Hello, good day and an obviously Christmassy welcome to your latest Campaigns’ Digest! Over the last couple of months since the last issue, we’ve been busy promoting and preparing for our comedy gig, Pedalling for Laughs. However we’ve also found the time to respond to numerous transport consultations and organised a film screening of More than Honey alongside a Bea Tea.
Energy & Climate Change
Unfortunately there was some more bad news on this front, as the Lords voted against a clean power target amendment to the Energy Bill. Readers will recall that the House of Commons rejected a similar amendment back in June by a majority of just 23 votes. This time around, the vote was even closer but still just short, with a government majority of just 14 votes. The rejection of a target for reducing emissions from the energy sector by 2030, means that the UK is much less likely to benefit from the green and renewable sector as those companies invest elsewhere, as well as making it more difficult to reach our Climate Change commitments.
There was more positive news when the Fossil Free Tour came to Birmingham on 31st October. Featuring 350’s Bill McKibben, the event was part of a tour that included stops in Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and London. In the UK, the tour aimed to kick off the People & Planet Fossil Free campaign, which aims to get universities to divest from the fossil fuel industry. You can read more about this campaign in our guest article.Oct-Nov
Over the past couple of months we’ve been mainly working on organising a More than Honey screening in Sutton. Check out the article by Rebecca Pollard to find out how this went. By the time you read this the Government should be consulting on the National Pollinator Strategy, which will be the final chance to ensure that the Government’s action on thOct-Nov e issue of bee decline is as strong as possible. We will be responding to the consultation, and would encourage anyone with local knowledge and views on the subject of bee decline to do the same.
We have been responding to some of the first proposals to come out of the funding Birmingham City Council received from the Cycle City Ambition Grant, about spending money on canals and greenways. We pointed out that spending £6 million on canals, which can only take a certain volume of traffic, and are much less usable in the dark unless you spend even more money to ensure they are well lit, might not be the best use of funds.
The Council have also been consulting on proposals for 20mph limits in Birmingham. This would make all residential roads 20mph alongside some sections of main roads through local centres, as well as outsides schools and leisure centres. As this is something we have spent a lot of time campaigning on in the past, we’re naturally very pleased. However, we haven’t been resting on our laurels and have been actively trying to get people to respond positively to the consultation, as well as trying to generate support with our petition and getting people to sign our giant novelty 20mph Christmas card.
We also responded to Centro’s WM CycleOct-Nov Charter, which contained Centro’s vision for cycling in West Midlands. There were some good statements of intent, including on possible levels of funding. However, there were few concrete steps, and we also pointed out that a cycling journey target of 5% was not ambitious enough.
The final bit of news on the transport front was the launch of Birmingham City Council’s Birmingham Mobility Action Plan. This was the Council’s 20+ year vision for transport in the city. While not perfect it contained a lot of good ideas encouraging modal shift to public and active transport, as well as a connected transport system where each type of transport works together as part of a greater whole. See Robert’s and Adam’s article on a future vision for the city for more details on this
The big news on the planning front is that the Council’s Cabinet have passed the draft Birmingham Development Plan, which will now go to consultation in January. The Birmingham Development Plan is the statutory planning document for the city, and determines the Council’s priorities in terms of land use and development. It has a massive impact on what kind of developments are approved or rejected when they come for planning permission, and so it is vital the Council get it right. You can also read more detail about what’s in the draft by reading Robert and Adam’s main article.