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Rishi Sunak is “on the side” of drivers – What happened to Britain’s “golden age for cycling”? Plus THAT cargo bike parking row on the road.cc Podcast

We discuss what the Prime Minister’s pro-car agenda could mean for active travel in the UK, while a Bristol family ask why their cargo bike is deemed by the council to be less important than a car parking space…

Last weekend, just in case you were doing your best to avoid the news, Rishi Sunak promised the UK’s motorists that he was “on their side”, as the Prime Minister ordered a review of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in England.

 

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The review – which led Cycling UK to accuse the Prime Minister of using LTNs as a “political football” – comes as the debate over green active travel policies continues to sharpen in the wake of the Conservative Party’s win at the recent Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election (called following the departure of the famously active travel-friendly PM Boris Johnson), a narrow victory credited to the Tory opposition to Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone.

Railton LTN (picture credit TfL)

> Rishi Sunak accused of seeking to exploit division over LTNs as he orders review of schemes

Sunak’s opposition to ULEZ and LTNs, the latest strategic manoeuvre in the pre-general election battleground, isn’t the only move away from the green active travel policies held by his party in recent years, with the Prime Minister recently hinting at plans to push back the date that sales of new petrol and diesel-powered cars will be banned, while funding for cycling infrastructure – including the new government body Active Travel England – has also taken a hit during his tenure in charge.

> Whose ULEZ is it anyway? Political chicanery as clean air zone set to expand to outer London

In the second part of the latest episode of the road.cc Podcast, Jack, Simon, and Ryan sit round the table to discuss what Sunak’s latest pro-driver pledges mean for the next general election, how they represent a shift away from past Conservative policy on cycling, active travel, and climate change (led by Johnson), and what impact they could have on the future landscape of cycling in the UK.

DIY bike parking space in Bristol (credit: Anna Cordle)

> “The road is yours only if you own a car?”: Cyclist couple challenge council after being asked to remove DIY bike parking space from outside home

But before we get to all that political chicanery, in part one of this episode Ryan chats with Bristol couple Anna and Mark Cordle, who recently made the headlines after they set up a parking space for their family cargo bike outside their home – which, a year after it was installed, has been the subject of threats by the local council to remove it… because it was taking up a car parking space.

In a really interesting discussion which touches on the differing perceptions and treatment of people who ride bikes to get around compared to those who use cars, Anna and Mark detail the reasons why they needed the space for their young family, how it was greeted by their neighbours, their current struggle against the council, and why planter-based bike parking spaces may provide an organic, cost-effective way forward for active travel in the UK’s cities.

As outlined in our original article, Bristol City Council is standing firm in its reasons for asking Anna and Mark to remove the heavy planters, claiming that placing them on the road is in breach of Section 149 of the Highways Act, and that they would be liable "if any person has an accident has a result of [your] planters being on the highway." 

Are DIY cargo bike parking spaces the way to go, and if not, what are the alternatives? Anna notes during the discussion that she won’t be holding her breath for a dramatic policy shift just yet…

The road.cc Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music, and if you have an Alexa you can just tell it to play the road.cc Podcast. It’s also embedded further up the page, so you can just press play.

At the time of broadcast, our listeners can also get a free Hammerhead Heart Rate Monitor with the purchase of a Hammerhead Karoo 2. Visit hammerhead.io right now and use promo code ROADCC at checkout to get yours.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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93 comments

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Cugel replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
Simon E wrote:

Enough said.

You carry on pushing your fossil fuel agenda, drill, drill, drill. That will definitely get us out of trouble.

At least the man in 10 Downing Street shares your interest (and investments?) so I guess we're all in this mess together.

We need some effective way to get rid of politicians that serve oil interests rather than the electorate.

//external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Flive.staticflickr.com%2F65535%2F49780427778_f8894d743c_o.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=22346d77489e7dfc8cef01b24d89d3329cca2fdd581627707355776efd3b63c5&ipo=images)

One of my other major hobbies (besides cycling and posting silly things here) is cabinet-making. As I've made as much furniture as me, family, friends, neighbours and anyone else I can push it on wants, a project to construct a full size working head lopper would be welcome.

Mind, I'm too much the squeamish softlad to pull the blade-release rope meself so you'll have to find a willing executioner. (I'll make a small hypocrite label to wear when sat in the eager crowd of knitting ladies awaiting the next Toryspiv bonce-bounce into the basket).

Which one will you drop the chopper on first? I vote either the Bokum blackguard or that IDS guttersnipe. Cruella would also be on my list.

********

Of course, we would both eventually end up with our heeds in the basket too as this is the trouble with all revolutions. (Se E. Burke for details). Still, it would be worth it, eh?

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hawkinspeter replied to Cugel | 8 months ago
2 likes
Cugel wrote:

One of my other major hobbies (besides cycling and posting silly things here) is cabinet-making. As I've made as much furniture as me, family, friends, neighbours and anyone else I can push it on wants, a project to construct a full size working head lopper would be welcome.

Mind, I'm too much the squeamish softlad to pull the blade-release rope meself so you'll have to find a willing executioner. (I'll make a small hypocrite label to wear when sat in the eager crowd of knitting ladies awaiting the next Toryspiv bonce-bounce into the basket).

Which one will you drop the chopper on first? I vote either the Bokum blackguard or that IDS guttersnipe. Cruella would also be on my list.

********

Of course, we would both eventually end up with our heeds in the basket too as this is the trouble with all revolutions. (Se E. Burke for details). Still, it would be worth it, eh?

I'd like to start with all the billionaires. I cannot understand how someone can gain many millions and then deliberately under-pay all their workers and attempt to over-charge people for stuff in an attempt to gain yet more money. Anyone with a conscience would come to a realisation - "I've got x millions which is easily enough for me and my family - I'll start increasing our employees wages as many of them are starving"

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Rich_cb replied to Simon E | 8 months ago
1 like

We're going to require fossil fuels for decades to come.

Nobody disputes that.

If we're going to be using fossil fuels then we must make sure they are the least damaging types available.

That means replacing the dirtiest fuels with cleaner alternatives.

To do that we need to increase the supply of the least harmful fossil fuels.

It's not a hard concept to grasp.

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Simon E replied to Simon E | 8 months ago
5 likes

While Rich promotes continued use of fossil fuels:

Quote:

The UK government has just quietly published estimates showing wind and solar will be several times cheaper than gas, for the foreseeable future

https://twitter.com/DrSimEvans/status/1687489263904927744

This is the renewables sector the Tory governments have hacked and bludgeoned the whole time they've been in power. They'd prefer that the planet burns than we have a more sustainable way of producing energy so they and their donors continue to pile up the $millions. The worst kind of scum.

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Rich_cb replied to Simon E | 8 months ago
0 likes

The green line is renewable generation. The reddish line is fossil fuels.

If that's the result of hacking and bludgeoning then maybe we need to hack and bludgeon some more parts of our economy.

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HarrogateSpa replied to Rich_cb | 8 months ago
7 likes

This is bilge even by your standards.

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Rich_cb replied to HarrogateSpa | 8 months ago
0 likes

Look up the carbon intensity figures for imported LNG versus domestically produced gas.

You might learn something.

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Wingguy replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 8 months ago
5 likes
The_Tory wrote:
Cugel wrote:

PS Tories have been replaced by various spivs, who don't do politics (which involves compromise and associated tolerances) but are good at forming criminal gangs.

I don't agree with everything they are doing, but better the evil you know than that you don't... no-one wants Captain Crasharoonie Snoozefest aka the Human Bollard as PM do they. 

That's it is it, better the devil you know? So you voted for Gordon Brown, did you? 
 

And yes, Captain Snoozefest will be PM. Partly because a boring politician isn't a bad thing, and partly because (despite being far too right wing for comfort) he's much, much better than the devils we know. 

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jaymack replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 8 months ago
4 likes

In a democartic & free country even you are entitled to be wrong.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to jaymack | 8 months ago
0 likes
jaymack wrote:

In a democartic & free country even you are entitled to be wrong.

Democartic? You're embarrassing Rendel who previously said that road.cc readers actually were literate and could spell. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 8 months ago
5 likes
The_Tory wrote:

Democartic? You're embarrassing Rendel who previously said that road.cc readers actually were literate and could spell. 

Actually I said they knew the difference between it's and its, which you, as you amply demonstrated, don't. Nor, clearly, do you know the difference between an inability to spell and an obvious typo. Your obsession with namechecking me wherever you can is as worrying, in terms of your sanity, now as it was when you were trading as thisismyusername, Rendel Harriz and Sirrah_Ledner. By all means carry on if you wish (until, inevitably, you get banned again) but you really should ask yourself if this is a healthy way to spend your time. Get well soon.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

Actually I said they knew the difference between it's and its, which you, as you amply demonstrated, don't. Nor, clearly, do you know the difference between an inability to spell and an obvious typo. Your obsession with namechecking me wherever you can is as worrying, in terms of your sanity, now as it was when you were trading as thisismyusername, Rendel Harriz and Sirrah_Ledner. By all means carry on if you wish (until, inevitably, you get banned again) but you really should ask yourself if this is a healthy way to spend your time. Get well soon.

An obvious typo? You're pretty desperate if start claiming that. 

I was simply saying that he was embarrassing you for his non-deliberate spelling mistake. And seeing as you seem to think you speak for everyone every time you comment, there is no harm in referring to you is there. 

As for a healthy way to spend time...seeing as you seem to feel the need to respond to every one of my comments, is it not you that has a strange obsession with me? It's pretty creepy to have you following me around.

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 8 months ago
3 likes
The_Tory wrote:

An obvious typo? You're pretty desperate if start claiming that. 

Superb. No need for any further comment on this one.

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wtjs | 8 months ago
3 likes

Insufficient credit has been given to the Tories' crack Black Ops Unit which, I'm told, created the Republican Party as the only possible means of making Tories look less venal and stupid in comparison.

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brooksby | 8 months ago
6 likes

All that talk about Gear Change and Golden Age of Cycling - that was more than 24 hours ago, far too many news cycles ago, so you're not supposed to remember it.

 

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 8 months ago
13 likes

Surely the Conservatives won't win another election in the Unicorn Kingdom? Even in full culture wars mode there can't be that many thick people in the UK.  Are there?   You know the kind - Get Brexit Done, Stop the Boats, Oven Ready Deal, Levelling Up . . . . .  (Mind you with the unrepresentative, quasi democratic voting system you have - they don't need a majority to win) 

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hawkinspeter replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 8 months ago
6 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

Surely the Conservatives won't win another election in the Unicorn Kingdom? Even in full culture wars mode there can't be that many thick people in the UK.  Are there?   You know the kind - Get Brexit Done, Stop the Boats, Oven Ready Deal, Levelling Up . . . . .  (Mind you with the unrepresentative, quasi democratic voting system you have - they don't need a majority to win) 

Well, at least they won't just use Brexit to ignore air quality rules:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/aug/04/uk-government-ignoring-green-watchdog-over-air-quality-rules

Quote:

The government is ignoring its post-Brexit green watchdog over the removal of air quality regulations, in a move that has been described by experts as “a clear example of deregulation”.

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) was set up in 2020 to replace the role the EU had played in regulating and enforcing environmental law in the UK. Campaigners raised concerns at the time that it might not have the same teeth as the EU and that it would not be able to stop the government riding roughshod over environment protections.

Last week the OEP wrote to the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, arguing that core parts of the national emissions ceiling regulations (NECR) should not be deleted under the Retained EU Law Act (REUL). However, Coffey has made it clear that the department will ignore the advice of the OEP.

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quiff replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
5 likes
theGrauniad wrote:

Last week the OEP wrote to the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, arguing that core parts of the national emissions ceiling regulations (NECR) should not be deleted under the Retained EU Law Act (REUL). However, Coffey has made it clear that the department will ignore the advice of the OEP.

"It's just a bit of poo" (courtesy of her caricature in Dead Ringers)

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David9694 replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 8 months ago
4 likes

They seem stuck on this negative, bar stool/ boomer politics when it's clear from by-election results the country has had enough.  But their lords and masters won't permit a change of direction.

The rational thing to do would be to pivot on Brexit (stop the boats via co-operation or just stop going on about it) and start sounding a lot more climate-friendly.

Drivers make plenty of noise and there is an oil industry behind it all but in terms of numbers at the ballot box? I guess that is the calculation, not least following the hold in Uxbridge. 

I know it's silly season now, but haven't they all, except for Sunak's mis-firing efforts, gone pretty quiet? "Hang in there", "working day & night" butter no parsnips when your weekly supermarket bill is £120 rather than £90, the mortgage, the gas/electric bill, Council Tax. 
 

 

 

 

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eburtthebike replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 8 months ago
6 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

Surely the Conservatives won't win another election in the Unicorn Kingdom? Even in full culture wars mode there can't be that many thick people in the UK.  Are there?   You know the kind - Get Brexit Done, Stop the Boats, Oven Ready Deal, Levelling Up . . . . .  (Mind you with the unrepresentative, quasi democratic voting system you have - they don't need a majority to win) 

Given the gullibility and short memory of the average voter, it's entirely possible that the tories will win again.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

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wycombewheeler replied to eburtthebike | 8 months ago
2 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

Surely the Conservatives won't win another election in the Unicorn Kingdom? Even in full culture wars mode there can't be that many thick people in the UK.  Are there?   You know the kind - Get Brexit Done, Stop the Boats, Oven Ready Deal, Levelling Up . . . . .  (Mind you with the unrepresentative, quasi democratic voting system you have - they don't need a majority to win) 

Given the gullibility and short memory of the average voter, it's entirely possible that the tories will win again.  Be afraid, be very afraid.

it's all about the economy, as long as people are content with money in their pockets and a comfortable lifestyle, they will not vote them out. We're a long way away from that, but you never know.

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David9694 replied to wycombewheeler | 8 months ago
2 likes

By-election results seem pretty compelling. Many people and businesses are feeling a distinct "pinch" at the moment.

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Secret_squirrel replied to David9694 | 8 months ago
2 likes

I think thats correct.  This is mostly due to a nervous Labour party over-reacting to an election result they had convinced themselves they would win, when they were likely to but it was always tight on a seat they have never held before.  But they didnt and publically and politically they flinched big style and handed the iniative to the Tories - temporarily hopefully.

They had a chance to rebut strongly with World on Fire points - but again havent had the balls to do so.

The Tories would have probably culture war'd on the environment anyway, but the gutter right wing press may have been a tad less aggressive.

Right now it seems that Labour is keeping relatively quite hoping the Tories will over play just like they have on every other topic.

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hawkinspeter replied to Secret_squirrel | 8 months ago
2 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

I think thats correct.  This is mostly due to a nervous Labour party over-reacting to an election result they had convinced themselves they would win, when they were likely to but it was always tight on a seat they have never held before.  But they didnt and publically and politically they flinched big style and handed the iniative to the Tories - temporarily hopefully.

They had a chance to rebut strongly with World on Fire points - but again havent had the balls to do so.

The Tories would have probably culture war'd on the environment anyway, but the gutter right wing press may have been a tad less aggressive.

Right now it seems that Labour is keeping relatively quite hoping the Tories will over play just like they have on every other topic.

I was reading an alternate interpretation of the Uxbridge result - https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/aug/03/uxbridge-brexit-tories-anti-green-labour-local

They had a local down-to-earth looking Tory candidate vs a smart, city-dressed Labour candidate. Sounds like a screw-up by Labour.

 

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Tom_77 replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
1 like

I think it's difficult to draw conclusions from by-election results - they tend to have a much lower turnout than a general election.

YouGov poll on what people think are the most important issues is quite interesting, an increasing number of people think The Environment is important - https://yougov.co.uk/topics/education/trackers/the-most-important-issues...

I'm not sure how you would categorise ULEZ though. Is it Transport, The Environment, or Tax?

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hawkinspeter replied to Tom_77 | 8 months ago
1 like
Tom_77 wrote:

I think it's difficult to draw conclusions from by-election results - they tend to have a much lower turnout than a general election.

YouGov poll on what people think are the most important issues is quite interesting, an increasing number of people think The Environment is important - https://yougov.co.uk/topics/education/trackers/the-most-important-issues...

I'm not sure how you would categorise ULEZ though. Is it Transport, The Environment, or Tax?

I agree, but the narrative being pushed by most media is that ULEZ was the main reason that the Tories held onto the seat. It's more likely that the voters were turned off by the Labour candidate looking like a London-based banker and instead felt better represented by a down-to-earth looking local.

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sheridan replied to hawkinspeter | 8 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I agree, but the narrative being pushed by most media is that ULEZ was the main reason that the Tories held onto the seat. It's more likely that the voters were turned off by the Labour candidate looking like a London-based banker and instead felt better represented by a down-to-earth looking local.

Never mind that the constituency has only ever elected Conservative candidates before (and of the two it was formed from, one also had only ever had Tories while the other has been blue since before a good proportion of the people on this forum were born - what is the age make-up of this place, anyway?  1970 is the year we're aiming at)!

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hawkinspeter replied to sheridan | 8 months ago
5 likes
sheridan wrote:

Never mind that the constituency has only ever elected Conservative candidates before (and of the two it was formed from, one also had only ever had Tories while the other has been blue since before a good proportion of the people on this forum were born - what is the age make-up of this place, anyway?  1970 is the year we're aiming at)!

My initial reaction on hearing the result was "those are the idiots that voted for Boris".

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David9694 replied to Tom_77 | 8 months ago
2 likes

Environment looks like overtaking Immigration & Asylum on this chart.  

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bensynnock replied to wycombewheeler | 8 months ago
0 likes

You may find a Labour MP in Wycombe of all places this time next year. There's no way the Tories will fix the economy in the next 10 months - assuming a May election.

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