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.