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Backward step for cyclists

Proposals to create a permanent loading bay in Lewes Road are a backward step for cyclists

The loading bay close to the Elm Grove junction is currently only meant to be used in off-peak periods. Changing it to 24 hour use will permanently block the cycle lane to the busy Vogue Gyratory and out to the universities. Cyclists will be forced out into the mainstream traffic and it will make it harder for buses to access nearby bus stops.

The council is asking for feedback on the plans until 1 December 2017 – find out more.

Please get in touch if you’d like help taking part in the consultation.

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Great news for bees

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has finally backed tougher restrictions on bee-harming pesticides called neonicotinoids.

His landmark decision is down to millions of people keeping up the pressure for a full ban on bee-harming neonics – and it demonstrates just how powerful we can be when we take action together.

Now we need to make sure the UK follows through on today’s announcement by backing European Commission proposals to get these pesticides completely out of our fields.

Please take a minute to pledge your support for Mr Gove’s call for tougher restrictions – and urge him to vote in favour of a full and permanent ban when the time comes.

While we welcome the proposals to redevelop Preston Barracks, we are objecting to the big increase in car parking on traffic and air pollution grounds.  Nearby roads already suffer above legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and this development could make things worse.  It’s likely that levels of nitrogen dioxide will take longer to fall below legal limits and therefore the development could be illegal as it currently stands.  High Court rulings have stressed the need to reduce levels of air pollution “as soon as possible”.  The planning application is being decided on Wednesday 27th September by the City Council.

It is somewhat ironic that the University of Brighton is behind a development that will increase air pollution.  Apart from the fact that it actively promotes its green credentials, its vice chancellor was recently warning of the need to urgently tackle air pollution.  At the same time its academics have done groundbreaking work in this field and have strongly criticised the Government’s poor response to the whole issue.

It’s time the University put its money where its mouth is.  This is a much needed and welcome development in many ways, let down by an out of date approach to transport.  It is quite easy to resolve.  Cap the car parking at current levels for the whole site.  That way traffic levels and pollution will not be made worse and public health will not be at risk.

If a university with air pollution experts cannot get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Currently in Brighton & Hove there are around 175 premature deaths due to air pollution, mostly due to traffic.  For most pollutants there are no known safe levels.

BHFOE news release Preston Barracks

BHFOE response to Preston Barracks application

As the deadline to comment on plans for 700 new homes in Hove’s Toads Hole Valley passes, we’re challenging the city’s planners to be more ambitious.

Although we recognise that development of this site presents many opportunities for our city, we feel many of the plans are too timid. With such a blank canvas, we want to see more aspiration to build a community that puts people’s health and happiness first.

We want to see a place where it is safe for youngsters and the infirm to be out in the streets, interacting with friends and neighbours.  Where the car doesn’t dominate  and is largely kept out of the development save for loading and deliveries.

Chris Todd, planning and transport campaigner for Brighton & Hove Friend of the Earth

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a development that helps people lead active and healthy lifestyles, rather than chain them to the mistakes of the past.

That’s our challenge to the planners.

To Carol

Carol Dawes died quietly in her sleep after a fight with cancer, on Saturday 8 April 2017.

monica carol run on sun in the DIp

Carol in the foreground on one of our stalls.

When I first came to Brighton in 2008, through a friend I found Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, and Carol. She was an active member and it quickly became clear that she was a long-term and dedicated environmental campaigner.

As a young woman she was at The Greenham Common Peace Camp 1981/2 where women chained themselves to the base fence in protest against nuclear weapons. One of history’s most famous feminist protests.

Moving to Brighton in the late 1990s, she quickly became involved with the fight for the South Downs and safeguarding Offham Down Site of Special Scientific Interest from further damage, which helped re-ignite the National Park campaign.

Clean energy not gas please

Carol (front and centre) joining other activists to protest against fracking

She regularly organised stalls and events on behalf of the group and was always keen to help. She was a great believer in “face to face chats” with people, probably stemming from her market trader background.

More recently she worked on the clean energy and bees campaign and was a strong supporter of the Biosphere. She subsequently was involved with the fight against fracking in Balcombe where she spent many days as a legal observer.

Even when ill she was still helping organise demonstrations in Brighton to raise awareness about the poor air quality.

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Carol campaigning next to Brighton’s Clock Tower

She was a stalwart and we will miss Carol very much as a campaigner, a lovely friend and a fellow spirit.

Dear Carol…thank you for all you have done: your good work will go on. 

Monica

Our next monthly meeting takes place on Wednesday 8 February at the The Hop & Vine. Join us to find out how you can get involved in upcoming group activities.

When: Wednesday 8 February at 7.30pm
Where: The Hop & Vine pub, Fiveways, 300 Ditchling Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6JG.

Click here for map and directions. Bus routes 26 and 46 stop close by the venue. 

Contact Monica if you have any questions.

Stanmer Park: an update

We’ve received the following message from a Stanmer Village resident about the proposed plans in Stanmer Park:

Just to say thank you for motivating your supporters in objecting to the proposed works in Stanmer Park, particularly for the proposed new car park on the Patchway.

So you don’t miss this in the (huge) plans, the proposed new access road to this car park would cut across the mound in front of the church, where most of the trees would be lost.Irrespective of any permanent and intrusive changes to this historically sensitive and heavily protected area, this would also result in the loss of roosting and habitat for the bats and birds that use this area, including the remaining birds of prey in the Park who forage on the rats in the barn area.