Canterbury Alliance for Sustainable Transport (CAST)

Picture provided by Spokes East Kent Cycling Campaign

C4CA becomes CAST

Canterbury 4 Clean Air is one of the new founding members of the Canterbury Alliance for Sustainable Transport(CAST). All future activities will now be undertaken as part of CAST.

The Westgate Towers Trial Scheme has unfortunately been shelved. A lost opportunity and a well-intentioned attempt by Canterbury City Council to try and begin to solve Canterbury’s dangerous air pollution levels and unpleasant congestion. However, fortunately certain aspects of the Trial will be retained and/or re-implemented.

CAST is planning a World Car Free Day on Sunday 21st September 2014. World Car Free Day has been going since 2000 and the website about it can be found here.

The plan to to hold a celebration of sustainable transport in Canterbury near the Westgate Towers with music, stalls and speakers. Additionally, we are planning a critical mass bicycle ride to be escorted by police around the Rheims Way.

A bit of history…

On February 14th 2013, Canterbury’s Sustainable Transport Blueprint, by the national expert Lynn Sloman, was launched.

Lynn gave presentations on the Blueprint on April 26th. See News Section KECN Homepage for details.

Just in time too with the imminent cancellation of the Westgate Pilot Transport Study end of March 2013 and despite valiant later efforts has been permanently shelved.

What many people appear to be oblivious to in Canterbury or are too selfish to care, is that Canterbury is chocking under air pollution and to our shame, one of the highest carbon footprints in England (almost 3 and a half planets worth of resources consumed per capita).

Here are some uncomfortable facts for our selfish motorheads from the NICE Public Health Guidance

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommendation for adults’ level of physical  activity is a minimum of 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity spread over a  week. For children, the target is at least 1 hour of vigorous activity per day. The reality is that objective data reveal that only 5% of adults and 2.5%  of children achieve these targets.

The current levels of urban air pollution with its significant associated levels of  morbidity and mortality, and of collisions cost society £10 billion a year; road congestion causes delays and costs the economy £11 billion a year.

Increasing the time spent walking or cycling leads to evidence-based health benefits such as: reduction in obesity, stroke, heart attacks, cancer and Type 2 diabetes; healthy musculo-skeletal systems; promotion of mental well-being.

KECN is pleased to be hosting CAST. Before CAST, some of the members were part of Canterbury 4 Clean Air which was set up early in 2011 to address Canterbury’s worsening air pollution, congestion and huge carbon footprint.  Air pollution legislation has largely been ignored in Canterbury as elsewhere.

The legislation is considered toothless however there is now a helpful judgment from the Supreme Court that holds that the UK is in breach of air quality objectives. A reference has been made to the Court of Justice of the European Union to establish what the fines might be when the duties are not met.

Air pollution has been getting worse year on year in Canterbury.In 2006, we had two streets that were in breach of air quality limits now we have over 9. This trend will continue unless we force our politicians to take air pollution seriously or we get better legislation with penalties. Canterbury needs a significant reduction in car use if air quality limits are to be met. Cycling and walking should be the first transport choice with the necessary infrastructure implemented. The Tories with their mates at Canterbury 4 Business are busy lobbying away for a further Park and Ride, 5 more slip roads, out of town developments and so on.Clearly, air pollution, climate change and biodiversity mean little to them.

The UK Government and local councils are failing to deliver on sustainable traffic. Research by Halcrow for Friends of the Earth and Sustrans called ‘Moving Towards Smarter Travel?’  shows that the Government and Local Councils are ignoring advice from the Committee on Climate Change to introduce schemes that cut traffic. For more information contact Russell at c4ca@kecn.org.uk.


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