07 June 2007

Sustainable Transport in Coventry

Late Tuesday afternoon, we put out a press release entitled, "Coventry Needs Sustainable Transport," to the local and regional press (mainly radio and print).

So far, I've been interviewed on Touch FM and Mercia (it led this morning's newscasts on Touch, at 7am and 8am, at least).

Transport contributes 25% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. It's something we all use – to get to work or school or the shops. We need to focus on getting people out of their cars ("four wheels to two wheels or two feet"), sharing their cars, or have their cars be more energy-efficient.

In Coventry, we'd like to see:

- A city-wide database to match up people for car-sharing to work (The 14th of June is National Liftshare Day); a typical carsharer will save themselves around £1,000, and 1 tonne of CO2 per year, by sharing their daily journey.

- 20 mph zones on residential streets throughout the city -- for safer roads, but also to encourage more commuting by on-road cycling (Portsmouth is introducing 20mph on residential streets in phases; Hull has been a pioneer in localised 20 mph zones)

- Match-day and concert tickets at the Ricoh need to be valid for free public transport

- A commitment to tendering for any new council vehicles to come from electric vehicle companies like Modec

- A network of electric vehicle recharge points (Camden and Westminster councils are beginning to establish such networks); Camden is promoting "Park and Charge" locations, where you can leave your electric bike or scooter for the day, and let it charge up (a 5-hour charge, for a few pence, is all you need for a 30 mile journey; that works out to about 1000 miles to the petrol gallon)

- Working with London Taxis International to develop an electric black cab for the 21st century

Apart from what we said in the press release, it's interesting that one of the prominent petitions on the Downing Street website is this one:

For reasons of health and in order to reduce carbon emissions from transport, the Government should take a bold and tangible step to support the view that cycling is good for those who do it and good for everyone else as well. Cyclists should be rewarded for their contribution to reducing carbon emissions by not having to pay VAT for their bicycles, tricycles and human powered vehicles, nor for the spares and parts required to keep them running.

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