Important Report Now Online

Posted by chdot on March 12, 2007

rcep report
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution is “an independent body, appointed by the Queen and funded by the Government, which publishes in-depth reports on what it identifies as the crucial environmental issues facing the UK and the world.”

Last week it published a 232 page report (paper version £32.50) which “examines the environment within urban areas and the wider environmental impacts of towns and cities, and considers the relationship between the urban environment and human health and wellbeing.”

The full report contains many references to walking and cycling, not least – “Cars and lorries and their associated infrastructure (roads, car parks, road signs, traffic-lights, road markings) all too often dominate towns and cities, blighting urban landscapes and making more sustainable forms of transport, such as walking or cycling, unpleasant and sometimes dangerous. The whole design of many urban areas revolves around one thing: access for cars and delivery vehicles. There are some UK cities where the dominance of the car has been, or is being, successfully challenged (2.29), with the result that such urban areas are now seen as highly desirable places to live and work”

There is also a 28 page summary. Under the heading “New infrastructure should contribute to environmental sustainability” it states “Transport – We recommend that before development plans are approved, the government publishes a clear assessment of the transport infrastructure needs for all proposed housing growth, how they will be funded and the environmental and health impacts of meeting those needs. This should be accompanied by a clear plan for phasing in the necessary supporting infrastructure, such that new transport provision is environmentally sustainable.”

Not surprisingly the report hasn’t had a great deal of media coverage. It made the Today programme on Radio 4 and the Independant which began its article with “Why on earth would increased car ownership in urban areas lead to flash flooding?” People living alongside the Water of Leith (especially those who suffered in the 2000 flood) might like to look at the diagram on page 7 of the main report or page 2 of the summary.

Edinburgh is one of the few cities in Britain that didn’t have (too much of) its heart ripped out for roads and redevelopments. Councillors, planners and people interested in sane city living should at least skim these documents. Some would be future councillors might be quizzed about it at the Spokes Council Hustings: Policy on Cycling and Transport Thursday on the 22nd of March

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