Bid to make Stevenage carbon neutral after declaring climate change emergency

PUBLISHED: 08:30 26 October 2019

After recognising a climate change emergency, Stevenage Borough Council has agreed a sustainable transport strategy. Picture: Pexels

After recognising a climate change emergency, Stevenage Borough Council has agreed a sustainable transport strategy. Picture: Pexels

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A new transport strategy for Stevenage has been agreed, which aims to get more people to ditch their cars by encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling.

The plan - Future Town, Future Transport - sets out to make Stevenage a leader in sustainable transport and create better living conditions for the borough.

Among its aims are to improve connectivity, to encourage cycling and walking, to reduce the carbon footprint of travel, and to create 'liveable streets' through measures such as slowing down traffic.

The strategy also aims to promote 'green travel' and reduce the carbon footprint by increasing the use of electric vehicles, car sharing and car pooling.

The strategy has been formally agreed by Stevenage Borough Council after the local authority recently passed a motion recognising a climate change emergency.

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The council's leader, Sharon Taylor, said: "This is going to be an evolving picture as we develop the work we need to do to reach a carbon neutral target by 2030.

"We will need to have another look at this strategy and make sure it is working to deliver all the things we want."

The council has already identified measures it intends to deliver in the first 12 months. These include pilots of at least three 'liveable streets', the relocation of the bus station and the introduction of a cycle hire scheme, as well as improvements to the pedestrian and cycleway network.

The strategy also says sustainable transport options will be embedded in the town's regeneration plans.

The strategy has been subject to public consultation, with 60 per cent of respondents opposed to bus lanes. But the plan is to have more bus lanes in the majority of towns in Hertfordshire, with the aim that it should be quicker to travel by public transport than by car.

Councillor John Gardner, executive member for environment and regeneration, said the council is committed to reducing car emissions.

Cllr Taylor added: "We really have to clamp down on idling buses. The ideal is for all buses to be electric, then it would not be an issue, but while we do have fossil fuel-operated buses we have to make sure they are not idling. It's shocking for the environment."

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