Deputy Cabinet member Jamie Audsley has sent round the following report of a meeting he held on the Council’s Air Quality Plan.
‘We know air pollution is damaging our children’s lungs and lives.
I recently brought together a wide range of community activists from across Croydon to examine the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan and generate further ideas to “kill the car” and move to sustainable forms of transport.
We learnt the council are focused on…
- Cleaner transport: walking, cycling & low emission vehicles
- Reducing the emissions of its own fleet
- Reducing emissions from developments and buildings
- Reducing deliveries to reduce emissions
- Increasing public awareness to change behaviour
- Local solutions such as parking controls outside schools
Top ideas put forward to “kill the car” …
- Creating car free streets
- Charging polluting cars to enter Croydon
- Pressuring the Westfield development to reduce car parking places
People want support to get on their bike…
- Improved cycling infrastructure
- Cycle super highways
- A Croydon to Brighton cycle route
Communities see green infrastructure investment as key…
- Rapid expansion of electric vehicle charging points
- Expanding the tram across Croydon
- Expanding green corridors with improved planting
Want more information…
Pie in the Sky?
The package of ideas needs to be considered in a much wider context to assess whether they are realistic or pie in the sky.
(1) Life styles, especially re-work require lots of people to have vehicles, inc. parking vans where they live.
(2) Families require cars because of work/school journeys dictated by marketisation of education meaning many primary school children do not go to their local school. Parents often have to drop their children off (school run) before driving to work.
(3) Many cyclists are a menace to pedestrians and drivers, riding through red lights, cycling on pavements with no regard to the safety of themselves and others. Time for licencing and compulsory training.
(4) Large parts of the Borough are poorly served by public transport. People are not going to give up or reduce use of their cars until there are major improvements.
(5) Many older and people with disabilities are dependent on their cars to get out and about. Grandparents who now take on child care responsibilities often need to drive because of their adult children’s work complexities and living further distances away.
(6) The drop in bus use suggests that something has been going fundamentally wrong: over crowding, long waits, fear of aggressive other passengers etc, noise from use of mobile phones, etc.
(7) Major re-think of Underground/Overground/Network Rail system needed to ensure that more east/west lines area created across Outer London Boroughs.
(8) If Westfield goes ahead it is going to be dependent on customers driving in from Surrey, Kent and Sussex. A former Director made it clear that the type of shops in the centre would not be for Croydon people. The whole of the Fiveways reconfiguration is to make it easier to drive into the Town Centre. (9) The current TfL bus changes for Town Centre will make coming into Town Centre by bus more difficult.
(10) A growing amount of traffic is probably the delivery vans delivering some packages ordered on the internet rather than purchased from shops. This trend is increasing year by year.
(11) Cycle ways and super highways. Where? Look at the Sustrans fiasco on Norbury/Kensington Avenue area.
(12) Traffic is also generated by people wanting to visit attractions like National Trust homes etc to the south of Croydon, which are often not accessible by public transport or special buses services.
(13) Special public transport measures are needed to open up access to Croydon’s Green Belt areas for recreation etc.
(14) Car clubs may be part of the answer but what monitoring is being made of their use in schemes where they have been required by planning permission?
(15) The more electric vehicles replace polluting ones the air pollution argument against having a vehicle reduces.
(16) A massive tree planting programme is needed.
(17) Network Rail should be stopped from its wholesale cutting down of trees along railway tracks, and/or be required to fund the planting of mature trees elsewhere.
(18) All new building developments should be set back from the road with mature trees planted in front.
(19) Urgent need to draft in accord with the national criteria a Local Designated List of Green Spaces. It was a major failure of the Planners on this issue that led to the Inspector rejected the original proposed draft.
(20) Need for study of the vehicle impacts of new housing schemes especially the tower blocks in terms of deliveries, car ownership, hire of cabs, cycling use, etc.
(21) Is there a danger that the cycling lobby will have too great an influence considering how very low cycle use is in Croydon?
Finally recognition is needed of residents’ concerns about the cumulative effect every planning decision for new/converted housing has on street car parking, as well as their concerns about the breaches in 20mph zones (and lack of policing of them). If residents concerns are ignored then why should they listen to the Council on other transport issues?