Transition Bath January 2017 Newsletter

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Climate change hustings | Foraging walk & picnic | Chelsea Road
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Transition Bath

Newsletter January 2017

Happy New Year! This month’s newsletter is dominated by transport with B&NES Council’s plan to approve the Park and Ride Scheme on Bathampton Meadow on the 25th January, and a project run by Sustrans to determine how walking and cycling can be improved in Bath starting on the 26th January.

How can walking and cycling be improved in your area?

Sustrans, the National Sustainable Transport Charity are working with B&NES Council as part of the Cycling Ambitions Fund 2 (CAF) to consider how walking and cycling in several areas throughout Bath could be improved. They will be engaging directly with local communities in order to understand the needs and aspirations of those living and working within a number of project areas.

Initially they are looking for feedback on the existing barriers in Bath which stop people walking and cycling more, particularly in Bear Flat and the London Road/Larkhall

If you are concerned about traffic congestion and pollution in Bath and would like to see more people walk and cycle, it would be great if you could provide some suggestions to Sustrans and B&NES Council on how facilities for walkers and cyclists can be improved?

You can either complete their online survey/form/mapping tool at: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/bearflat or here http://www.sustrans.org.uk/londonroad or come along to one of the two events they are holding:

Thursday 26th January 3pm to 6pm Bear Flat (more information here)
Tuesday  31st January 3pm to 6pm Larkhall/London Rd (more information here)

Bathampton Park and Ride: Do you think its a good idea? B&NES is making a decision on Wednesday

View of proposed P&R from Solsbury Hill:

The decision on the building of a new park and ride with 1,200 car parking spaces to the east of Bath is imminent. Its main objective is to reduce congestion and to help accommodate the additional traffic due to be generated by the 13,000 homes to be built in Bath in the next 15 years. However, the congestion reducing justification is unclear, as peak congestion at rush hour (8.30am) is not consistent with the peak Park and Ride usage in Bath of 12.00pm. We would question whether there are not better ways of reducing congestion? As Piers Taylor, award winning local architect and BBC presenter points out ”The images that the council has produced, purporting to show how a park and ride… could be mitigated and screened, are grossly misleading and fly in the face of council members’ responsibility to tell the truth.”. Transition Bath wonders whether the proposed Park and Ride will have an unacceptable visual impact on the eastern gateway to Bath, our World Heritage Site and once built whether this lays the ground for the Joint West of England plan to build a freight distribution depot and industrial warehousing on the same site?

The council’s case is presented here. The decision is being made at a cabinet meeting at the Guildhall on the Wednesday 25th January at a council cabinet meeting from 5.30pm, also available via a webcast. It looks likely however that the decision has already been made for this scheme to go ahead, but if you have strong views on the subject it might be worth contacting your local councillor? The Bathampton Meadow Alliance who oppose the scheme will be holding a rally outside the Guildhall from 4.30pm on Wednesday.

Transition Bath’s Energy Sparks project gains additional funding from BWCE and Naturesave Trust – now looking for primary schools to take part on the project

Our project to teach primary school children about energy through the use of an innovative website that we have developed in conjunction with Back: Hacked, Resources Futures and B&NES Council, has gained £5,000 of funding from the Bath and West Community Energy Fund and £1,000 from the Naturesave Trust. This funding will allow us to run an energy education program and schools energy competition for about 8 primary schools in the Bath area, starting in March.

If you know of a local school which might be interested in taking part in this free education program could you get in touch schoolsenergy@transitionbath.org ?

Are you confident about pruning your apple trees?

We’re running an apple-pruning workshop on Saturday 4th February, 10am 12.30pm, on an allotment plot on Bloomfield Road allotments. Numbers are limited so, if you’d like to attend, email food@transitionbath.org to book your place. Please wear warm clothes and tough footwear, and bring suitable gloves. If you have secateurs, loppers and/or a pruning saw, please bring them.  We’ll start the session with a tool sharpening session if required, and discuss safe use. The apple trees are on a privately tenanted plot and are well-established, productive but last pruned two years ago. The workshop will be led by Carol Stone, a horticulturalist and trainer with a background in organic gardening and permaculture. Cost is £7.50 pp, tea, coffee and cake provided. You’d be welcome to stay on for soup and bread and further chat after the workshop.

The Bear Flat Association’s community market was set up to promote (very) local food and provide a community hub. The market runs on the third Saturday of the month and includes a different ‘swaps table’ each month, where items can be swapped or donated to Julian House. The swap at the market on Saturday 18th February will be a seed swap. Bring your unwanted seeds and swap them or, if you don’t have any seeds to swap, take some in return for a donation (to Julian House). There’ll be people on hand to give advice too. The market runs from 9.30am – 12.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Bruton Avenue, BA2 4QJ.

And, are you thinking of planting a nut tree?

We’ve bought a copy of How to Grow Your Own Nuts: Choosing, cultivating and harvesting nuts in your garden, by Martin Crawford who runs the Agroforestry ResearchTrust at Dartington. The larger part of the book focusses on the different types and varieties of nut trees. If you’d like to consult it, please email food@transitionbath.org.

Avon and Somerset Police “Give space, stay safe” initiative

Following lobbying from CycleBath and other local cycle groups Avon and Somerset Police are planning on replicating a successful scheme run by the West Midlands Police to encourage motorists to give cyclists more space when they pass them on the road. The scheme which involves an undercover police officer on a bike who will stop and educate motorists about passing cyclists safely halved the number of complaints from cyclists in the West Midlands. More information in this article from the Bath Chronicle.

Don’t buy it, Borrow It!

Time Bank Plus,  is starting a new project offering locals the opportunity to borrow rather than buy useful items like tools, household and gardening equipment, catering utensils, camping items, children & baby equipment. The project is being funded by a grant from the Bath &West Community Energy Community Fund.

The Borrow It ‘store’ will be located at the Time Bank centre in Twerton High Street and will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. People wishing to borrow items will need to register with the project and asked for a small donation towards costs (eg 50p or £1).

They are looking for donations of items to stock the Borrow It ‘store’.  Alternatively please let them know if you could offer a ‘virtual’ contribution to the project, ie loan of an item which you will continue to own and keep at your own home.

For more information on the project and a  wishlist of items they are currently looking for click here.

Freight Consolidation Centre Funding to End

B&NES Council have made a decision to end funding for its freight consolidation service. The service which had been running for 3 years is costing £124,000 each year aimed to reduce congestion and pollution on Bath’s road, by consolidating freight heading for Bath at Avonmouth, and then transporting freight by electric vehicle to Bath.

The scheme which has been running since 2009, has failed to gain traction, with an average of only 3 vehicles delivering per day, or 0.3% of freight traffic in Bath. B&NES will look at alternative ways of reducing commercial vehicle traffic through the centre of Bath.

Gill Risbridger, who runs The Green Stationery Company, and who is a member of Transition Bath’s Transport Group sheds some light on some of the issues her business had with the service:

We are listed as users – although they haven’t spelt our name correctly! But have only used the service twice since most of our deliveries are already consolidated through carriers eg DHL, Fedex, DPD/Interlink etc or on paper trucks which are already going round the rest of the stationery companies and printers in Bath. When we tried the service we found that our goods were delayed by an extra day of getting to Avonmouth and then getting forwarded to Bath, so we couldn’t see the point of paying for a scheme that would just delay us receiving our goods. instead we offset the carbon used by delivering our parcels through consolidated carriers through Rainforest Concern – local Bath charity.

I do not think this works for large or small businesses so reluctantly (my heart wants the scheme to work) I’m in favour of option 1, especially if they are going to explore alternative consolidation method using small electric delivery trucks and/or electric bicycles serving the city centre. They should also look at delivery bikes working on man-power alone eg Cyclus Maximus

Transition Bath’s Submission to Parliamentary Inquiry into Urban Congestion

Transition Bath has submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Urban Congestion. Our evidence suggests solving the problem is more than a simple matter of improving traffic management, and that congestion is a symptom and cause of deeper issues within our society, including issues with social cohesion, the quality of the natural environment and is even potentially one of the causes of the current ‘NHS Crisis’.

Our Transport Group’s primary recommendation is to include a dedicated representative of walking and cycling on the Department of Transport’s Board – something which is currently absent. Our comprehensive response which provides much more detail is available here.

If you are interested in transport Gill Risbridger of our transport group has provided some interesting articles to read:

 1.      Paris Pushes Its Car-Free Streets Plan Even Further

2.      Shared Urban Mobility Through Technology Drives Social Equity

3.      Berlin’s Most Famous Street Will Go Car-Free

4.      Is Germany really going to ban petrol and diesel cars?

5.      Can the Paris Gondola Succeed Where London’s Failed?

6.      Innovation in Nottingham mobility services

Events

If you are aware of any events and sources of events we have missed and should add to our calendar please let us know by emailing website@transitionbath.org. We try to keep our website calendar up to date with a list of all the sustainability related events in Bath:  http://transitionbath.org/calendar/

Wed Jan 25th 4.30pm Guildhall B&NES Cabinet Meeting to decide on Bathampton Meadows Park and Ride
Thu Jan 26th 3.00pm Sustrans: Bear Flat: How can walking and cycling be improved in your area?
Tue Jan 31st 3.00pm Sustrans: London Road/Larkhall : How can walking and cycling be improved in your area?
Sat Feb 4th 10:00am Tree Pruning Workshop
Tue Feb 7th 4.30pm Bath University Public I-SEE Lecture: Avoiding major climate change in a cleaner fossil fuels world: challenges and opportunities’
Wed Feb 8th 7.30pm Bath Green Drinks
Thu Feb 9th 7.30pm Bath Air Quality Action Plan Workshop
Thu Feb 16th 7.00pm Transition Bath Transport Group Monthly Meeting: Living Streets
Sat Feb 18th 9.30am Seed Swap
Tue Feb 21st 4.30pm Bath University/Verco Public I-SEE Lecture: Energy efficiency is a no brainer – so why is it not happening?
Tue Mar 7th 4.30pm Bath University Public I-SEE Lecture: From atoms to devices: Materials design for new energy technologies’
Wed Mar 8th 7.30pm Bath Green Drinks
Wed Mar 15th 6.00pm Bath Taps into Science: Family Talk on Energy by Professor Saiful Islam

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