Recommendations to reduce greenhouse gases in Essex

Three new ‘park and choose’ and e-cargo bike pilots should be planned as part of Essex County Council’s programme to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced by transport in Essex.

That is the view of the Essex Climate Action Commision, which has set out a series of recommendations to promote sustainable transport, as almost a third of greenhouse gases in Essex come from transport.

The recommendations include increasing the promotion of active travel, referring to cycling and walking, introducing low traffic neighbourhoods, school streets and additional park and pedal/scoot/stride sites.

The council is already planning to award contracts for the introduction of six e-scooter pilot schemes across the county by the end of 2020.

But it also wants to introduce e-cargo bike pilots in five locations by 2022, leading to wider introduction through 2030.

By then the county should aim to introduce three new ‘park and choose’ sites – where people can carry on with their journey by pedal, scoot, stride – by 2030.

Tracey Vickers, head of sustainable transport at Essex County Council, said: “The most sustainable form of travel is no travel at all, but people will always need to travel – to work, to school, to the shops – rebuilding the local economy.

“Where people must travel, we need to encourage modal shift into active travel, such as walking and cycling, whilst also supporting electrification to decarbonise getting from A to B as much as possible.”

A range of other potential measures to reduce unnecessary car use, including developing a detailed electric vehicle strategy and introducing emissions charging/parking charges in town centres should be adopted, the commision has said.

Perhaps more ambitiously the commission says the county council should at a minimum explore car-free town centres.

Chairman of the Commission, Lord Randall, said: “We must take action now to reduce our carbon footprint in Essex. With almost a third of greenhouse gases coming from transport, we need to take a serious look at how we are moving about the county and how we can make our transport more sustainable. There is no time to waste – we need to make changes today before it’s too late.”

The commission agreed a range of recommendations to put forward to the council, with rebuilding public transport and increased cycling and walking as top priorities.

The commission will make its full set of recommendations on a range of matters – transport, energy, waste, land use, green infrastructure and the built environment – to the Essex County Council cabinet for consideration by the end of its first year.

The eleven recommendations were:

  • Increase active travel – cycling and walking
  • Introduce low traffic neighbourhoods
  • Introduce school streets
  • Introduce additional park & pedal/scoot/stride sites
  • Rebuild passenger transport
  • Trial e-scooters/e-bikes
  • Discouraging unnecessary car use
  • Expand electric vehicle charging network
  • First/last mile delivery vehicles e.g. e-cargo bikes
  • Pilot local delivery hubs for first/last mile
  • Develop and launch educational behaviour change programme
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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter