Campaign update: Zero Carbon Streets

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 152.

Zero Carbon Streets is a campaign to help groups across Cambridgeshire work together for a green recovery from Covid-19 and to play our part in reducing carbon emissions. Together with communities across the county, we want to create a vision of an inspiring zero-carbon future and show decision-makers the important role that cycling and walking can have in tackling the climate crisis.

Just Transition workshops

Camcycle was one of several local groups invited to take part in a consultation workshop hosted by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate to discuss the elements needed to ensure a ‘just transition’ to net zero. The second report from the Commission is due in October and the workshops aimed to draw on local knowledge to inform the chapter focusing on ways to ensure fairness as we look to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Cyclists waiting to cross a roundabout as an HGV approaches
The BP roundabout near Ely is a barrier to cycling.

Camcycle used examples of cycling issues and improvements from across the county as we submitted comments on the barriers to sustainable transport and the solutions that would be needed for a greener, fairer future. For example, we know from contacts in Wisbech that the lack of safe cycleways is a huge barrier for cycling to local employers and that unsafe junctions near Ely put off many from cycling or walking. Our friends at
St Ives Eco Action raised our Zero Carbon Streets campaign as an example of the clear messaging and creativity which will be needed around transport, saying ‘words create worlds’.

Some important principles emerged from our group discussion: the need for integrated thinking (between local authorities and different departments), a focus on 15-minute communities (including many more community spaces, shops and services in rural areas) and a clear balance of carrots and sticks. Disincentives to car use are needed but the alternatives should be much more attractive. Contributors felt that smaller improvements to pavements, cycleways and bus stops should not be overlooked in favour of big-ticket schemes.

New infrastructure campaigner

Thanks to gifts from 85 individual donors via the Big Give Green Grant, corporate donations and support from the Co-op Community Fund we are nearly ready to recruit our new infrastructure campaigner!

This new role is an important part of our Zero Carbon Streets campaign – we want the new Camcycle staff member to provide infrastructure advice and campaign support to local communities working for walking and cycling improvements. Groups like Milton Cycling Campaign, Ely Cycling Campaign and Hunts Walking & Cycling Group have already told us our support for their work has been invaluable, and demand is growing. We’ll be raising more money for this role through the Big Give Christmas Challenge later in the year but are hoping to start the recruitment process before then. Watch this space!

Zero Carbon Streets Champion
If you think you’re the right person to champion Zero Carbon Streets across the region as our new Infrastructure Campaigner, or know someone else who would thrive in this role, keep your eyes peeled on our jobs page – more information coming soon!

Big Give Christmas Challenge
We’ll be fundraising for Zero Carbon Streets through the Big Give Christmas Challenge 2021, which opens at noon on 30 November 2021 and closes at noon on 7 December. Please consider supporting us at this time.

Local groups
Are you part of a group working for better walking and cycling in Cambridgeshire? We’d love to hear from you!

Read about Playing Out Cambridgeshire, Hunts Walking & Cycling Group and St Ives Eco Action, 20’s Plenty for Cambridgeshire and Cambridge Doughnut Economics Action Group elsewhere in this magazine.