From Brent Cycling Campaign
We are pleased to see things moving forward over climate, particularly with the ongoing commitment to school streets, the proposal for "Sustainable Neighbourhood" pilots, and the funding of community groups working in this field. However, this update 2022-2024 leaves us with more questions than answers.
The Brent Climate Emergency Strategy 2021-2030 has a dedicated chapter on Transport with the following objective: "By 2030, petrol and diesel road journeys will have at least halved in the borough, being driven as close as possible to zero, with an accompanying increase in journeys made by residents through cycling, walking or public transport." This will not happen by itself if no measures on the ground are introduced to support residents with switching transport modes for at least some of their journeys, if not the majority.
The strategy also mentioned that transport was the "second most important theme that should be prioritised in the eyes of the Brent Climate Assembly as a means of tackling the climate emergency". It also clearly laid out that road transport was one of the biggest sources of carbon pollution in Brent. We are therefore surprised to see the lack of proposals for transport. Cargo bike trials for businesses, and space for parking cycles are important but if there is hardly anywhere to ride that feels safe and convenient, whether you are 7 or 77, this will not amount to a significant change in transport behaviour.
Earlier this year, the Mayor of London outlined what would be required if London were to achieve decarbonisation by 2030: "In order to meet the climate change targets, car traffic must reduce by at least 27% in London by the end of the decade." To achieve this, we need safe space for cycling which is consistent, linked up, safe and inclusive. We need a network of safe routes to schools, to high streets, to hospitals and GPs which are children-friendly and inclusive. We need Climate Safe Streets.
Our question is: where is the urgency to tackle transport? Where is the joined-up thinking? According to the delivery plan to be presented to cabinet on Monday, there will only be two years left for the current administration to build the environment Brent residents will need to choose active travel and move away from car reliance. If by 2026, we do not see the infrastructure in place to support residents transitioning away from motor vehicles, it will be too late.