Herts Council are consulting on their plans for a new transport strategy for transport improvements and investment in Welwyn Hatfield, Hertsmere and St Albans, in line with forecast development to 2031. This is important for those of us who cycle between LB Barnet and Hertfordshire and our Campaign Group has sent in the following response:
For anyone with concerns about traffic using Barnet’s residential streets as short cuts, the debate over the Low Traffic Neighbourhood plan for the Fox Lane area in Enfield is both relevant and enlightening. Many residents in the affected area want to benefit from the improved safety, lower air and noise pollution and opportunities for walking and cycling that a significant reduction in traffic volume would bring.
Others claim that surrounding roads wont cope and all that’s needed are speed humps and 20 mph signs. Anyone who believes that should visit Waltham Forest, or just spend a few minutes viewing this film of the best place in the world to cycle https://vimeo.com/76207227
It’s clear that changing the thinking, that spreading through traffic around a grid of streets is better than keeping it on main roads, is challenging. Smartphone Apps like Waze, which provide instant routing changes to avoid traffic, encourage this spreading onto residential streets. It leads to a viscous circle with locals using cars for short journeys, as they feel safer driving than cycling or walking.
Modern housing developments are often designed as ‘cells’ with a single way in and out for traffic, but grids of streets laid out in Edwardian times can be hard to convert. Enfield Council has proposed one design of road closures and bus gates, while Fox Lane residents have now come up with a revised approach. We look forward to seeing what happens when the trial scheme is in place. Read more at Better Streets for Enfield.
Under the plans, this large network of residential streets between Southgate Green, Bourne Hill and Green Lanes with have 18 road closures (except cycles), 2 of which will be bus gates. The bus gate on Fox Lane will divide the area into two cells, each having just one entry point for motor vehicles.
The local campaign group thinks reducing those car journeys to a few hundred (mainly residents’ vehicles entering/exiting the area) will be transformational. They expect fewer collisions, less speeding, a stronger sense of community, and a big rise in all-age walking and cycling, especially on the school run. Read more…
This week Enfield Council announced plans to create “low traffic neighbourhoods” (LTNs) throughout the borough. “The ambition of the Council is to adopt a ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhood’ approach, where ‘through’ motor vehicle traffic is discouraged or removed.”
This is good news for Enfield and something that Barnet
should be doing.
We congratulate Better Streets for Enfield, whose top
campaign ask is to see a low traffic neighbourhood in every ward, preventing
through motor traffic from cutting through residential areas and prioritising
active travel and residents’ well being over car journeys.
While Enfield’s “Mini Holland” funding from the Mayor has
led to miles of new cycle infrastructure, so far not a single road has been
closed to through motor traffic. Enfield has experimented with measures like
width restrictions, which the council found was ineffective in reducing traffic
speed and volume. Meanwhile in the neighbouring Mini Holland borough of Waltham
Forest, 40 roads have been closed to rat running drivers since 2014, leading to
a significant rise in walking and cycling and a drop in short car journeys and
Low traffic neighbourhoods will transform Enfield’s streets.
The public health benefits – encouraging more all-age active travel, reducing
air pollution and strengthening communities – can’t be overstated. LTNs are also
an important tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Which neighbourhoods will be low in traffic?
According to the Cycle Enfield website, the first phase will address three areas: those surrounding Fox Lane N13, Connaught Gardens N13 and Fernleigh Gardens N21. The maps on the website suggest that the areas will be treated as a whole and through traffic kept on surrounding main roads.
A second phase will focus on the Bowes Park area, where
Better Streets has long supported a local campaign for a low traffic
neighbourhood; and the areas surrounding Bush Hill Road and Firs Lane.
A third phase will look at neighbourhoods east of the
A1010/Hertford Road and Fore Street in Edmonton and areas surrounding the
Hertford Road north of Ponders End. These larger areas will be divided into
smaller sub-areas for LTN treatment.
Last Friday, a group of Enfield residents went on a tour of Waltham Forest’s low traffic neighbourhoods, to see what they could learn for their own area. What they found, on a lovely sunny June day, was a paradise for pedestrians, on a network of streets full of greenery where walkers have priority over traffic.
With them were four Enfield councillors and their tour guides were Walthamstow residents Paul Gasson and Dan Kelly, who have worked closely with Waltham Forest council to shape their ‘Mini Holland’ scheme.
British scientists do the maths and find that we come up short for cobalt, lithium and copper.
The UK Committee on Climate Change report received criticism that it was too much business as usual, particularly with its suggestion that electric cars could replace all the ICE (internal combustion engine) powered cars in the UK, and its lack of interest in alternatives.
Now, a letter from the Natural History Museum’s head of Earth Sciences, Professor Richard Herrington, along with other experts, points out the scale of the problem of building so many electric cars. They calculate that, even with the most efficient batteries available, full electrification of the auto fleet by 2035 would need a lot more mining.
The worldwide impact: If this analysis is extrapolated to the currently projected estimate of two billion cars worldwide, based on 2018 figures, annual production would have to increase for neodymium and dysprosium by 70%, copper output would need to more than double and cobalt output would need to increase at least three and a half times for the entire period from now until 2050 to satisfy the demand.
It would also take a lot of energy to make these cars:
Energy costs for cobalt production are estimated at 7000-8000 kWh for every tonne of metal produced and for copper 9000 kWh/t. The rare-earth energy costs are at least 3350 kWh/t, so for the target of all 31.5 million cars that requires 22.5 TWh of power to produce the new metals for the UK fleet, amounting to 6% of the UK’s current annual electrical usage. Extrapolated to 2 billion cars worldwide, the energy demand for extracting and processing the metals is almost 4 times the total annual UK electrical output.
And then, of course, there is the electricity required to power all these electric vehicles. Building wind farms to generate that much would require more copper and more dysprosium, and building solar farms requires yet more high purity silicon, indium, tellurium, gallium. Professor Herrington notes:
“The urgent need to cut CO2 emissions to secure the future of our planet is clear, but there are huge implications for our natural resources not only to produce green technologies like electric cars but keep them charged.”
We have to stop talking about how electric cars will save us; it takes too much stuff to make them all, puts out too much upfront carbon, and nobody is going to make enough of them fast enough. All that copper and lithium and nickel and aluminum and steel has to come from somewhere. We have to look at getting people out of cars, at making it easier for people to use e-bikes and cargo bikes, transit and feet.
What is the best tool for the job? Cars are convenient for some, but we can’t just build electric powered two and three ton boxes moving one person a few miles. We have to look at alternatives that use less stuff more efficiently. Electric cars won’t save us.