6 December 2022
BCP Green Councillor Chris Rigby spoke at the BCP Council meeting on 5th December 2022, to challenge BCP's ruling local Conservatives for watering down "Decarbonising Transport" local targets recommended by their own Government.
The slim Conservative majority of BCP councillors voted against accepting the recommended 50% target for local journeys by active travel (walking or cycling), amending it to a 50% target for journeys involving active travel or public transport. 40% of journeys are already made in this way, making it a weak target, Cllr Rigby argued.
This is a transcript of Cllr Rigby's speech to Council:
"I was going to stand up and say I didn't think this was going far enough. But now I'm gonna have to try and defend this Conservative Government paper, aren't I, against [BCP] Conservatives saying that they shouldn't, or don't think it's achievable - which I find a bit strange, but I'll give it a go, right? [laughs]
"Listen, there's this talk isn't there - it's always like, oh there's car drivers here, there's people who walk and cycle here. We're all the same. Most people drive cars, most people walk somewhere, most people cycle somewhere. It's talking about 50% of journeys. This is about creating somewhere where people feel safe to go out and walk, where the pavements are looked after, you're not going to trip up because they're in a bad state of repair, because they've not been looked at for 20, 30 years. Where you've got cycle infrastructure, which is linking up making people feel safe. If everyone could walk their child or have their child cycle to school, and it's within 5 or 10 minutes, isn't that a great thing? Isn't that something we should really be pushing for?
"I mean, this is what we want. Your own catchy three word slogan is "cleaner, greener, safer". That is what this achieves: something which is cleaner, greener and safer. Safer for people who are using the streets, safer for people who are scooting, cycling, walking. We want cyclists not on pavements, we want them to use the roads, we want them to use cycle paths, we want them to use them properly. And creating this infrastructure is what this is all about.
"Just here in this document, it says the Government are looking to invest £2 billion over five years to deliver this 'bold future vision for cycling and walking, making it the natural first choice for many journeys'. Of course it should be. You should be able to walk out your door and feel happy and safe and comfortable to walk somewhere. Not walk out and think oh, where's my car, I've left it because there's no parking on your street anyway. So you've got to walk to find your car to start with - you might as well walk on the rest of your journey. This is what it's about - it's delivering a way in which you can make these journeys easier, and make people think yeah, that's the best option for me right now. It's not forcing someone - it's not a stick. It's saying, isn't this great if we can all do it together and get what we need, and get it easily. That's it. Thank you."