The Transport Sub-group promotes the use of more sustainable, low carbon forms of transport and helps local people plan to get a round in a world where petrol and diesel prices are unpredictable. The most sustainable transport options are human powered, (walking and cycling), but we must also consider public transport (buses and trains), low carbon freight transport and ways of reducing the impact of private cars.
We’ve run several bicycle maintenance workshops – expert cyclists sharing their knowledge and skills with other bike users to help sort out problems and keep cycles in tip top condition. Keep an eye on the Transition Loughborough calendar for details for the next workshop. Members of the University might also want to consider joining the campus bike user group LUFBUG, and for general residents of the area there is the Loughborough & District Cycle Users’ Campaign. Leicestershire County Council sometimes run cycling courses for both children and adults. We’re also asking people to “adopt” cycle paths and walk ways that are either local to them or that they use regularly and report issues to the council and us so that we can ensure that sustainable transport routes are well maintained.
We need to cut down on the amount of personal car use – not only is the fossil fuel usage damaging to the environment but the cost of fuel, insurance, tax, etc can be crippling to many people. As such we encourage the use of car sharing and lift sharing schemes. Leicestershare (part of the Liftshare Network) is promoted by several councils, Universities and companies in the county for example. Leicestershire County Council also run a programme of transport advice called Choose How You Move that offers advice on reducing car use and moving to more sustainable transport options.
As well as cutting down on total car usage, we also need to look at the fuels used by the cars and vans that we do use. Biofuels offer one option, but are only really sustainable if they are made from waste products – for example bio-diesel made from waste vegetable oils from the catering trade. Growing crops specifically for fuel use is very controversial as it often means that land that should be used for food growing is used for fuel crops, resulting in increased food costs. There is also research being conducted into hydrogen fueled vehicles and using excess renewable energy peaks to generate liquid fuels.
Electric vehicles are another option and, whilst they are at a relatively early stage of mass market adoption, they are becoming increasingly common. They are great for use around town and for normal commuting routes, and the number of charging points around the country is on the rise. We’ll be promoting the spread of such infrastructure in the town, such putting hotels, B&Bs and other tourist destinations in touch with groups such as Zero Carbon World in an effort to get more charging points installed for both townsfolk and visitors.
Lastly town planning can heavily influence transport options used by residents and visitors. Members of the transport group have provided evidence to the Charnwood Borough Council Scrutiny Panel on car parking, discussed cycle lane layout/markings with the local MP and councilors and attended workshops on influencing low carbon options through the planning system.