Don’t miss the bus on climate change: make pensions fossil free!

On Saturday 23 September campaigners from across East Sussex will be boarding one of the Big Lemon’s sustainable buses for a one-day tour of East Sussex, taking the message about fossil fuel divestment – and the Divest East Sussex petition – to Hastings, Bexhill, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Seaford, Crowborough, Uckfield and Brighton.

If you’d like to come and see us off on the day – and take part in the photo call, featuring one of the Big Lemon’s sustainable buses – then please meet us by Hastings pier at 9.15am on Saturday 23 September.

“If we want to avoid 2C, we have very little time left. The public should be very concerned.” – Adrian Raftery, co-author of the recent scientific paper ‘Less than 2 °C warming by 2100 unlikely’, Nature Climate Change, 31 July 2017.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

We’ve already seen global warming of over 1 degree centigrade.

The resulting climate change is now leading to increasingly severe impacts – from rapidly melting sea-ice at the poles to 50 degree heatwaves in India and drought in California. The UK is also seeing serious impacts – with increasingly severe flooding in almost every region and country in the UK in recent years – and it’s going to get much, much worse.

Unless, that is, we take action NOW to ensure that most of the known deposits of fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) are left in the ground unburnt, and replace them with cleaner sources of energy.

LET’S NOT MISS THE BUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently has £150m of local people’s pension monies invested in fossil fuels. These investments are a disaster for the climate as well as a financial risk for local people’s pensions.

Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council and Brighton & Hove City Council have all called on ESCC to get rid of these investments (‘divest’).

Add your voice to the calls for divestment by signing the petition to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund and join us on 23 September if you can (see below for our schedule).

Together we can send a strong message to the ESCC that it’s time to move our money away from the problem and into the solutions.

More info here.

Hastings Greenway and sustainable transport film

Watch this film by Keith Rodway documenting an awareness-raising day for Hastings Greenway and sustainable transport in the town. It features interviews with key players in the campaign to build a safe route for cyclists and walkers from Ore to the town centre.

Safe routes for cycling and walking in Hastings

On November 27th, members of Transition Town Hastings, Hastings Greenway, 1066 Cycle Club, Hastings Urban Bikes and other cyclists joined forces to protest about the delay to the implementation of a cycle path in Alexandra Park. The park route was approved in January 2016, and promised by Autumn 2016, but nothing has happened yet.

“We had 4 to 84 year old people riding bikes through the Alexandra Park route on Sunday, the benefits of cycling are for everyone. ESCC and HBC need to provide safe routes, so everyone who wants to, can feel confident to ride a bike in Hastings, whether that is to work, school or the shops.”

Tim Godwin
Hastings Urban Bikes

Those attending unofficially ‘opened’ the cycle path and cycled courteously through the park following the proposed route.

View the park cycle route here.

Cycle Protest Alexandra Park
Copyright: Tony Polain

 

This is part of a wider issue where safe cycling and walking routes throughout the town are still not being delivered.

The 2014 Hastings Walking & Cycling Strategy was intended to improve “The health and well-being of the local community” and “To develop a culture of walking and cycling”.

In nearly two years since the adoption of the strategy, no progress has been made towards implementing the routes we need. Many of these routes were proposed for the ‘Hastings Greenway’ network in 2003!

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HBC & ESCC need to deliver on their promises to implement a network of good quality walking & cycling routes. Community groups like, Transition Town Hastings, see the importance of safer, healthier and more sustainable transport options.

“Sunday was the first time that I have cycled in Alexandra Park and it reinforced my view about just how valuable and needed is this Cycleway & Greenway route through the Park . It avoids very unsatisfactory busy roads with dangerous junctions and will make the journey so much safer for cyclists and allow families and less confident cyclists to enjoy a really nice off road cycle route. The local authorities need to get on with it and complete the approved route.”

Ian Sier
Hastings Urban Bikes

Disappointment at a year’s delay to bus improvements

Bus lanes on the A259 between Glyne Gap and Bexhill Road will now not be completed until a year after the opening of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road (BHLR), Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex has learned.

Speaking for the group, Derrick Coffee said:

‘Originally intended to begin construction in February, East Sussex County Council (ESCC) has revealed that the start date for construction will now be next October. This is bad news for the two towns as delay is likely to lead to:

  • lower take-up of the bus as a more sustainable means to travel
  • traffic beginning to grow back on Bexhill Road – taking advantage of the lower traffic levels
  • deterioration of air quality
  • higher climate change gas emissions
  • greater unhealthy ‘car dependency’
  • delayed advantages for cyclists who would gain by using the bus lanes

The bus lanes, with better bus services, were promised in 2004 and were a condition of the Department for Transport (DfT) funding approval in 2012. That approval – surprising in the light of the DfT giving the BHLR a ‘poor to medium’ value for money rating – looks pretty disappointing now as the ability of an improved bus service to ‘lock in’ any traffic reduction benefits will be prevented: the bus lanes were a key part of that plan and, as the traffic grows back, their delayed operation makes the BHLR look even poorer value for the vast sum of taxpayers’ money spent so far. That’s around £130m.

‘The removal two years ago from transport plans of the long proposed new railway station at Glyne Gap by Rother District and ESCC is a further incentive to ‘carry on driving’ and a blow to any vision of a good mix of high quality sustainable transport for the residents, workers, tourists, young people and students of Hastings. The inevitable increase in traffic is also bad news for those for whom a vehicle is essential’, concluded Derrick Coffee.

Image: © Copyright Oast House Archive and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Co-wheels short-term car hire service launches in Hastings

Two new low emission cars are now available for residents to hire in central Hastings, as part of a ‘pay-as-you-drive’ car club.

Co-wheels logo CMYK PNG-01 copyHastings is the latest car club location to be launched by Co-wheels, the UK’s only independent car club operator, which runs successful car sharing schemes in over 60 locations across the UK. The scheme allows residents to have short term access to vehicles in an affordable and convenient way.

Residents and businesses can join the car club for a one-off fee of £25, which then allows them to quickly book cars online, and unlock them with a smartcard. Keys are kept in the car, and mileage and bookings are tracked with an on-board computer. At the end of the booking time, the car is returned to its bay.

The car club in Hastings has been brought about demand from environmentally-minded residents and community groups who have used car clubs elsewhere, and have campaigned to bring the service to Hastings. The council are not financing the scheme, but have provided two parking bays in Russell Street Car Park, where the cars have permits.

The two Toyota Aygo cars in Hastings can be hired from 30mins up to several days at a time, and are charged at £4.50/hr + 15p mile, which included insurance and fuel. This enables huge savings to be made on the cost of driving compared to car ownership, and studies show that anyone driving less than 6,000 miles per year could save money by switching to using a car club.

Car clubs also help to lower emissions and improve air quality in towns, as well as adding social value by providing access to cars for those unable to afford their own, or who need a second car occasionally.

Richard Falconer, Managing Director at Co-wheels said

“We are delighted to be expanding our service in response to demand from residents in Hastings. The car club will enable a new level of transport flexibility in the town, whilst encouraging people to think differently about car ownership.”

Residents can find out more about the scheme, and claim £10 free driving credit at www.co-wheels.org.uk/hastings

Household sustainability talk

It’s quite hard to get your head around which of our actions create the largest CO2 emissions. Also how much do we need to reduce to keep temperatures from rising by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels?

Ian Smith’s talk on Household Sustainability at Nico’s Kitchen last Saturday provided some answers. Many thanks to Nico’s Kitchen for hosting.

The talk, which you can download below, encouraged us all to consider our personal contribution to global carbon emissions.

Did you know that travelling on a cruise creates more CO2 than flying in a plane?*

Also, turning your thermostat down by 1°C could save 8-10% on your heating consumption?*

However, we all need to make big changes to our lifestyles to reach the ideal target of 2 tonnes of CO2 a year!

Download Household sustainability presentation file.

*Statistics above and in the presentation come from Carbon Conversations.

We’d really like to hold some Carbon Conversations for local residents. Please get in touch if you are interested in getting involved.

Co-wheels coming to Hastings!

Co-Wheels Hastings is soon to arrive in our town! Check out the website and  show your support by signing up.

Co-Wheels is an environmentally sound alternative to car ownership, a Pay-as-you-drive car hire scheme. Hire a car when you need it, and not when you don’t. Low hourly rates and excellent insurance cover.

http://www.co-wheels.org.uk/hastings