Green councillors are calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to adopt more creative and cost-effective approaches to increasing cycling in the city, in order to improve health, reduce traffic and cut deadly vehicle emissions. This follows a report from Public Health England which estimated that exhaust emissions result in 175 premature deaths in Brighton and Hove each year .
Greens stress that these major health impacts can only be addressed by cutting vehicle use and promoting cleaner forms of transport such as cycling in the city, and urge the Council administration to ensure that no-one is deterred from cycling by lack of basic facilities.
Green Councillor Pete West, has therefore written to the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee which meets this week, requesting that the council introduce additional cycle parking, and with fellow green Councillor Louisa Greenbaum has proposed a motion for the Council to sign up to the Space for Cycling campaign, which would lead to greater investment in cycling infrastructure .
The national Space for Cycling campaign states that it “aims to create the conditions where anyone can cycle anywhere”. Signing up to the campaign involves committing to a series of principles from protected spaces on main roads to lower speed limits and removing through traffic in residential areas, which aim to make cycling safer and more attractive.
Greens note the well documented benefits of cycling, and argue that many European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen have embraced cycling culture in a way which puts cities like Brighton and Hove to shame. Councillor West says much was done during the previous Green administration to invest in cycling, including developing a high quality cycle lane network in areas such as Lewes Road, Old Shoreham Road and Edward Street, introducing cycle hubs at stations as well as a shared bike scheme, but far more needs to be done to improve the uptake of cycling in the city.
Councillor West Said:
“With more people choosing to cycle, provision of cycle parking is failing to keep up with rising demand. I believe the difficulty now experienced parking a bike is impacting on the attractiveness of cycling, making it harder to access services such as shops, cafes and restaurants which in turn will be losing out on custom.
“While I recognise the huge funding challenge facing the city, this is not the time to stop investing in cycling. Increasing the number of cyclists could have a massive impact on vehicle emissions, air quality, and traffic, and could dramatically improve people’s health and well-being. These improvements will all save money in the long run and will give us a cleaner, less congested city.
“There are ways to make cycling investment pay for itself, by ensuring cycle improvements under the grant-funded Brighton and Hove Bike Share scheme benefit cyclists across the city, and by exploring the possibility for greater business sponsorship of cycle parking spaces. That’s why I’m asking fellow Councillors to explore how we as a city can improve cycling infrastructure, to make cycling the best choice for getting around the city.
 Brighton & Hove City Council Air Quality Action Plan: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgConvert2Pdf.aspx?ID=19139&T=9
 Motion & Letter to committee: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=823&MId=5630&Ver=4