Cars: a sledgehammer to crack the nut of personal transport

 

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Destruction to humans:

  • Air pollution
  • Road danger
  • Water pollution
  • Carbon emissions
  • Obesity and inactivity

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Destruction to nature:

Virtually all of western Europe, the eastern US and Japan have no areas at all that are unaffected by roads. The scientists considered that land up to a kilometre on each side of a road was affected, which they believe is a conservative estimate. Loss of biodiversity threatens the natural systems of nature that we all depend on. Germany has seen a massive collapse in insects. France has seen a coillapse in its bird population. Bees are in rapid decline.

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Destruction to our lived environment:

Severance means risking your life just to pick up a pint of milk. I met this family of a mother and three children trying to cross a dangerous street where there is no safe crossing. She does this journey nearly every day.

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The Embedded Carbon of the Elizabeth Line

This is the answer to my Freedom of Information question to Transport for London on the embedded carbon in construction of the Elizabeth Line. My question was:

Please can I  have the entire embodied carbon of the Elizabeth Line, including stations, tunnels and signalling equipment etc?

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Our Ref: FOI-0851-1819

Thank you for your request received on 2 July 2018 asking for information about the embodied carbon of the Elizabeth Line.

Total emissions of carbon dioxide from the construction phase of the Crossrail project are estimated to be in the order of 1.7 million tonnes of CO2. More information & supporting documents can be found on Crossrail’s learning legacy website:

https://learninglegacy.crossrail.co.uk/learning-legacy-themes/environment/energy-efficiency-and-carbon/

Once the railway is operational, there will be annual savings in the order of 70,000 to 225,000 tonnes of CO2, largely due to the displacement of car journeys and replacement of diesel trains on the existing network. The ‘payback’ period is therefore between 7 and 26 years after opening, with the most likely range being 9 to 13 years after opening, beyond which there will be net savings in CO2. The variation in the figures also factor in possible differences in service operating patterns and specification of rolling stock.

Crossrail’s carbon footprint development and measurement provides a benchmark for future rail projects. A spreadsheet based tool was developed to measure the overall carbon footprint through Scope 1, 2, 3 in construction and also over 120 years of operation. A further tool, described herein, was developed to forecast and monitor the ongoing construction carbon footprint (Scopes 1 & 2) to enable the project to determine if it was on target to achieve its target reduction. The Manual and Excel based models for both are included as supporting documents. You can access the manual & excel based models & supporting documents here:

https://learninglegacy.crossrail.co.uk/documents/crossrail-construction-energy-model/

My further questions would be:

  1. Does this include cement emissions produced outside the UK?
  2.  I need to ask a few people to put 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 into context
  3. I would also like to know the carbon footprint of running the Elizabeth Line.
  4. How does embedded carbon of the East /West cycle superhighway compare?

Why we need to prioritise electric heating infrastructure over electric vehicle infrastructure

When I visited Copenhagen in March this year, I saw something that troubled me and I have been digesting it for the last 4 months.

I was in the city to look at the cycling  and walking bridges and on my first day I visited the new ‘Kissing bridge’ at Nyhavn and saw this.

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So I asked a man walking across the bridge if he spoke English and could tell me what the plumes of smoke were? By serendipity he spoke English AND he worked in Energy. So  he explained to me the chimneys were coal, new Biomass and waste incineration for district heating.

It was very cold in Copenhagen on that day. It had been snowing and there was a wind chill by the harbour. It smelt strongly of air pollution.

The next day I was taken on a guided cycle ride of both the cycling bridges and some of the tourist spots. I snapped this alternative view of the Little Mermaid.

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The narrative on the world stage is that Denmark is a world leader in renewable wind energy and is sometimes hitting more than 100% of its energy use with renewables. But for me the polluting plumes of smoke jarred with this image.

In another conversation with an employee in  local government, I was told that they rely on our waste being shipped from UK for waste incineration to heat homes because they have gotten too good with their recycling!

I had very personal reasons for being interested in how an advanced country like Denmark was managing heating energy. In 2015 our communal boiler was decommissioned and it was decided to install individual boilers in the 4 flats in our block.

Two of my neighbours decided to go for gas boilers and one for electric. And meanwhile I waited for two years without heating, conflicted as to which was the right investment,  gas or electric central heating? My instinct told me electric but all the experts were saying gas boilers were x 3 more efficient.

The first winter without heating was very mild and short and it was not a big sacrifice but the second one was harsh and long and  all the warming bowls of  porridge and layers of woolly jumpers were not working. On very cold winter evenings I was sitting shivering in my coat and I eventually got the flu. So I finally plumped for an efficient gas boiler which was installed in November 2017.

There are still plenty of reasons I don’t like burning ‘transition’ gas. Political (over reliance on dodgy regimes), energy security and environmental. It pollutes and it fries the planet. I think it is a false dawn.

Investing in Electric Vehicle infrastructure before electric heating infrastructure is leaving us with messed up priorities, where a car is more important than heating or cooking. We are about to hit zero net carbon quicker than anticipated. And we are woefully unprepared for renewable generated essential energy for cooking and heating.

 

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There seems to have been a skewed logic at play here. Inefficient electric cars have been sold to the Climate community as good and desirable.( Even though in a city like London we should be able to provide alternatives for nearly all personal journeys by walking, cycling and public transport) But inefficient electric boilers and infrastructure are bad and we must keep burning gas? also remembering that gas boilers are a source of air pollution.

Electric rapid chargers are popping up on pavements in London, with added pavement obstruction and trip hazard…I am told that rapid chargers are less likely to run off renewable energy because of the speed of the electricity demand at the wrong times of day.

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On twitter last week I was in a conversation with someone, based in India, who initially disagreed with my position. He seemed intelligent so I persisted with the discussion. We got on the subject of bitcoin.

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He also told me that he recently learnt that the Danish government will be using public subsidised windmills to power the upcoming data centres of private tech corporations such as google and Microsoft. As he said ‘Messed up priorities’ using public resources for private companies. And no sign of heating and cooking becoming 100% renewable? It will be the citizens of Bangladesh and Africa who first become victims of ‘messed up priorities’ when Climate Meltdown causes unbearable heat or flooding. But citizens of UK may find themselves unable to source clean energy diverted to electric cars and data centres.

The energy used in our digital consumption is set to have a bigger impact on global warming than the entire aviation industry

I can foresee a city where electric cars for a small elite and mass surveillance and data harvesting are possible to access from renewables but gas is unburnable for essential cooking and heating. Unless we prioritise electric heating infrastructure NOW we are following in the wrong carbon footprints. We are no longer in transition, we are on countdown to zero net carbon.

At a recent meeting on Climate Change, I was lucky to have a long conversation about the hierarchy of energy use with an expert on wind energy. He sent me this this report, prepared jointly by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). It identifies key barriers and highlights policy options to boost renewable energy deployment.

Among the key findings:

  • Renewable energy policies must focus on end-use sectors, not just power generation;
  • The use of renewables for heating and cooling requires greater policy attention, including dedicated targets, technology mandates, financial incentives, generation-based incentives, and carbon or energy taxes;
  • Policies in the transport sector require further development, including integrated policies to decarbonise energy carriers and fuels, vehicles and infrastructure;
  • Policies in the power sector must also evolve further to address new challenges.
  • Measures are needed to support the integration of variable renewable energy, taking into account the specific characteristics of solar and wind power
  • Achieving the energy transition requires holistic policies that consider factors beyond the energy sector itself.

The report provides a comprehensive overview of policy measures available to address such challenges.

The first and second  point is most relevant to my position that we need a hierarchy of energy use for he common good where essential cooking and heating are prioritised.  These represent end-use sectors that are prioritised for quality of life of all citizens, not a selected few.

  • Renewable energy policies must focus on end-use sectors, not just power generation;
  • The use of renewables for heating and cooling requires greater policy attention, including dedicated targets, technology mandates, financial incentives, generation-based incentives, and carbon or energy taxes;

Low occupancy cars must be way down the hierarchy for the common good in London. As must data harvesting, mass surveillance and automation.

  1. We need a hierarchy of energy use for the common good prioritising renewables for essential use like water, food production , cooking and heating and public transport
  2. Rationing of energy use and introducing allowances.
  3. Decarbonisation of heating and cooking. Electrifying boilers and electric cooking appliances

 

 

Road Pricing in London

Road pricing is one tool (within London Mayoral powers) to address the externalities of motor traffic. Cars are a major polluter of the air and water in London. Whether from  particulates generated by brake, tyre and road wear or emissions from the tailpipe.

Motor traffic dominates and consumes large parts of  public space in the city, impeding safe sustainable active travel.  Congestion creates an inefficient and stagnant environment, delaying buses, essential commercial and emergency services. Cars are now the fastest growing contributor to Climate Meltdown. These are but a few of the externalities.

Recent research shows  Air pollution spikes are directly linked to hospitalisation. There have so far been nine high air pollution alerts in London under Sadiq Khan’s Mayoralty.

I have been told it is within Mayoral powers to raise the Congestion Charge on high air pollution days to reduce motor traffic pollution. One wonders why this has not been done immediately, given the serious correlation between air pollution spikes and hospitalisation? Surely that is a moral imperative?

This article describes how children are being hospitalised this Summer because of illegal air pollution. It makes the most visceral case for employing  road charging to save lives and improve public health.

Guddi Singh, a paediatric doctor in London, writes:

‘The cocktail of pollution and pollen in London kills people. Politicians should spend a night on the wards to see the harm.

I sat by (children’s) beds as they writhed, struggling for air, their small bodies wracked with coughs. It is a kind of torture, to fear for your next breath. You can see the sheer terror in the children’s eyes.’

The toxicity charge, introduced by the Mayor in 2017,  has cut the number of polluting vehicles entering Central London by about 1000 per day (Mon-Fri 7am-6pm) but this is simply tinkering in the context of an escalating public health crisis.

At its most basic the Congestion Charge helps make space for desirable road transport. In the Mayor’s Transport strategy 2018 the target of 80% of personal journeys by walking , cycling and public transport requires prioritisation of space for pedestrianisation, wider footways, segregated cycling lanes and priority bus lanes. Janette Sadik Khan has said that road pricing IS a priority bus measure.

Ken LIvingstone understood the strategic importance of the Congestion Charge for thevbuses. When it was introduced in 2003 it was very successful in improving reliability.

Failure by the Mayor to update the Congestion Charge, has not only delayed bus reliability but has made it more difficult for councils to introduce safer walking and cycling schemes. It is imortant to prepare the ground so there is less motor traffic when walking and cycling schemes go in. This makes the transition easier. .

Quick wins would see the current congestion charge hours extended from a third of the week (7am -6pm Mon-Fri) to 24/7. I have written more about this in my blog Private car problem solved in London? Not according to 24/7 data.

Additionally current exemptions could be removed. TFL are currently consulting on removing exemptions for non zero emission capable private hire vehicles like Uber. However this does not address the externalities of congestion from inefficient use of prime road space or particulate air and water pollution from brake tyre and road wear. And Taxis and other polluting motor vehicles are not included in the consultation.

Meanwhile the price of the Congestion Charge could simply be raised to meet a quantified, most desirable and efficient number of motor vehicles on central London streets.

The newly approved Silvertown Tunnel has been sold as a source of road pricing for TFL but a quick look at the  Silvertown Mole blog Silvertown: Another Road To Nowhere? shows that this is fundementally flawed.

The plan is that TfL will toll both the Blackwall and the Silvertown Tunnel but ‘The project expects (at best) to maintain provision for existing levels of heavy motor traffic, and existing levels of pollution. At worst, it’ll enable much more traffic & pollution. And then there’s the pollution & carbon cost of building it.’ And in theory a future Mayor could remove the Silvertown and Blackwall tolls entirely. They’d need to consult the public on the proposal, but it’s an executive decision for the Mayor.’

This begs the question what IS the Mayor of London’s strategy on road pricing? Does he really want to save lives by cutting congestion and air pollution? Does he really want to make walking , cycling and public transport the most accessible options for all Londoners? Does he want to cut greenhouse emissions to mitigate against Climate Meltdown? The Silvertown Tunnel is a road pricing  infrastructure project that has no ambition to cut pollution, emissions and road danger in an already highly polluted part of London.

The Mayor is banking on an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ),  to be introduced in central London from  8 April 2019, to improve air quality. It will replace the current T-Charge. and will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year within the same area as the current Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ). The extension of the hours to 24/7 is good news. However there are  still many exemptions for Taxis, Residents, Private Hire Vehicles and more.

It is worth noting that  the Sivertown Tunnel falls outside this area.

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And then the  promise is that from 25 October 2021, should Sadiq Khan be re-elected, the area will be expanded to the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular roads.

Will this be enough to stop the Mayor’s exposure to litigation from families whose loved ones have lost their lives and their health from illegal air pollution in London? We will have to wait and see?

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Climate Action: Stepping up to the next level

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This week I attended the Under Her Eye summit, a two-day festival of Women and Climate change at the British Library, curated by Invisible Dust.

Unusually, for a summit, all the speakers were women. The title Under Her Eye reverses the ‘under his eye’ big brother approach of The Republic of Gilead in Margaret Atwood’s Climate change dystopia The Handmaid’s Tale.

It was impossible not to be alarmed by the urgent message on climate breakdown and mass extinction in the natural world from the key speakers.

Christiana Figueres (who helped deliver the ground-breaking Paris climate change deal in 2015) said ‘We have exceeded planetary boundaries… ( on climate) … we must swallow an alarm clock…We all now either win or lose together’

Caroline Lucas, Leader of the Green party said ‘we have a 2 second window to address climate change’

Meanwhile Margaret Atwood conjured a desperate image of a citizen burying tins of baked beans and sardines in their back garden and then trying to defend that position.

In the world of a rapidly warming climate, caused by human activity, this image conjures up the desperation that might come if we fail to step it up to the next level. Scarcity of food and water would inevitably lead to resource wars. With the poorest or most vulnerable at the bottom of the food chain.

Darkest of all, was Lisa Autogena’s art work, Untitled (superorganism) which creates a planetary version of the phenomenon of ants commiting suicide by going into a slow ‘spiral of death’.

’There’s a price for blindly following those in front of you. Army ants have a dangerous tendency to commit mass suicide because they are following the leader’.

Christiana Figueres says giving up is ‘irresponsible’. And Caroline Lucas commented that ‘if things don’t change we will go down in history as the species working on its own extinction’.

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Lisa Autogena – Untitled (superorganism)

The speakers at the summit were from a broad range of backgrounds, including scientists, leaders, activists, artists, writers and economists, some offering incredibly inspiring and positive framing of a very dire situation,

However sometimes I felt frustrated with lazy thinking or an almost fairytale belief in technological redemption. Facing a cliff edge IS edgy but we must keep our feet on the ground.

As Margaret Atwood commented ‘Every techno solution has a good side, a bad side and a stupid side we haven’t tbought about yet’.

Declaring a state of emergency

There are rumours that the International Policy Programme on Climate Change (IPCC) will announce in October that we have a decade less to achieve net zero carbon. This means a sharp readjustment of the current trajectory from 2050 down to 2040.

Christiana Figueres’ Mission 2020 has already set a tight peak emission by 2020. However China has seen an unexpected sharp rise in its carbon emissions of 4% in the first 3 months of 2018, compared to 2017. Scaling up renewables is not a panacea if you don’t conserve energy use.

Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a historic high of 32.5 gigatons last year, after three years of being flat, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements – International Energy Agency (IEA)

The evidence is clear, global warming is speeding up…and we are in overshoot. If this further announcement is made by the IPCC, the UK Climate Change Act will need to be reviewed and updated accordingly. We are already not on the right track to meet the 4th climate budget for 2023-27. So stepping up to the next level is inevitable.

I asked Jane Rumble, head of the Polar Regions Department, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, if there was a ready-to-go State of Emergency contingency for runaway Climate Change? We both agreed that there have already been serious climate related floods, droughts and hurricanes. so I wanted to know was what is the tipping point for emergency measures to come into play? She answered cautiously, that it is a political decision.

A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions that it would normally not be permitted. A government can declare such state during a disaster, civil unrest, or armed conflict.

States of emergency can also be used as a rationale or pretext for suspending rights and freedoms guaranteed under a country’s constitution or basic law. The procedure for and legality of doing so vary by country. So bearing that in mind we need to look carefully and cautiously at what a state of emergency might look like, for the common good?

In World war 2 The Emergency Powers (Defence) Act 1939 was emergency legislation passed just prior to the outbreak of World War II by the Parliament of the United Kingdom to enable the British Government to take up emergency powers to prosecute the war effectively

1. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, His Majesty may by Order in Council make such Regulations (in this Act referred to as “Defence Regulations”) as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, the defence of the realm, the maintenance of public order and the efficient prosecution of any war His Majesty may be engaged, and for maintaining supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by the preceding subsection, Defence Regulations may, so far as appears to His Majesty in Council to be necessary or expedient for any of the purposes mentioned in that subsection:-

(a) Make provision for the apprehension, trial, and punishment of persons offending against the Regulations and for the detention of persons whose detention appears to the Secretary of State to be expedient in the interests of the public safety or the defence of the realm;

(b) authorize –

(i) the taking of possession or control, on behalf of His Majesty, of any property or undertaking;
(ii) the acquisition, on behalf of His Majesty, or any property other than land;

(c) authorize the entering and searching of any premises; and

(d) provide for amending any enactment, for suspending the operation of any enactment, and for apply any enactment with or without modification.

I want to make it clear at this point that I do not believe World War 2 is a template for the Environmental disaster we are facing today. This is an unprecedented global disaster and we cannot easily categorise it historically.

However securing public safety and maintaining supplies and services, essential to the life of the community, is an important starting point.

And especially since it was emphasised again and again at the summit that women, children, people on lower incomes and other vulnerable citizens would be most affected by Climate Change.

So I will dig a bit deeper into what a state of emergency might look like, for the common good?

Clean Energy for the common good

There are two sides of the equation when it comes to de-carbonising energy quickly. We need to scale up renewables whilst at the same time rapidly reducing energy use.

We must address both sides of the equation, otherwise its just giving unscrupulous tech corporations like and a licence to burn ‘green’ energy which jeopardises progress on reducing overall greenhouse emissions. Blockchain alone is currently on track to use up all the energy supplied by global solar by 2019.

‘That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce—about 1.8 percent of global electricity, according to a simple extrapolation of the study’s predictions. That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.’

Automation is a high energy user too, when we need to rapidly cut energy use, This waste of precious energy is undermining the ability to de-carbonise essentials like heating, lighting and cooking. This is why we would need a clear hierarchy of desirable uses for renewables, safeguarding clean energy for the common good.

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When we are prioritising energy usage for the common good, it is important to work from the base upwards. Here are my suggestions, (this is the beginning of a conversation rather than a definitive hierarchy) :

  • Pumping drinking water to citizens
  • Transportation of food
  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Lighting
  • Emergency services

 

Investment priorities For the common good

Transport

So 2.5 metres is the standard width of a parking place. And a minimum cycle track of 2.3 metres will move 5.900 people per hour. Where drivers see public space as somewhere to dump their car, when not used for an average 95% of the time, I see a 24/7 cycle track people mover

  • Are roads conduits for safe travel for the many or storage of private property for the few?
  • A tight financial and carbon budget should focus on cycling and walking infrastructure ditching expensive and high carbon road building, HS2, expansion of airports and other high carbon high financial cost projects.
  • Using public space for the benefit of the whole community.
  • Ban petrol and diesel cars, starting with cities and only invest Electric Vehicles for essential vehicles and public transport.
  • Will we see the end of the private car in cities? Yes
  • Will high energy automated electric vehicles replace private cars. No
  • Bicycles, cycles,  cargo bikes for everyone
  • Safe and accessible walking and cycling infrastructure
  • Electric buses and essential vehicles (blue badge, delivery of heavy goods, emergency services)
  • We have a Limited carbon budget. Don’t lock us in to dead-end transport strategy
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Housing

  • Insulation of all homes and buildings
  • Scale up renewables and ensure public localised renewable security for the common good for lighting, heating and cooking
  • Solar lights for everyone
  • Solar cookers for everyone or slow cookers which can run on the energy of a light bulb.
  •  Requisition of empty homes
  • Addressing under-occupation of private dwellings (‘hobby rooms’) The current UK population could be entirely rehoused in empty bedrooms

Jobs transition for the common good

We see Poland struggling to ditch coal, Germany to address dieselgate car manufacturers And even more shockingly the supposedly ‘progressive’ Justin Trudeau has just become the leader of an oil company in Canada

‘Justin Trudeau’s government announced on Tuesday that it would nationalize the Kinder Morgan pipeline running from the tar sands of Alberta to the tidewater of British Columbia. It will fork over at least $4.5bn in Canadian taxpayers’ money for the right to own a 60-year-old pipe that springs leaks regularly, and for the right to push through a second pipeline on the same route – a proposal that has provoked strong opposition’

Some of this may be pure greed but for some politicians the job losses that go with the de-carbonising of the economy need to be tied up with green job transition, retraining and/ or in some cases Basic Income or what I prefer to call Sustainable Income.

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Clean water and air for the common good

  • Plastic ban.
  • 62% of our oxygen is from life in the sea. Kill sea life with and we will not be able to breathe

Food growing for the common good

Requisition of private land for food growing and food security.

Create parklet permits for urban food growing on public land in cities as well as some urban growing on public green spaces

Rationing of consumer goods, services, data, flights etc

Requisitioning private land and using public land for reforestation

 

 

 

 

Are Transport for London keeping a clear and accessible carbon budget alongside the financial budget?

D79E97AF-3D23-42F8-A495-6EB1352A80C2Through the Climate Change Act, the UK government has committed to reduce emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050, thereby contributing to global emission reductions and helping limit global temperature rise to as little as possible above 2°C.

UK emissions were 42% below 1990 levels in 2016. The first carbon budget (2008 to 2012) was met and the UK is currently on track to outperform on the second (2013 to 2017) and third (2018 to 2022). However, it is not on track to meet the fourth (2023 to 2027).

To meet  future carbon budgets and the 80% target for 2050, the UK will need to reduce emissions by at least 3% a year, from now on. This will require the government to apply more challenging measures. The majority of Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions now come from transport. So it is in this context that I want to investigate how London is reducing transport greenhouse gas emissions.

The annual road transport emissions for the Greater London Area (GLA) are projected to be 5,728,930t CO2 in 2030, (London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory 201330 data). According to Donnachadh McCarthy (Eco-auditor) that is about 1.4% of all UK current emissions . However in 2030 it would represent a far higher percentage of the total UK emissions, as other sectors are cut. Road transport in Greater London is seriously inhibiting our ability to reduce UK greenhouse emissions

When deciding whether an infrastructure project or transport policy contributes to or mitigates against global warming, we must compare the amount of energy consumed in producing it (embedded carbon), to the amount of energy used by the vehicles and infrastructure (carbon footprint) For instance, a carbon footprint can be used to express the carbon of running a car, embedded carbon would tell you the carbon footprint of producing a car

Whilst greenhouse emissions are not the whole story, nevertheless it is important to have calculations available to make informed decisions.

I am looking to see if Transport for London is keeping an appropriate carbon budget alongside the financial budget. This means they must hold calculations on projected embedded carbon and the potential carbon footprint of all of the transport projects and policies in The Mayors Transport Strategy.

In their response to my FOI ( TfL Ref: 0013-1819, 2 April 2018), Transport for London seems to have a muddled approach to carbon accounting. Their response is as follows ‘We do not have a carbon budget as such….however our Annual report and statement of accounts, as well as our budget and Business Plans provides some detail of our expenditure on environmentally based initiative’. Obfuscation is not the friend of transparency.

I have also been submitting Freedom of Information requests to Transport for London for the embedded (or embodied) carbon in a wide range of vehicles and infrastructure. Low emission buses, ZEC Taxis, the Elizabeth Line and the Silvertown Tunnel.

In TfL response to FOI Ref: FOI-4721-1718 1 March 2018 I was told no details were kept at TFL on the embedded carbon of ZEC Taxis and Low emission buses. I was very surprised. Surely TFL needs to know, for instance, what is the embedded carbon of 9,000 new ZEC Taxis by 2020, which the Mayor had committed to?

However I was successful in obtaining  projected embedded carbon calculations for the Silvertown Tunnel proposals,  held in the ‘Energy and Carbon Statement’  (FOI to TfL Ref: 0013-1819 on 2 April 2018 )

The document states that a total of 153,279 tonnes of CO2 would be generated by the construction of the Silvertown Scheme. To put that in perspective, Donnachadh McCarthy says that is the equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of about 50,000 homes.

It also reveals the baseline energy consumption of the Silvertown tunnel would be 1,827 annual carbon emissions (tonnes CO2), mostly consumed by lighting.

And that extra traffic emissions over a four year period, (generated by the Scheme based on the traffic using the tunnel) is a total of 92,000 additional tonnes of CO2 .No mention is made of induced demand.

For the individual, the most interesting number is the personal carbon budget (that is the combined emissions from personal spending on housing, travel, food, products and services).  The personal carbon budget needs to fall by almost a tonne each decade, beginning at 5 t in 2010 and dropping to 1.5 t by 2050.

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Given that average personal emissions in 2010 were around 5 tonnes per person reducing them to 1.5 tonnes by 2050 is very ambitious.  Yet this is exactly the sort of reduction the science dictates we must make in order to keep warming this century below 2°C (3.6°F)

The personal and the strategic are equally important. I noticed in the draft London Plan that transport infrastructure projects are graded as low, medium and high cost. Why do we not have a similar grading of projects as low, medium and high carbon cost? We urgently need a carbon budget alongside the financial budget.

Copenhagen: An Emancipation For women

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Cycling with Aliki of Bystrup

When I planned my trip to Copenhagen in late March, I was anticipating the first rays of spring sunshine. Unfortunately the beast from the east was still lingering over Europe and the wind chill was -10 and with snow.

What surprised me was the upbeat mood in the city. It was as cold as it ever gets in London, but the streets were buzzing with men and women cycling. At evening rush hour the main cycling lane on Norrebrogade was accompanied by chirpy chatter, a social life on wheels that drifted through the city. I could see that properly protected cycle lanes can be both social and transport infrastructure.

Cycling outfits, designed for both warmth and style, were very much part of the cultural engagement. Not a faceless sea of fluorescent high vis and helmets, but individuality, fun and creativity. The Danes have style and like the Japanese, it is something that imbues the everyday (even the most challenging everyday) with meaning, beauty, poetry and fun.

Building Bridges Copenhagen to London

I was primarily in Copenhagen to look at the Cycling bridges. The Danish architecture and engineering practice Bystrup, together with Robin Snell Architects, have been commissioned to build the walking and cycling Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge. We don’t currently have any cycling and walking bridges in London, so I was interested to see what a walking and cycling bridge looks and feels like.

The proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge, included in the Mayor’s Transport strategy, is a vital piece of infrastructure, along this part of the river Thames. It is the longest stretch of riverside in central London without a crossing point. According to a Transport for London feasibility study, the project would pay for itself twice over in terms of reduced journey times and other benefits.

The winning bridge design features a slender structure with spiralling ramps at both ends, the aim is to create a ‘seamless crossing’ with single spire masts and an “elegant” winding deck. The design celebrates the river and aspires to create a thing of real beauty.

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Nine Elms to Pimlico Bridge

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I had met Henrik Skuboe (of Bystrup Architecture, Design and Engineering) at a presentation of the bridge in London. Henrik and his colleagues Elisabeth and Aliki  kindly organised a cycle tour in Copenhagen, taking a very scenic route around the cycling bridges and other infrastructure.

We met at the new ‘Kissing Bridge’ (Kyssebroen) at Nyhavn, recently opened in 2017. The bridge is 180 meters long and eight meters wide and is one of three inner harbor bridges that allows pedestrians and cyclists a quick and direct route from Nyhavn to the canals of Christianshavn and beyond. The funky coloured glass adds a turquoise and yellow tint to the deep inky blue of the Baltic sea. There has been some criticism that the Bridge is too angular for the natural flow of cycling but it certainly does create the wow factor.

 

Another funky bridge on our tour was the bridge designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson The Cirkelbroen (Circle Bridge) spans a Copenhagen canal and features a series of wire masts, based on ships’ rigging. The 40-metre-long cycling and footbridge is made from five interconnected circular platforms, where visitors are invited to rest and take in the view.

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The Cirkelbroen (Circle Bridge)

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The Circle Bridge ship-like design

We also took in a walking and cycling bridge, designed by Bystrup, which crosses the railway. Thd Langeliniebroen (Langeliniebridge) is approximately 180 metre long and at 7,5 metre wide, is very similar to the proposed Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge. It has no dividing central reservation between walking and cycling but that seems to work well in this environment. And it makes it accessible for emergency services.

Cycling bridges are a central and cultural focus for the cycling infrastructure in Copenhagen. They provide practical connectivity across the watery natural infrastructure of the city, but again embrace beauty and fun design. And of course this is dedicated traffic-free infrastructure, tailored to active travel.  It made me feel like the red carpet had been rolled out for cycling.  And it was liberating!

Priority walking and cycling

Whilst we were on our cycle tour, Henrik told me that every major street in Copenhagen is priority pedestrian and cycling. This is a crucial policy that makes the streets feel far safer than London. Motor vehicles give way to pedestrians and cyclists, in a way we never see on the streets of London.

Contrast this is the current attitude of Transport for London to safety:

‘Katherine Abraham, a project manager at TfL, said that 14 people had been injured at a crossroads on Euston Road in the past three years. She said pedestrian safety was “very much up their within our priorities” but added that Euston Road “keeps the London economy going” and this has to be balanced against making it safe?’

‘Keeping the economy going’ at the expense of safety is completely unacceptable. TFL consistently discriminates against people who walk and cycle, who are very much part of London and its economy. This is a key reason why we have hostile streets. Until recently TFL did not even include pedestrians and cyclists in its traffic modelling software.

Meanwhile in Copenhagen, city surveys aim to qualify the experience of pedestrians and cyclists, not just raw data. The city really cares about its citizens health and well-being, as an integral part of a successful economy.

Another ground-breaking way that Copenhagen prioritises cycling is the ‘Green wave’. Rather than prioritising motor traffic flow, lights are phased to give the cyclists going to or coming home from work a wave of green lights. A secondary aim is to calm the cycling to a safe speed.  There is no advantage to cycling at high speed but an advantage to maintaining a consistant healthy speed of 20km/h. This could also be incorporated into the Nine Elms to Pimlico bridge with clever LED lights embedded into the surface of the bridge that are connected to green traffic light phasing.

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3 metre wide protected cycle lane on Princess Louise Bridge

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Cycling and walking side by side

In Copenhagen, walking hand in hand or cycling side by side or even walking side by cycling is enjoyable and part of the social life of the city. Well designed, consistent, generous, intuitive and traffic-free protected cycle lanes and connected bridges make this possible.

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Out and about with Pernille Bussone and Cycling without Age, making cycling available to all ages and abilities in Copenhagen

Centenary of female emancipation 1918-2018

In 2018 we are celebrating 100 years since women won the right to vote in UK and Ireland. In  Denmark they celebrated that centenary in 2015. Again they are ahead of us in recognising the rights of women.

We need a timely re-evaluation of how women take up space in London, Are Transport for London, The Mayor of London and local councils taking their Equality Act obligations seriously when making decisions on vital active travel transport ? Where is the gender parity in cycling? A good measure of a civilised society is how we treat women. What does that equality of public space look like?

What I saw in Copenhagen was an emancipation of women. When women are not cowed at the margins of public space but are given quality space to cycle and walk, without being intimidated by motor vehicles, they own that space and it is more vibrant and happy.

Contrast that with this tweet

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In London the stress and pressure to compete with motor vehicles, marginalises women. This is why we see such low female cycling participation. The stats speak volumes 29% of women cycle in London compared to 71% of men. In Copenhagen it is 55/45 in favour of women.

London was once a visionary place for female emancipation, but we have forgotten half of its population. In 2016, Sadiq Khan told The Evening Standard that ‘I don’t let my daughters cycle in London because of concerns over a lack of safety. He told of his fears of Anisah, 16, and Ammarah, 14, being injured as he pledged to make it “easier and safer” to cycle in the capital.’ I would like to ask him, will his daughters be safe to cycle in London by 2020?

 Show me where there are women and young female adults cycling and I will show you emancipation. Historically women cycling was thought to be a symbolic threat to the established order. Early female adopters in the 1880s were mocked in the press and even had stones thrown at them.
Today Women cycling on London’s roads are still on the receiving end of ‘punishment’ for daring to take up space on the public highway. From the ‘punishment pass’ to the show-off speeding, to the impatient ‘Old men in limos’.

And then we have all experienced reckless White Van man, beligerent Taxi drivers, selfish Uber drivers and the arrogant roar of speeding motorcyclists. These mostly male drivers elbow their way through London in a most ungentlemanly way. And according to research by Rachel Aldred, women cycling are far more sensitive to bad driving or dangerous routes than men.

The sad reality is that for many drivers women are at the bottom of the food chain. Slower average speeds of female cycling make them a target for drivers of motor vehicles who have a ‘need for speed’.

London cycle superhighways look like a peloton

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Hi-vis fluorescent peloton

Recently a male cycling campaigner in London celebrated on twitter that the Cycle Superhighways looked like a peloton. May I remind him and his fellow strava racers that this is not a sporting event. We don’t want to join a fluorescent high-vis peloton. We want to ride along side by side, not try and keep up with the pack.

As Copenhagenize advocates “dress for your destination, not your journey”.

So roll out the protected cycling carpet and make space for cycling for women as well as men….

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Barcelona the walking city

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Rambla del Poblenou

Barcelona is blessed with amazing natural infrastructure. Backed by mountains, flanked by two rivers and with a horizon stretching across the blue sea of the Mediterranean.

My wonderful guide Carlos Orti of Barcelona Camina , took me up to the mountains by funicular train for a strategic view across the city.

Here we found locals picking the tender stems of wild asparagus. Whilst the foragers were picking out the hard to spot delicate green shoots of spring, we were picking out the crucial points of infrastructure in the city

In the late 19th century, the ancient city walls, (which were creating a cauldron of disease), were demolished and Eixample or ‘Expansion’ was built between the old city and the surrounding small towns of Sants, Gràcia, Sant Andreu etc.

Ildefons Cerdà was the visionary, pioneering Catalan urban planner whose street layout is characterised by long straight streets, a strict grid pattern crossed by wide avenues, and octagonal city blocks. Cerdà, considered traffic and transport along with sunlight and ventilation in coming up with his characteristic octagonal blocks. I was told that the street design was to have facilitated a tram network.

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The core idea was that the city should breathe and the growing population could be spread out equally, as well as providing green spaces within each block.

Unfortunately Cerdà had not anticipated that the streets would become polluted and congested with cars and motorcycles. The wide avenues became one way motor traffic dominated speed drags. Random parking of motorcycles and cars blocked the safe passage of pedestrians and cyclists.

Les Superilles or ‘Superblocks’

Barcelona has been working hard to reverse this trend for the last ten years, improving pedestrian spaces, making walking a desirable and healthy alternative to car use. The metro is well designed and intutive and is undergoing expansion. There is also a well connected train and bus network.

The next phase is the so called Superilles or ‘Superblocks’ which aims to make secondary streets into ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community’.  In such a densely populated City with a notable absence of green space, this will create vital greening as well as quality public space.

Ada Colau, the current Mayor of Barcelona, aims to reduce car use by 21% within her Mayoralty and increase mobility by foot, bike and public transport. The new Superilles or ‘Superblocks’ will be complemented by the introduction of 300km of new cycling lanes.

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“It’s no surprise that this concept was born here,” said  Mercedes Vidal, Councillor for Mobility,  “In a city as dense as ours, it’s all the more necessary to re-conquer spaces.” If all goes as planned, around seven of the 13.8 million sq metres now dedicated to motorised traffic will be freed up.

Everywhere I went I found creative innovation, experimentation and purposeful redesign to make the city better for street life. I have never seen so many street configurations. It really is an experimental laboratory for Urban Design. I personally walked and walked for kilometres, inspired by the imaginative approach to urban design.

Walking in the city is enabled by phased lights that automatically work for pedestrians. Not a pedestrian green wave but still a sense that there is no advantage for the motor vehicle. There are pedestrian crossings at every junction, no need to run for your life. The crossings are consistant and reliable.

I was staying in Poblenou where the new Superilla was making waves. Local resident and Urban Mobility expert Silvia Cassoran had received threats for her support of the superilla. One local car dealer seemed to be leading dissent. However, on the ground. I saw free range kids, families and locals enjoying the new car-free spaces.

In densely populated areas of inner city London, reclaiming public space would benefit local residents. The London Boroughs of Islington and Tower Hamlets are very densely populated, with scarce green spaces. Reclaiming streets as ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community’ would increase social cohesion, greening and quality of life.

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Superilla in Poblenou

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Imaginative street art

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Free range kids

Every Superilla will be designed to compliment the surrounding streets, Carlos told me. There is not a fixed ‘superilla’ blueprint. Every area is considered separately to reflect local needs.

The latest Superilla, currenly under construction, is around the historic food market of Sant Antoni. It made me think of how the streets around The Borough food market and Smithfield would benefit from similar redesign.

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Sant Antoni superilla

The Ramblas

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Rambla del Poblenou

The Ramblas were also something of a revelation for me. This is old infrastructure but they are very popular centres of street life in Barcelona. I walked the 1.3km of La Rambla from Plaça de Catalunya down to the sea. But what surprised me was how many streets in Barcelona had Ramblas. These are central kerb raised pedestrian areas flanked by two narrow service roads with pavements adjoined to the shops and restaurants that line the street.

The campaigners at Barcelona Camina told me that the course of Las Ramblas was originally a sewage-filled stream-bed, usually dry but an important drain for the heavy rainwater flowing from the Collserola hills.. Many of the other Ramblas in Barcelona fulfill the same purpose. This may  be the reason that Barcelona has managed to stop cars from encroaching on this quality public space. Pedestrians are centre stage in this street configuration.  I feel this design would benefit many high streets in London.

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La Rambla

The Diagonal

Running across the city in a diagonal is the aptly named Avinguda Diagonal. There were two diagonal streets proposed in Cerda’s original design but this is the only one that was completed. Like Paris’ Champs Elysees and Copenhagen’s Aboulevarden, this is an eight lane motor vehicle monstrosity that cuts right through the heart of the city.

There was much discussion and political debate about the two trams that currently stop abruptly at either side of the City Centre on the Diagonal. Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, naturally wants to connect the two sides, making the tram a viable and efficient service for those in the Municipalities as well as those living in the city.

Political point scoring was disrupting this obvious and vital transport project. It was sad to see how tribal politics can  block vital sustainable transport that would benefit all citizens. Air quality is not surprisingly very poor around eight lanes of motor traffic. The roar is deafening and parents try and send their children to schools uphill to avoid exposure.

Replacing motor traffic with an electrified tram would cut down on traffic congestion and air pollution and make the case for a much needed road diet. Reallocating space to protected cycle lanes is already happening, but the current lanes on the Diagonal are exposed to the worst of the pollution, by being positioned in the middle of the road.

Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes

With a new metro under construction, an opportunity has arisen to redesign a large swathe of previously car dominated space surrounding the Diagonal in Central Barcelona. I found these urban growing spaces right in  the heart of the city. Together with fun paint and experimental urban design, this is a place to watch as it  develops. It is a a creative opportunity to radically re-imagine the centre of a city.

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Placa de les Glories Catalanes

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Food growing in the heart of the city

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Cycling infrastructure and culture

Luis Invader of @CBinvaders is a local activist (with an important mission to keep motorcycles out of bike lanes). He kindly lent me his bike and took me on a tour of the ‘good’ and the ‘ugly’ cycling infrastructure.

The next day we joined a ‘cycling safari’ with Mercedes Vidal  Mobility Councillor, to see the latest cycling infrastructure. I certainly felt that there was more of a sense of a joined up network of protected lanes than London. The cycle lanes are not as consistant or intuitive as Copenhagen but building up a cycling network is helping to create a groundswell of new cyclists.

There are also many similarities with London.  The Mayor of Barcelona understands the need to to balance cycling infrastructure with a strong demand for walking.

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A protected cycle lane separates cyclists from a priority bus lane 

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Checking out the cycling infrastructure with cycling activist Luis Invader @CBinvaders

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A Taxi rank protects a cycling lane

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Cycling safari with Mercedes Vidal, Silvia Cassoran and Luis

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Some great cycling infrastructure but this was a bizarre bidirectional confection (Every permutation needing to be accounted for)

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With Biciclot Co op and Carlos Orti at Bici Hub

Bici Hub

Even Mikael Colville-Anderson of Copenhagenize lusts after this  dedicated cycling hub in Barcelona. They currently don’t have a dedicated building for cycling in Copenhagen.

Teaching Cycle maintenance and repair, holding events and cultural activities as well as joining up with other sustainable transport campaigners is their mission. This is supported as an independent cycling facility by the Mayor Ada Colau..

Motorbikes

265,000 motorcycles blight the city. Whether blocking pavements, encroaching on cycle lanes where families with small children are cycling  or speeding with a roar of arrogance. Electric bicycles would make an ideal replacement, well suited to the hillside terrain whilst being more civilised, space effcient and not belching out toxic airpollution.

What can London learn from Barcelona?

  • How to create quality public space
  • Promoting street life
  • Prioritising  pedestrians and cyclists
  • Taking a creative, experimental. innovative approach to street design
  • Wide range of street configuations
  • Reclaiming public space street by street
  • We need a dedicated cycling hub for sustainable transport like this one in Barcelona
  • Joining up with European campaign groups like Barcelona Camina, Catalunya Camina, Bici Co op and Espana Andando to lobby the European Union for sustainable transport funding.
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With the 3 presidents of Barcelona Camina, Catalunya Camina and Espana Andando

 

 

 

 

What are embedded carbon emissions? And how can citizens ensure that politicians are investing our limited carbon budget wisely?

What are embedded or embodied emissions?

Embedded emissions is a broad term used to describe the range of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions associated with the production of a product (or an infrastructure project).

For instance, whilst a carbon footprint can be used to express the carbon of running a car, embodied carbon would tell you the carbon footprint of producing a  car

Embodied carbon calculations therefore require an understanding of all of the materials, or ingredients, within a product or project, and all activities related to those materials, such as processing and transport.

When deciding whether an infrastructure project or transport policy contributes to or mitigates against global warming, we must compare the amount of energy used by the vehicles and infrastructure to the amount of energy consumed in producing it.

Embodied energy is an accounting method which aims to find the sum total of the energy necessary for an entire product life-cycle. Determining what constitutes this life-cycle includes assessing the relevance and extent of energy into raw material extraction, transport, manufacture, assembly, installation, disassembly, deconstruction and/or decomposition as well as human and secondary resources.

This graphic by Dr Elliot Fishman represents the carbon footprint of various modes of transport. But it also illustrates how the top of the range electric vehicle, run on ‘green power’, has been given the same carbon ranking as walking and cycling . This is how we have been sold the ‘zero-emission’ myth of electric vehicles. No account has been taken of the embodied greenhouse emissions in the production of the vehicle. This is an anomaly that needs to be rectified..

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Why is this important?

In 2017 the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported that we are not on the right trajectory to hit carbon targets. This means we will need to reach peak emissions by 2020 and close the emissions gap by 2030,

This graphic shows how the longer we continue to put off change, the more extreme policy will need to be in the future.

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The absolute imperative is to cut energy use at the same time as switching to renewables. At present we are significantly behind the curve and worryingly greenhouse gases actually increased in 2017.

As the squeeze on the carbon budget becomes tighter, we must scrutinise and prioritise policy and infrastructure that will help us reduce energy use quickly. We must align to the facts, not what is convenient.

Upfront investment in producing infrastructure and vehicles is the most immediate and often the largest part of the carbon expenditure. This is why I want to know how the Mayor of London and Transport for London are accounting for all greenhouse emissions in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

I will be submitting Freedom of information (FOI) requests for embedded carbon emissions in a wide range of infrastructure projects such as The Elizabeth Line and the Silvertown Tunnel. As well as vehicles such as ZEC Taxis and Low emission buses. I look forward to updating you on my progress.

 

My response to the draft London Plan

Dear Mayor of London,

 

I welcome the new London Plan emphasis on Good Growth; of a healthy, inclusive city and its determination to limit unsustainable modes of transport.  I support

GG3 1.3.4 The Healthy Streets Approach outlined in this plan. This puts improving health and reducing health inequalities at the heart of planning London’s public space. It will tackle London’s inactivity crisis, improve air quality and reduce the other health impacts of living in a car-dominated city by planning street networks that work well for people on foot and on bikes, and providing public transport networks that are attractive alternatives to car use. It will also ensure that streets become more social spaces.

 GG5 I support the aim of maximising London’s existing and future public transport; its walking and cycling network, as well as its network of town centres, to support agglomeration and economic activity.

 GG2 I welcome the policy of encouraging densification around major transport interchange points.
 

Where I feel the draft London Plan is not robust or ambitious in its objectives:

Road Pricing

T2 Road pricing: existing schemes reviewed – 2018-2020
 This must be more specific. Road pricing must include Taxis, PHVs and remove exemptions, all motor vehicles cause congestion. The hours of the Congestion Charge need to be extended to 24/7. And the price needs to be raised.
Road pricing: next generation charging (subject to further assessment) – 2022-2041
This need to be prioritised and ASAP.  The time frame is not ambitious enough.

 Parking

The car parking standards for outer London (policies T6.1, T6.2 and T6.3) seem unnecessarily generous and difficult to reconcile with the welcome objective of increasing to 80% the proportion of journeys to be made by sustainable modes of transport. We already have 6.8 million parking spaces taking up more than 78.5 km sq. We cannot afford to allocate any more precious floor space or land to this economically illiterate use of prime space. Carfree development must cover the whole of Greater London not just CAZ.
I support Policy T6.1  F. The provision of car parking should not be a reason for reducing the level of affordable housing in a proposed development. [But the definition of affordable housing must be clear. This is a loophole and needs to be more robust. Social housing must be clearly defined and not open to loopholes.]
Policy T6.1 makes the crucial point that car parking diminishes the ability to make full economic and socially inclusive use of prime space. Residential car lots and spaces make individual units less and less affordable for tenants. They also result in fewer units as a whole, meaning the supply of housing across the city is reduced. That too hikes up rents over time, as Boroughs run out of sites to develop
Table-10-3 in the draft London Plan sets out maximum parking provision for residential units, based on PTAL. Whilst I support CAZ being car-free, parts of inner London and Outer London PTAL have maximum car parking of between 0.25-1.5 per unit. If the Mayor achieves the increase from 29,000 homes a year to 66,000 per year, we can anticipate a significant rise in the number of car parking spaces in London.
This runs totally counter to the Mayors ambition to reduce car dependency. And how much potential housing and office floor space will be lost to more car storage? We must have NO more car parking in London. We need clear reductions in parking and car infrastructure to facilitate maximum usage of prime land for housing.
Conversely, the minimum cycle parking standards (Policy T5 and Table 10.2) are insufficient to drive “the ambitious aim to reduce Londoners’ dependency on cars”. Additionally we must supply  60,000 ambient cycle parking in the London Plan. This will facilitate a wide range of cycling trips.
Cycling CTAL replacing PTAL would increase access to public transport through cycling infrastructure. This is laid out on Page 40, 41, 42 of The Strategic Cycling Analysis Such an approach would unlock carfree development throughout Greater London. CTAL cycling infrastructure must compliment PTAL to open up areas throughout Greater London to car-free development.

 Cycling infrastructure

Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy must contribute funding to appropriate CTAL cycling infrastructure.
Licensing of pedicabs and emerging cycling taxi apps must be included as vital sustainable transport for ‘Good Growth’ Dedicated pedicab ranks at major interchanges must be provided in the London Plan.
I support all proposed walking and cycling bridges Rotherhithe, Nine Elms to Pimlico and would like these to be prioritised.
I do not support Silvertown Tunnel. We must not build new roads which induce more motor traffic use.
 The London Plan must include dedicated play streets across London.

Aviation

 I welcome the Mayor’s stance on Heathrow (policy T8D).  But am opposed to any expansion of airport capacity in the south-east including City Airport and Gatwick and believe that all journeys over land should be made by rail rather than air.

Housing

I believe using open green space for housing is unnecessary and counter to the ‘Good growth’ aim. Gardens are vital for biodiversity, Healthy soils store carbon and mitigate flash flooding. I support densification of the Outer boroughs but within their current footprint. We must not lose small green spaces and back gardens when car parking has such a high footprint.(6.8 million car parking spaces in London taking up a minimum of 78.5 km sq).
Under occupation of dwellings shows where densification is possible. Car Parks and car infrastructure like garages must be the first to be developed for housing.

Water and light

Water consumption must be addressed with more robust policies in the London Plan. Londoners are using 170 litres per day when the UK average is 140 litres. Cape Town is now down to 50 litres per person per day and still running dry. London is one of the 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water
Access to sunlight must be embedded in the London Plan. Food growing which needs sun must be available to all Londoners. The sun is also vital for vitamin D and mental and physical wellbeing.
Solar must be integral to all new development.

Food

POLICY 4.8.e I support the range of London’s markets, including street, farmers’ and, where relevant, strategic markets, complementing other measures to improve their management, enhance their offer and contribute to the vitality of town centres. This must be broadened to develop the relationship between Londoners and the local food growers outside London. Helping with picking and building cultural exchanges.This is important for food security, health and well being.

Automation and tech

 Automation is a high energy user. The rush to automation cannot reduce our energy consumption sufficiently to meet the climate targets set by the Paris agreement.We must prioritise low energy, carbon efficient strategy.

The London plan must be worded in such a way that ‘takeover from the inside’ by tech corporations is not possible. WAZE is owned by google. Transport for London and the London Assembly must be wary of ‘free’ services.

Algorithmic transparency must be embedded in the London plan so that citizens can democratically scrutinise decision making. A bill was recently passed in New York so that the city’s ‘automated decision systems’ are fairer and more open to scrutiny. The bill would require the city to make public the computer instructions that are used, invisibly, in all kinds of government decision-making.
I would would also like all Section 106 to be held separately and independently. The London Ramblers have noticed that Section 106 are going missing and public access originally granted can be denied without documented evidence. This is effectively ‘land grab’.