Friday, 21 January 2011

Decent Air To Breathe

I was happy to put on my Living Streets hat and join a panel at a public meeting on air quality and transport last night in Brighton. Transport 21 (T21), an umbrella organisation covering community groups in the London Road/Lewes Road area originally called the meeting so as to inform and encourage public debate, particularly around the Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) Local Transport Plan 3 and the related Air Quality Action Plan. IMG_2950 c res The original meeting was kyboshed by pre-Christmas snow, but yesterday’s postponed meeting still attracted around 50 people on a chill January evening. Ian Davey, Green Party Councillor for St Peters & North Laine Ward, and Green Spokesperson on Transport, chaired the event, with panellists including Dr Gary Fuller of the Environmental Research Group at Kings College London, Mike Best, the Operations Director at Brighton & Hove Bus Company, Andy Renaut, Head of Transport Planning & Policy, BHCC and Sam Rouse, Senior Technical Officer Air Quality, BHCC. Some interesting nuggets which came out at the meeting included: news that a bike hire scheme (a la London’s Boris Bikes) is being considered for Brighton; that Brighton and Hove Bus Company’s version of the Oyster travel card will be The Key, probably launching in the summer; that Brighton might be getting some hybrid buses; that there’s an air quality app available for your iPhone; and that the Government published its local transport White Paper on Wednesday – an event completely overshadowed by Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill. My presentation focused on the scope for modal shift - encouraging people out of their cars to improve air quality – and set out a vision of what a re-balanced Lewes Road area could look like, based on places like Brighton’s New Road, now a haven for pedestrians and hugely popular with residents and visitors. I finished with a photo I’d taken at last year’s Naked Bike Ride, and I was delighted when the cloud-bearing cyclist came up after the meeting and asked for a copy of the presentation and her photo (see above). Happy to oblige.

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