Co-ordinator’s comment

Strategy Day

Thanks to all who attended our sixth Strategy Day. It generated lots of new ideas and was a good opportunity to re-focus on our aims, ambitions and direction, and how we go about achieving these. Having now reached over 1,000 members, the future of the Campaign and how it is structured are of increasing importance.

We hope to report soon also on Charitable Status, once the documents we have been preparing have been finalised and submitted.

Congestion charge and the £500m

The Independent Transport Commission instigated by the County Council to look at the Congestion Charge and related proposals has been holding its first public meetings, as we report later in this Newsletter.

It has been refreshing at last to see proper debate and investigation of the issues, compared to the rather uninformed level of debate that has appeared in the media. The issues concerned are complex, explaining why many members of the public incorrectly believe, for instance, that the charge would be all-day (only 7.30-9.30 am, Monday-Friday is proposed).

The Commissioners have provided the Campaign with an opportunity to speak, and we will have done so by the time you read this.

One-way streets of Petersfield

While Cambridgeshire insists on shooting itself in the foot by sticking rigidly to the rules over signing exceptions to one way for cyclists, other local authorities just put two fingers up to the Department for Transport. This example is right outside Suffolk County Council offices in Bury St Edmunds, where there is plenty of room for the required island, but they’ve just used white paint, a pair of No Entry signs and a cycle lane sign.
Image as described adjacent

Given the fuss that some Councillors have been whipping up, as reported in recent issues, you would think that something less mundane than allowing people to cycle in local streets would be under debate.

One Councillor has responded to the article in our previous Newsletter (see letter in this issue), confirming in his own words his opposition to the proposals. This is a helpful clarification of what the Campaign already knew, even if we disagree with his point of view, and we are happy to print his letter.

The County Council has played into the hands of those opposing the changes, by refusing to countenance even the compromise layouts we came up with.

But the body ultimately at fault is the Government, whose Department for Transport has so far refused to allow ‘No Entry Except Cycles’ signs. Thankfully we hear that the bureaucrat who has blocked this for so many years has now retired, so perhaps change could come at last? We live in hope.

Martin Lucas-Smith