So what have we been talking about in the media over the last couple of months?
First was another interview on Adrian Goldberg’s show about bus lanes, which seems to have replaced wheelie bins as the topic for discussion in the papers and on radio phone-in shows. This was related to the fines that drivers received for driving in bus lanes, which many said was due to inadequate signage. I again made the point that we needed to separate these particular problems from the wider issues of bus lanes, which I argued were an important part of an integrated public transport system.
Then came the news that the EU was taking the UK government to court due to illegal levels of Nitrogen Dioxide in 16 cities across the UK, including Birmingham. I was invited to speak on the Paul Franks show about the ruling and air pollution. The presenter challenged me and asked why we were being targeted and what about other countries? I responded that we were being targeted simply because we were in breach. I also outlined the positive solutions advocated by our Let’s Get Moving campaign, of more investment in walking and cycling. I then left them something to ponder as I made the point that 25% of car journeys in Birmingham are under 2 miles.
The news that the 20mph pilot scheme was going to Council Cabinet gave me the opportunity to be quoted in the Birmingham Post supporting the move. I pointed out the benefits of 20mph, of safer streets for pedestrians, cyclists and vulnerable road users and that it really doesn’t add a great deal to journey times. I was also on BBC WM supporting the Council for approving the scheme after it had gone through cabinet, as well as having some more reaction in the papers after the decision, this time in the Birmingham Mail.
Finally I was again on BBC WM talking about waste. This time around David Laws’ idea of councils charging for residual waste collections. I made the point that this was looking at the problem the wrong way. Councils are sitting on a massive resource that is currently getting burnt or buried. If we re-used or recycled what it is possible to re-use and recycle, and had a seperate food collection, then councils could actually make money from their waste system. After that there wouldn’t be much left to put in residual waste, so charging for it would be a moot point!