the city which led to a 15% reduction in those driving to work 13% increase in cycling & 22% increase in people taking the bus. It is an amazing service – and it’s all FREE-OF-CHARGE! – but perhaps we all need to SHOUT about it and spread the word to ensure more people know about it and the different support it offers individuals, families, children & employers. https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/parkingandtravel/plymotion

 

Concern was raised about the number of cycle paths recently removed from the city’s highways. It would be good to know, in the last 12 months, how many cycle paths have been:

a) removed

b) put in place

A Work-based Parking Levy was suggested – a charge on employers to pay for parking spaces for their employees: In 2012 Nottingham City Council set up a WBL which last year brought in £9.7m for the local authority. Since 2012 money raised from the WPL has helped to fund extensions to the existing tram system which now carries more than 17m passengers a year; the redevelopment of Nottingham Station and financial support for one of Nottingham’s bus networks.

 

Questions:

  • There appears to be little or no money for the Plymouth Climate Emergency Plan, with a reliance upon “lobbying” the Government. What will make the Government act?
  • Why are F gases not monitored? – Bristol City Council decided to focus on air quality as a year long theme. Which helps take the climate crisis in bite-sized chunks. Would Plymouth consider something similar?

The Clean Air for Bristol campaign is not a year-long campaign. In July 2017 the Government produced The UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations. Local Authorities with the worst levels of air pollution at particular places were ordered to take immediate action to reduce this and a legal level for air quality has been set in certain cities around the UK. Bristol was told it must improve air quality in Bristol in the fastest way possible.

  • Do you think we will be having an accreditation similar to CQC or ofsted or social enterprise Mark related to the climate emergency in near future?

Sounds like a great idea – it is feasible to think that companies/organisations committing to the climate crisis (and not just ‘green-washing’) will be better-supported by customers, share-holders etc than their less-responsible competitors. We are already seeing banks, financial institutions, Universities, Museums and other organisations divesting from fossil fuels.

  • Where do we send or direct our comments for changing the council policy?

Contact: lowcarboncityteam@plymouth.gov.uk