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Peter Kyle, MP for Hove, has pledged his support for a Plastic Pollution Action Plan, backed by legislation to protect wildlife and human health.

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We met with Peter as part of our plan to share our concerns about environmental damage caused by plastic with all three of Brighton & Hove’s MPs.

It’s fantastic to have Peter’s backing for an action plan, which would begin phasing out unneeded plastics now, and look to end pollution from hard-to-replace plastics (like car tyres, paints and clothes) as soon as possible.

Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II has hammered home the tragedy of plastic pollution in our oceans. Up to 12m tonnes  of plastic ends up in the sea each year – not far off the weight of a million London buses.

Sea creatures can get tangled up in plastic – or mistake it for food. The effects can be fatal. Harmful chemicals linked to plastic have been found in species from plankton to dolphins.

It’s time to make a change. Thank you Peter, for your support.

We hope to meet with our other MPs soon. If you’d like to be involved please get in touch or sign our petition – making sure to sign up for our email list.

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Toads Hole Valley is the largest greenfield site in Brighton & Hove allocated for development. It was left out of the South Downs National Park after it was severed from the downland when the A27 bypass was constructed. Currently there is an application to build 880 homes, a secondary school, business units, a community centre, doctor’s surgery and local shops.

Whilst not against the development of Toads Hole Valley in principle, we have objected to the current proposals on transport and climate change grounds. In particular, the failure to properly cater for pedestrians and cyclists. The development will encourage car use, even with a bus serving the site, because it is all too easy to drive from one part of the development to another. Therefore, we believe the development fails to conform to the Local Plan and national policy.

This site offers us a once in a generation opportunity to do something really quite special. Unfortunately, while there are some good aspects to this proposal, it is badly let down by its layout. The provision for people who want to walk and cycle is also poor. It will place pedestrians and cyclists in conflict on shared paths deterring people from leaving the car at home.

There is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, as we have seen by the recent youth marches and numerous scientific reports. Transport is the one area where we are failing, and failing badly. Yet this development, rather than offering solutions for the future, will lock in the bad habits of the past. This will make it harder for us to tackle climate change, not speed us towards the path we need to take.

The local shopping centre and doctor’s surgery need to be placed, near the community centre, closer to the heart of the community, so that it is easier to walk and cycle there. Pedestrian and cycle facilities need to be segregated to improve comfort, safety and attractiveness. While crossings need to be simplified. Currently the main junction has five separate stages for pedestrians and cyclists to cross to reach the southern side of Goldstone Crescent. Cars only have one. This is hardly prioritising walking and cycling as required by national planning policy.

There is no excuse for not getting this right and we hope the developers will take on board these concerns and amend the application to produce something that is truly groundbreaking.

More reading: BHFOE objection to Toads Hole Valley application


We’re urging Brighton & Hove City Council to approve phase 3 of the Valley Gardens scheme at today’s meeting (7 Feb) of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee. The Council will be asked to approve the plans, which we believe are a vast improvement from those that were consulted on last year. We welcome the way that the Council has listened to residents and altered the scheme quite significantly to address people’s concerns.

We believe the plans offer an exciting glimpse of the changes we could see on the seafront and in the Old Steine. For the first time ever, the seafront cycle lane will connect to Lewes Road, while pedestrians will have direct and attractive crossings and enhanced public spaces. We’re particularly pleased that the promenade west of the Palace Pier will be significantly widened to ease congestion in this area (see picture above taken on a cold winter’s day). Buses will also be better accommodated with a new southbound bus lane and stops. The public consultation showed strong support for the improvements and it’s right that they should now be implemented.

While some people are still unhappy, we believe many of their concerns are unfounded or exaggerated. For the last 30 years Brighton tourism bosses have predicted the demise of the economy every time some minor restriction on cars was made, yet the city remains in rude health. On air quality, the scheme shouldn’t increase pollution overall, while congestion is unlikely to be significantly worse than it currently is.

Quite simply we cannot afford to keep the Aquarium roundabout and current road layout. Other cities are creating new and exciting public spaces and if Brighton doesn’t do the same it will lose out in the longer term. At the same time, health bodies have long called for these sorts of improvements to address the huge impact that obesity is placing on society and the NHS. We need to change the way we move around the city, both for our health and the economy, and this project will help kick-start that change.

Last week West Sussex County Council wrote to a number of objectors to its proposals to dual the A2300 (between the A23 and Burgess Hill).  It has replied to us but provided no real reassurance it knows or cares what it’s doing.  For example, it has claimed in a letter to Bricycles, the Brighton & Hove Cycle Campaign group, that: “Any form of controlled crossings such as toucan or Pegasus crossings will have negative impact of the business case and put funding of the scheme in jeopardy.”  This tells us one of three things:

  1. The business case for the road is so weak it will be undermined if they slow traffic down to allow pedestrians and cyclists safe passage through the area (across the new road and its junctions).
  2. They haven’t a clue as to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists, if they think uncontrolled crossings are any form of benefit to them
  3. They just don’t care

What is worse is that WSCC cannot claim it doesn’t know that walking and cycling are important and bring many benefits.  Late last year, the Government reiterated their importance and said that it wanted to see local highways authorities spending around 15% of their transport infrastructure funding on walking and cycling.

More recently, this year the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published a new draft quality standard where it proposed that: “New and upgraded roads should prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport over motorised vehicles”.  This is out of concern that lack of physical exercise is ruining people’s quality of life and placing an unnecessary and expensive burden on the NHS.

Watch this space for more updates but if you live in West Sussex or use the roads in the area, then we would encourage you to lobby the County Council to start getting serious with its provision for pedestrians and cyclists.

These files are our original objection, WSCC’s response and our reply to their response

bhfoe original a2300 response

wscc a2300 letter to bhfoe

bhfoe a2300 reply to wscc

 

rs22772_plastic in ocean dark

Scientists now predict that by the middle of the century our oceans will contain more plastic waste than fish, ton for ton.

Let’s do something about it.

Ask Brighton and Hove MPs to back a Plastic Pollution Action Plan.

rubbish_webOur petition calling on the council to drastically improve recycling facilities on the seafront has now gathered over 600 signatures.

You can help the campaign by adding your name and sharing the petition with friends and family.

Can you help us reach 1,000 signatures?

 

 

West Sussex strikes again

Don’t end up with something like this

Have your say! Respond to the A2300 consultation

Having just experienced West Sussex County Council’s (WSCC) indifference to towards walking and cycling on the New Monks Farm development, we shouldn’t really be surprised to see them at it again.  This time WSCC is proposing to dual the A2300 from the A23 into Burgess Hill to support new development.  They appear to only consider road building as a serious option, while public transport, walking and cycling are seen as add-ons and consequently don’t ever deliver much.  It’s the classic ‘predict and provide’ approach that just fuels traffic growth, congestion and a low quality environment.

What is most shocking, though, is how sub-standard, dangerous and unattractive the proposals are for people who want to walk and cycle.  The shared path alongside the road will do little to alleviate traffic levels in and around Burgess Hill and we suspect that some cyclists will still use the road, even a 70mph road, because it is so bad.  Just producing maps and drawing lines on them showing routes for people to walk and cycle is meaningless unless the infrastructure provided is safe, easy and attractive to use.  This is none of these.

We are urging people to take a few minutes to object to these poor quality and dangerous facilities.

The survey is quite short and you don’t have to fill in all your personal details except for a postcode.  Deadline is midnight, Sunday 28 October.
These are some issues and thoughts on the proposed pedestrian and cycle infrastructure being proposed alongside the A2300:
  1. The scheme does not conform to the National Planning Policy Framework which says that pedestrian and cycle movements should be given priority (para 110) – here they are just an afterthought
  2. The shared path is too narrow (at 2.5m wide) – it should be at least 3 metres wide to meet latest standards
  3. The path is unsafe as it has too many crossings of high speed junctions, made worse by the 70 mph speed limit.  No help is given to people crossing these roads
  4. There are too many sharp bends at crossing points and no slips (easy access points) onto the path near the A23, at Stairbridge Lane or Cuckfield Road – this will cause cyclists to have to swerve into the traffic to get onto and off the shared path
  5. Several quieter roads (good for cycling) would be severed by these proposals with no help given to pedestrians or cyclists to cross the A2300 – Stairbridge Lane to Pookbourne Lane, Bishopstone Lane and Cuckfield Road
  6. The path under the retained overbridge is right next to the 70mph road. This is dangerous – the central reservation should be reduced and or the road moved across to provide the required 3 metre separation between road and path
  7. Some cyclists will be tempted to still use the road (even at 70mph) because the path is so poor (a measure of success in terms of design would be to provide a facility that encourages all cyclists to use it)
  8. The Cuckfield Road roundabout should be redesigned to open up easy access for walking and cycling (from all directions) and with speed limits reduced
  9. The path should have a sealed surface (tarmac)
  10. The proposed new roundabout at the eastern end (not part of this scheme but to be provided for by developers) is not fit for purpose and needs redesigning to properly accommodate cycling.
Feel free to use or adapt these points in your response, or just tell them to go back to the drawing board.  Maybe we can shame them into providing something better!  You can also email your comments to them directly: a2300@westsussex.gov.uk

You can find out more about the proposals here