GALBA – appeal for help

Image courtesy of Leeds Bradford Airport.

GALBA (Groups Against Leeds Bradford Airport) is appealing for your help:

“The government recently announced its new ‘Jet Zero’ draft strategy for the future of aviation. With its over-reliance on unproven future technology and its failure to accept the Climate Change Committee’s advice that aviation expansion must be stopped, this draft strategy is dangerous and reckless. It also has the potential to shape all aviation decisions in the UK for the foreseeable future, including the decision by Secretary of State Robert Jenrick on whether to call in LCC’s approval of Leeds Bradford Airport’s planning application, and put it before a public inquiry.

We urgently need your help to help fight Jet Zero. Please consider doing one (or all) of the actions below…

  • Respond to the consultation before the 8th September.
  • Write to your MP to ask them to exert their influence.
  • Write to the press about Jet Zero.

We have produced a set of guide responses, should you find this helpful. This link: takes you directly to these guide responses and the email address to send them to.

Thank you.

The GALBA Committee


Our key concerns about Jet Zero are as follows:

  • The government has chosen to ignore key recommendations from the Climate Change Committee, its own expert climate advisers, and instead to accept the UK aviation industry’s proposals.
  • In doing so, it has failed to act on CCC advice that passenger growth must be limited first and foremost by stopping airport expansion. Instead, the government is relying almost entirely on claims that carbon net-zero flying can be achieved by 2050 by relying purely on as yet unproven new technology, ‘sustainable fuels’ and offsetting.
  • There are well documented problems and huge uncertainties associated with all of the technical solutions proposed in Jet Zero.
  • In choosing to put all its bets on the industry’s untested techo-fixes, the government is taking a huge gamble with everyone’s future. We need more than a ‘wing & a prayer’ to decarbonise aviation.”

Changes to the Highway Code providing higher safety standards

Photo courtesy of Peter O’Connor.

These much overdue changes are to be really welcomed; however, it is unfortunate that they are presented solely as benefits for pedestrians and cyclists.

The changes mean that in their driving habits, drivers will have to make a move towards defensive driving. This will primarily protect drivers from deaths, injuries and vehicle damage, with a consequent reduction in insurance costs.

Even non-drivers have friends and relatives who drive and we should be as concerned about driver safety as well as safety for active travellers.

In many ways, drivers are the primary victims of political apathy towards road safety and they need helping with better opportunities to improve their driving.

It should be a key policy of at-work safety to give people defensive driving and speed awareness courses, as well as advanced driver training.

This is already a major policy in the bus industry and bus travel is as safe as train travel despite the anarchic situation which within which buses are forced to operate.

There needs to be a strong impetus to encourage driver training in work environments. The bus industry is excellent in this respect and so are most lorry and some taxi companies.

However, in the van delivery sector and in taxis there is a need for improvement.

Safer roads are better for everyone and will bring serious financial savings for businesses, local authorities, the NHS and the Exchequer. Safer roads could directly raise our GDP by 1% which is much more significant than it sounds.

It is to be hoped people who care about the safety of active travellers will emphasise that this is a pro car user initiative as well; otherwise it may be presented as anti-car which it is not!

There is scope for campaigners on this issue to lobby WYCA, councils and businesses, as well as MPs.

Ray Wilkes

Highway Code changes prioritise pedestrians and cyclists

Photo by Jeremy Kwok on Unsplash

A new version of The Highway Code will be published in the autumn, with updates including:

  • Road users who can do the greatest harm will have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others.
  • Strengthened pedestrian priority on pavements and when crossing or waiting to cross the road.
  • Guidance on safe passing distances and speeds and ensuring that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

More details can be found here.

Climate change – Local Plan consultation

Kirkstall Road, Boxing Day 2015. Photo courtesy of LCC.

Leeds City Council is updating its Local Plan so as to be better able to deal with climate change. They’re focusing on 5 different topics to help them achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The topics are carbon reduction, flood risk, green infrastructure, placemaking and sustainable infrastructure.

According to Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s Executive member for Infrastructure and Climate:

“The Local Plan plays a key role in setting out our city’s planning policies for the long-term future, and we believe that the climate emergency should be at the forefront of our thinking. That’s why we are updating those parts of the Plan as a priority.”

You can find out more about each topic and have your say by completing an online survey. The consultation closes on the 13th September 2021.

E-cargo bikes come to Leeds

Photo courtesy of Leeds City Council.

E-cargo bikes are electric powered cycles with a large storage area, usually placed at the front of the bike, which it’s claimed makes them easy to manoeuvre. The electric motor provides pedal assistance allowing you to travel further with less effort. They make it easier to get through congested areas and cover up to 50 miles on a single charge. They are fully tax deductible for businesses, have no parking costs, minimal running costs and do not require a licence or road tax. Their maximum speed is 15.5mph and they have a range of up to 75km. Organisations based in Leeds can borrow one free for up to 3 months. The council isn’t saying publicly what the cost will be once the 3 months are up. For more information, please email:

Global Road Safety Week

Image courtesy of the World Health Organisation.

From today, the 17th May, until the 23rd May, is the sixth United Nations Global Road Safety Week when we are urged to lobby our elected representatives into pressing for a 20mph speed limit. We are told:

“Low speed streets save lives and are the heart of any community. 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limits where people and traffic mix make for streets that are healthy, green and liveable, in other words, streets for life.

We’re calling on policymakers to act for low speed streets worldwide, limiting speeds to 30 km/h (20 mph) where people walk, live and play.

Join the #Love30 campaign to call for 30 km/h speed limits to be the norm for cities, towns and villages worldwide.”

You can sign the open letter here.

Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy

Artist’s impression courtesy of Connecting Leeds.

The Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy web page contains links to the various parts of the proposed Strategy. These allow you to make comments. The introduction to the Strategy states that it has “Six Big Moves.” These are:

  • Thinking about transport differently
  • Transforming the city centre
  • Opportunities for mass transport
  • Enhancing public transport
  • De-carbonising transport
  • Creating healthier streets, spaces and communities.

You can read more about the proposed mass transit system in this Yorkshire Evening Post article. The council intends that work on the mass transit system should take place between 2030 and 2035.

Sunday the 11th April will be the last opportunity to “have your say” on the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy.

Planning approval frozen

LCC’s permission for a new terminal has been frozen.

This evening’s 6pm news on Radio 4 reported as follows:

A bid to expand Leeds Bradford Airport has been put on hold by the government. The plan, which has been approved by Leeds City Council, was referred to the Communities Secretary for a final decision. There’s been huge opposition from environment campaigners. This afternoon, Robert Jenrick said he needed more time to decide if another terminal was justified. The decision has implications for other airports, as our environment analyst Roger Harrabin explains: “Leeds council aspires to be one of the greenest in the UK. But when faced with a planning application to build a new airport terminal, it concluded that carbon emissions from aviation are the government’s concern, not the council’s. So it approved the scheme. Environmental protesters urged the government to overturn the decision. And today, an email has informed protestors that the application has now been frozen, until the Secretary of State Robert Jenrick has had time to consider it further. No final date was given. No reasoning was given either. But it’s probable that the decision will wait until after the government publishes its decarbonisation strategy for all transport, which is due in coming months. Seven other airports want to expand. And ministers have been told by their advisory Climate Change Committee that there should be no overall increase in flying. By in effect kicking the Leeds decision into the long grass, Mr Jenrick has spared himself the sort of bruising he received recently when he decided not to block an application for a coal mine in Cumbria. After an international outcry, he was forced into a u-turn.”

Highway Code consultation

Image courtesy of Living Streets.

The government is consulting on proposals to change the Highway Code to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. The main alterations being proposed are:

  1. Introduction of a hierarchy of road users.
  2. Clarification of existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements.
  3. Making it clear that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.
  4. Establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when cars are overtaking cyclists and horse riders.

Further details and how to make a consultation response are given on this web page.

The consultation closes on the 27th October 2020.

Living Streets is making its own consultation response. You can read about how you can contribute to this response on this web page.

Driverless cars (autonomous vehicles)

Image courtesy of Automobile Italia

From page 91 onwards of volume 24.1 of the World Transport Policy and Practice (March 2018), Professor John Whitelegg reviews Christian Wolmar’s book, “Driverless Cars: On a road to no-where.” Whitelegg is the visiting Professor of Sustainable Transport at Liverpool John Moores University and Professor of Sustainable Development at University of York’s Stockholm Environment Institute. Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specialising in transport.

In his book, Wolmar claims that our streets, roads and cities would have to be re-organised to make them friendly for driverless cars and to stop pedestrians and cyclists getting in their way. He quotes former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn who in 2017 said, “One of the biggest problems (for driverless cars) is people with bicycles. The car is confused by [cyclists] because from time to time they behave like pedestrians and from time to time they behave like cars.” Wolmar also claims that whereas the case for driverless cars is strengthened by the untested, evidence-free assumption that they would produce safer roads, they still take up space and move at speeds that kill children.

In his review of Wolmar’s book, Whitelegg concludes: “It is very clear indeed that the new technology on offer is a very simple extension of a very old technology and a deepening of a very old ideology. It is all about making us all even more car dependent, transforming cities so that they give top priority to cars and eliminate any obstacles to that prioritisation which will include making absolutely sure that pedestrians and cyclists are not allowed to get in the way. It is a rejection of several decades of intelligent and ethical thinking that has been going on to make our cities and regions safe, secure, clean, green, healthy, child-friendly places. It is a rejection of Copenhagen’s success in getting 50% of all trips every day for work and education accomplished by bike, a rejection of Freiburg’s achievements on modal split (<30% of all trips every day by car), a rejection of Oslo’s car free strategy, a rejection of wide-area congestion charging."