Dressed as Bus conductors and Lollipop ladies, Birmingham Friends of the Earth campaigners will be taking their message onto the streets, asking everybody to send 'Way to Go' [1] postcards to the Government demanding improved public transport and better conditions for walking and cycling.

Friends of the Earth is part of the 'Way to Go' coalition, over twenty different environmental and social justice groups set up to lobby the government whose 10 year transport plan is under review. They would like to see more funding for better public transport and improved conditions for cyclists and pedestrians rather than throwing money at more bypasses and motorway widening schemes.

Martin Stride of Birmingham Friends of the Earth said:

'Spending money on yet more bypasses and widening schemes for the M6 and M42 will just make our transport problems worse by generating even more traffic and congestion. Our environment will suffer appallingly as climate change continues to make itself felt. The government needs to make a real commitment to improving public transport, especially local bus and rail services, as well as recognising the role which walking and cycling have to play.'

He went on to say:

'Too often we forget that little things such as better pavements, cycle lanes and safe routes to school can have a tremendous positive effect on people's everyday lives and on reducing congestion. One quarter of all journeys are shorter than two miles and could easily be walked or cycled, but most are made by car'. [2]

Editor's Notes

[1] The Way to Go coalition will be asking the government to give funding for the following measures:

  • A cycle-friendly road network and cycle training for all.
  • Streets, lanes and paths in good condition and pleasant for walking.
  • Services and facilities close to people so they don't need to drive.
  • Increased funding for local public transport, particularly in rural areas.
  • Networks of bus lanes.
  • Quality standards that bus and rail services must meet.
  • Safe routes to schools for all children.
  • Lower speed limits: a 20mph default in residential areas.
  • A discount nationwide railcard available to all.
  • Grants for rail-freight projects.
  • Greater incentives to buy smaller, cleaner vehicles.
  • Pay-as-you-go road user charging.

Postcards are available from any of the Way to Go member organisations. E-mails can be sent to MPs via the coalition's website at www.waytogo.org.uk

[2] A quarter of all car trips in 1999/2001 were less than 2 miles in length. Cars were used for 18 per cent of trips under 1 mile and for 61 per cent of trips of between 1 and 2 miles. The proportion of short trips made by car is slowly increasing