The Eastbourne ECO Action Network in 2021: What was our year like?

As 2021 draws to a close, now is a good time to review the progress of the Eastbourne Eco Action Network.

As 2021 draws to a close, now is a good time to review the progress of the Eastbourne Eco Action Network, which has been very active throughout the year despite all the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Here’s a selection of the highlights as I, Andrew Durling, see them from my perspective as CEO of the Eastbourne Eco Action CIC.

Housing, Energy & Environment

The 2021 Eastbourne Eco Homes webinar was designed and hosted by the Housing and Energy Working Group. Their extensive research helped local residents make their homes much more energy-efficient. 

The Housing & Energy, Research and Transport Groups drafted three Technical Advice Notices (TANs), which were adopted by Eastbourne Borough Council. These rules form a crucial part of the planning guidance for ensuring that developments within Eastbourne are as environmentally sound as possible within current planning law. The TANs cover EV infrastructure, Sustainability in Development, and Biodiversity Net Gain. The Housing & Energy Group have scrutinised the EBC development proposals for the Old Magistrate Court site in Old Orchard Road, and are lobbying for these TANs to be fully incorporated into design schemes. Additionally, the group is actively working with Eastbourne Borough Council and the ECO Action Transport Group to create Low Traffic Neighbourhoods within the town.

The Research Group’s upstream liaison with Eastbourne Borough Council over the Environment Agency’s Pevensey Bay to Eastbourne Coastal Defences Scheme has been a success. Members of the group also collaborate with Ralph Lucas, an Eastbourne resident who is a member of the House of Lords, over biodiversity net gain standards in the Environment Bill and the ecological impacts of Queen’s Green Canopy Project. 

We liaised with councillors and council officers about the development of the Pevensey Bay to Eastbourne Coastal Management Scheme. The Environment Agency has designed the scheme to strengthen the local sea defences so they can cope with the predicted rise in sea levels that climate change will induce by 2100. Without improved sea defences, Eastbourne will become increasingly vulnerable to severe flooding from storm surges.

Sustainability in 2021

The Eastbourne Food Partnership (EFP), some members of which emerged from the EEAN’s Food Working Group and Climate Adaptation Group, became a Community Interest Company in 2021. The change enabled the group to successfully gain its first grant funding to facilitate the development of a sustainable, climate-resilient local food network that can ensure a supply of fresh, healthy, locally produced food distributed equitably to all local residents. 

Furthermore, the EFP is now a member of the national Sustainable Food Places network, and works in close collaboration with 3VA and East Sussex County Council. It has recently been liaising with councillors and council officers about how the Eastbourne Food Partnership, and the EEAN in general, could have some sort of presence within the Food Street project developing in Victoria Place.

Moreover, EEAN wrote vital proposals for ensuring that the Eastbourne Levelling Up Fund (LUF) remains within the purview of the Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 strategy. The Transport Group and CIC submitted a proposal for the delivery of bus priority lanes, to unlock investment in zero carbon buses to reduce pollution supporting modal shift from cars to buses. Given that the LUF aims to increase the number of visitors to Eastbourne by 500,000 per year, a Transport Plan has to be at the heart of the LUF to prevent transport emissions within the town from increasing, and the Transport Working Group has been instrumental in designing that plan throughout 2021.

We have supported the continuing success of Treebourne (which evolved from the Carbon Capture Working Group) and EcoEd2030 (which evolved from the Education Working Group) through administrative support such as draft policy templates, advice on CIC forms, banking services for Treebourne; and an offer of financial grant to help with set up costs. Two CIC directors along with colleagues planted and cared for hundreds of baby trees in the Churchdale Allotment, some 400 of which have been transferred for planting at Tugwell Park.

Social Media & Public Profile in 2021

We have extended our active social media presence with the help of the one paid employee in the EEAN CIC gained under the government’s Kickstart programme. We created a fresh newsletter format using that presence to complete, and publicise, for the first time ever, a detailed survey – prepared by the Kickstart employee with aid from the Transport Working Group – of local people’s opinions about the local bus service, and how it could be improved. This has given a voice to bus users within our community, and we continue to lobby on their behalf. 

Some of the results have been used by East Sussex County Council in compiling its own analysis of local bus services and how to improve them.  This has helped increase our newsletter subscriptions by 47%. This bus survey reached over 12,000 local citizens. Our recent social media posts of Andy Durling’s speech at the COP26 rally in September reached over 6,800 people via organic growth across our social media channels. 

On wider communication, the CIC and other network groups contribute to the Eastbourne Borough Council ECN2030 Newsletter sent to over 10,000 residents; and the CIC and Groups have had articles published in the Eastbourne Herald, stimulating further engagement from the community.

As members of the Eastbourne Cultural Strategy Group and following on from our collaboration with them to facilitate the “Full Frontal” artworks on the empty Debenhams store, we have introduced this group to the possibility of using cultural engagement on the theme of climate change awareness and responses modelled on the excellent work of Creative Carbon Scotland.

We were delighted to work with a local artist and Eastbourne BID in the creation of the ‘You are part of history mural’ located at the junction of York and Grove Road in Eastbourne.

We participated in the march and rally organised by the Eastbourne Climate Coalition on 6 November to coincide with the start of the UN COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. I delivered a speech to the rally on behalf of the EEAN, which was later published as a blog on the website. This address had an organic reach in social media of over 6,800, thanks to our Kickstart employee. The EEAN CIC is now collaborating with the Eastbourne Climate Coalition to set up a Climate Hub in Eastbourne.

Eastbourne residents participate in a protest march to recognise COP26

Thank you!

On behalf of all my colleagues in the EEAN CIC, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude to all the CIC directors, groups and partner organisations within the EEAN for their hard work in the face of the incredible difficulties we’ve all had to deal with in this pandemic year. You are heroes all! I hope you have a very restful and peaceful Christmas and New Year and come back refreshed in 2022 to continue the great work of helping to deal with the greatest challenge of our time: the Climate Emergency.

On a more personal note, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to Miles Berkley, my predecessor as CEO of the EEAN CIC, for his immense contributions to the EEAN and to ecological action generally during his two years in office. His dedication to developing effective collaboration between all partners within the Eastbourne Carbon Neutral 2030 campaign was exceptional and will have a lasting and deep impact.

Happy holidays!

Andrew Durling

Executive Director

20mph speed limit gets trial run on Polegate High Street

East Sussex County Council have consulted the public over plans to make Polegate High Street a 20mph speed limit.

East Sussex County Council have consulted the public over plans to make Polegate High Street a 20mph speed limit, which suggests the Council are using the road as trial to see whether a lower speed limit could make the county’s streets safer and cleaner.

The consultation closed on 26 November. Other suggested improvements for Polegate High Street include better pedestrian access and improved bus stop facilities.

The 20mph speed limit trend

There is a growing trend to make densely populated urban areas more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists. 

The Welsh government already have a head start. In Wales, the current Government is introducing a 20mph speed limit on certain roads across the country.  The change will be trialled in eight communities to gather data about best practice. If the trial is a success, the 20mph speed limit could become the standardised in Wales by 2023.

Why a 20mph speed limit?

The Daily Mail has reported that reducing speed limits from 30 to 20mph can reduce emissions from a typical car by 28%.

Scientists once thought driving at 20mph was less efficient and more polluting than travelling at 30mph.

However, these scientists based their findings on engines ‘cruising’ over a period of time. New research by Skyrad based on ‘stop/start’ traffic tests, suggests that one might find in a town centre that CO2 emissions were 26% lower at 20mph while NOx was 28% lower at 20mph.

This is great news for campaigners who believe urban speed limits keep pedestrians safe and reduce noise pollution.

Speed limits reduce carbon emissions

Skyrad’s graph shows that the mean CO2 produced is a minimum between 15 and 20mph

Researchers tracked the mean CO2 produced at various maximum speed limits for the average family car in an urban area. Finding 20mph was the most viable limit

According to the evidence, if more UK urban areas enforce a 20mph speed limit, carbon emissions will decrease.

Rob King, MBE and founder of ‘20’s Plenty for Us’, praised the research’s findings

He said ‘This research quantifies the effect and shows how reducing maximum speeds can have a significant effect on emissions.’

Speed limits improve air quality 

Skyrad’s second graph shows that a lower speed limit would also improve air quality by reducing the amount of NOx. A combustion engine produces NOx, a harmful pollutant, when it burns fuel.

They also looked at NOx, nitrogen dioxide and monoxide, produced at various speed limits

Speed Limits: The Transport Group view

1] The EEAN transport Group support this project in Polegate and are keen to see other similar projects in the Eastbourne. In response to the consultation, the EEAN Transport Group suggested further improvements to the plan.Install low cost ‘implied’ zebra crossings. These cost less than £1,000 each and do not include a Belisha Beacon, which can take the cost to around £30,000. In Greater Manchester, early trials show that drivers are more likely to give way to pedestrians when an ‘implied’ zebra crossing is in place. The implementation of the ‘implied’ zebra would give more priority to pedestrians, particularly children and older adults. An ‘implied’ zebra crossing would also improve mobility between transport hubs on the High Street.

2] Providing more prominent signage to encourage drivers to turn their engines off while stopped at the Polegate railway crossing.  This would improve air quality for pedestrians and residents. The signage should be extended along the road on both sides of the crossing so that more drivers are aware of the request to turn off their engines. In our experience of walking along the High Street when the crossing is closed, most drivers do not turn off their engines.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

COP26: Eastbourne can lead the way for climate action

Eastbourne is a coastal community on the front line of COP26’s big issue – climate change. Our town is facing rising seas and stronger storm surges of a rapidly warming world.

Eastbourne is a coastal community on the front line of COP26’s big issue – climate change. Our town is facing rising seas and stronger storm surges of a rapidly warming world. If carbon emissions keep rising, we will confront an existential threat of flooding from the sea. Eastbourne’s survival as a viable local economy after COP26 depend upon transitioning as fast as possible to a zero carbon society that can adapt to the inevitable and ever more severe impacts of climate change. The moment could not be more urgent. We must transform Eastbourne into a innovative town that will create a new example.

Andrew Durling, Executive Director, and David Everson, Transport Director, make their stand at the COP26 Rally at the Eastbourne seafront on 6 November
(L-R) David Everson, Chair of Transport Group; Andrew Durling, Executive Director; and Paul Humphries make their stand at the COP26 Rally at the Eastbourne seafront on 6 November

After COP26: What must change if Eastbourne is to adapt to climate change

But what exactly does COP26 style climate leadership mean in Eastbourne?Carbon emissions from aviation and road transport are too high and rising too fast. Effective climate leadership is about stopping plans to expand Gatwick airport. It means averting the building of a big new A27 motorway between Lewes & Polegate. Local politicians must lobby for a much improved local bus service that has much cheaper fares. Communities must demand more regular bus services and using dedicated bus lanes throughout town. Our towns must give greater priority to better facilities and access for pedestrians and cyclists.

But most of all, it means ending our obsession with economic growth and refocussing on increasing the quality of life for both people and the planet. As COP26 roundly failed to clarify, growth at any cost is not sustainable and only makes our quality of life worse. Growth at any cost is literally costing the Earth. It’s even costing our health, as our town is literally choking on the poisonous fumes of air pollution, most of it coming from diesel traffic. In Eastbourne, local particulate air pollution is now more than twice the annual maximum limit deemed acceptable by the World Health Organisation.

The Eastbourne COP26 Coalition lead a climate protest march on the Eastbourne promenade.
The Eastbourne COP26 Coalition lead a climate protest march on the Eastbourne promenade.

How Eastbourne’s local communities are taking action against climate change

Many local community groups are outdoing COP26 itself, showing great climate leadership. Volunteers are starting tree planting schemes, setting up community food growing schemes and campaigning to end single-use plastics. Others are developing local community energy projects such as solar farms in Lewes District and in the Cuckmere valley. Projects like these not only make a difference but also help to create a more resilient and sustainable local economy that can help the area not only survive, but thrive, in the face of climate change. They also demonstrate to our political leaders what is possible now and in the future.

Furthermore, all local government policies and projects should contribute meaningfully to delivering a carbon neutral town by 2030. And by all, I mean all. After COP26, every single policy and project must have climate and nature care at its core. So, for example, ‘Levelling Up’ must include levelling up those people in the eastern part of the town most vulnerable to flooding from the sea and most unable to afford the resilience measures needed to adapt to climate change.

Levelling up means nothing without meaningful climate justice for the local people most vulnerable to climate change. And levelling up means nothing if it does not contribute significantly to reducing the town’s carbon emissions, which are not falling fast enough anyway. Eastbourne’s emissions only fell 6.8% in 2019. Emissions have to fall by 12% every year between now and 2030 to meet the town’s fair share of the UK’s commitments under the 2015 UN Climate Accord reached in Paris.

A selection of placards made by the Eastbourne ECO Action Network for the COP26 march.
A selection of placards made by the Eastbourne ECO Action Network for the COP26 march.

Eastbourne Borough Council must do better – but there are still reasons to feel hopeful after COP26

Eastbourne Borough Council’s own emissions are not falling fast enough, regardless of how the council’s spin doctors massage the figures. The Eastbourne ECO Action Network appreciate that the council has big challenges to meet in reducing its own emissions. Indeed, we are working with them to help them meet those challenges. However, as COP26 showed, we need an open and honest debate about those challenges – and not greenwashing.

However, our town has some reasons to feel hopeful. Eastbourne Friends of the Earth is forming a partnership with Cuckmere Valley Transition to set up an annual Green Awards and Fund. This new project will not only recognise outstanding local climate projects, but also distribute grants to scale up their work. We hope to launch the Awards and its associated Fund sometime next year.

The great irony is that all the actions necessary to safeguard our climate future are also actions that create a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for us all. The many co-benefits of climate action are huge. What’s not to like?

Andrew Durling

Executive Director, Eastbourne ECO Action Network CIC

Will Eastbourne get a share of a £3bn bus fund?

We all know that East Sussex County Council hold the future of the Eastbourne bus service in their hands.

We all know that East Sussex County Council hold the future of the Eastbourne bus service in their hands.

A new report indicates that bus usage in the United Kingdom has decreased over the past decade as more people take journeys in their cars. The Annual Bus Statistics Report shows that over half a billion less bus journeys were made per year between 2010 and 2020, a fall of some 11.8 per cent compared to previous decades.

The decline in bus passengers across the country, particularly in England, has caused significant concern among local authorities. In March 2021, the Government announced Bus Back Better, a £3bn fund to help Local Transport Authorities (LTAs) make English bus services more appealing to people who live outside of London.

In June 2021, East Sussex County Council, which is the LTA for Eastbourne, declared the Council would pursue an Enhanced Bus Partnership in partnership with Stagecoach. The Council and Stagecoach must submit a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to the Government, who will then choose whether or not to reward the funding to Eastbourne.

Why does Eastbourne need a Bus Service Improvement Plan?

Investing in a better bus service could reduce the rush hour traffic on key Eastbourne routes, such as Lottbridge Drove

One of the Bus Back Better scheme’s aims is to move England towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050. By stimulating the greater use of buses, the hope is that there will be fewer private car journeys. As a result, traffic congestion will decrease, which in turn will cut down the release of harmful greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere.

The next deadline for all LTAs to submit their proposals is the end of October 2021.  East Sussex County Council are required to publish their Bus Service Improvement Plan, which is highly anticipated by many Eastbourne residents.

A large part of the £3bn funding is dedicated to buying zero emission buses. However, East Sussex County Council will only receive funding if their bid is approved. The Government is clear that the funding will be allocated on the basis of the ’overall quality of the BSIP’. If East Sussex County Council submit a poor plan, Eastbourne could receive less funding than expected.

If the bid is successful, what can Eastbourne residents expect to see?

A better bus service is in reach…but only if East Sussex County Council can win over the Government

Because the government funding is spread thin across England, it is likely that local bus services will only receive enough money to make a few minor changes. As for spending the money, East Sussex County Council have several possible options. These “leveling up” plans could include the following:

  • More frequent buses.
  • Bus priority measure to speed up buses (e.g. limiting some road side parking).
  • Lower fares.
  • More comprehensive coverage by bus services.
  • Sections of bus lanes on roads.

What do Eastbourne residents want from a modern bus service?

A fleet of Stagecoach buses waiting for someone to invest in their wheels

Between August and September, the Eastbourne Eco Action Network CIC created a survey to find out what Eastbourne actually wanted from a modern bus service. Almost 300 people responded and their thoughts were inspiring.  The EEAN’s Bus Survey Report is now available to view. We recommend it highly.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

Allotments: Eastbourne’s Secret History

To most holidaymakers, Eastbourne is best known as the Sunshine Coast, a seaside resort where grand Victorian hotels and stout Napoleonic forts keep watch over busy shingle beaches. That’s what the tourists come to see, of course. Eastbourne has a secret; the town is home to a thriving culture of allotments dating back to the 19th century.

There are over fourteen separate allotment sites in Eastbourne

How one woman changed Eastbourne forever

In the early 1800s, poverty and hunger were endemic in Sussex. Many parishes dismissed the struggling poor as witless. However, one landowner disagreed. Mary Ann Gilbert was born into a wealthy landowning family in 1776. Despite her comfortable upbringing, Gilbert was an outspoken social reformer who created projects to help the working classes grow their own food instead of depending on relief. 

In 1830, Gilbert began redeveloping land on Beachy Head, hiring 27 paupers to remove waste and cultivate the soil. By 1835, Gilbert’s project had 235 allotment tenants, with over 400 allotment holders by 1844. Gilbert’s experiment reduced poverty in Sussex by almost half. It was an agricultural revolution that laid the groundwork for modern allotment management as we know it today.

Why are Eastbourne’s allotments so popular?

Gilbert died in 1845, but her legacy is still felt all over the town. Eastbourne Allotments & Garden Society, a non-profit organisation, has looked after the town’s fourteen allotment sites for many years. The society currently rent out over 1,200 plots, all of which are in high demand; presently, there are 500 people on a three-year waiting list for a plot.

A beautiful and green sight!
Audio Interview with Louise Elms, allotments manager
Louise Elms, allotments manager, speaks to Aaron Loose about her everyday experience running the Eastbourne allotments group. Listen to her thoughts here.

Sue Dixon, Co-Chair for the Eastbourne Green Party, says the allotments are popular because the routine makes people feel more connected to others. She explains “allotments contribute hugely to wellbeing in terms of exercise and being outdoors of course, but also relaxation and a break from the pressures of the modern world. Everyone speaks of the sense of community.”

Almost everyone on the allotments mentions a profound sense of community. Louise Elms, the allotment manager, says “one of the best things about allotments we get people from all walks of life” The society estimates their diverse membership includes over twenty different nationalities. Many tenants belong to the town’s thriving Portuguese community, and several Syrian refugees also rent out plots.

Elms speaks warmly about how the allotments became a haven for many people during 2020’s gruelling series of COVID-19 lockdowns. “It was amazing for people”, she tells me over the phone. “So many people have told us that the allotments were a lifesaver, because it was the only place they could go and speak to people. It’s great for people, physically and mentally.”

Are Allotments a form of Self-Care?

One notable example of a genuine allotment community is Gather Community Garden, a diverse group of amateur gardeners and seasoned planters who meet weekly at the Churchdale road allotment to chat. Dave Roberts, who serves as Gather’s spokesperson, views their work as a ministry of wellbeing. Gather grew from a church, but their outlook is diverse and inclusive. “It was quite important for us to create the social space that wasn’t totally utilitarian,” Roberts says. “People can join the network, relax, and even take a few potatoes. If people are coming from real anxiety of loneliness, then small group interactions are often the best way to find their way back.” 

The Gather Community Garden overs five plots and is often visited by officers working in the nearby police station

For many, the thought of looking after an allotment feels daunting. It is a big responsibility, but the workload is manageable. According to Elms, the average renter can expect to spend between 5 and 12 hours a week working a basic plot, although their workload may depend on what produce they grow. “If you’re growing a lot of fruits,” Elms says, “you probably require less time than if you’re doing vegetables.  And it’s not just vegetables you can have. You can have chickens and rabbits and bees.”

Allotments are a central pillar of Eastbourne’s rich history, as iconic as the Bandstand and Beachy Head. Working on an allotment is an opportunity to enrich not only nature, but one’s own wellbeing. If you want to know why that’s such a big deal, listen to Dave. “There’s a verse in Jeremiah”, he remarks, “where it says seek the prosperity as a place where you live. Plant gardens. Do good stuff.”

Aaron Loose

Going Electric: new app could help drivers give up petrol for good

Drivers up and down the United Kingdom can explore making the switch to an electric vehicle this World EV day with a new government-backed app. Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, set out plans to roll out the app, which is named EV8 Switch, on 9 September. As the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate summit this November, the Government is working with industry leaders to provide the tools and practical advice drivers need to go electric.

A free app called EV8 Switch – backed by £2.7 million of UK Space Agency funding – launched on 13 September. EV8 Switch calculates how much money a UK driver could save by switching to an electric vehicle compared to their current petrol or diesel model. In addition, the app will also estimate the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that would be reduced if the driver changes to an electric vehicle.

Drivers can also see which electric vehicle would be most suitable for them based on their current vehicle and how switching to electric could fit in with their current lifestyle. Users of the app can also see how close their nearest charge points are, and which journeys can be completed without the need to recharge their vehicle en route.

The UK zero emission car market is growing; more models are coming onto the market and one in seven cars sold so far in 2021 were electric. Making the switch from petroleum to electric is not only an exercise in ecological carefulness. It’s also a chance to be a step ahead of the curve.

The Government is also helping drivers across the country with an extension to the £50 million government fund to install electric vehicle chargepoints. The move will see small businesses such as Beds& Breakfasts gain access to the Workplace Charging Scheme, supporting the UK tourism industry and improving access to rural areas. 

The new fund will also see those in leasehold and rented accommodation enjoy the benefits of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme. The transition could create 40,000 UK jobs by 2030,encouraging people to make the switch in areas where charging provision is currently limited and challenging to secure. ​ 

To learn more and to download EV8 Switch, visit the app’s official website.

Are we Solving Eastbourne’s Transport Crisis?

Derrick Coffee writes to the Eastbourne Herald and explains the dangers of ignoring Eastbourne’s transport crisis

Derrick Coffee, County Officer for Transport Futures East Sussex, has written an open letter to Eastbourne Herald, explaining the dangers of ignoring Eastbourne’s developing transport crisis – and what we can do to fix it.

Dear Editor,

Lots of transport issues and some opportunities are discussed in your edition of 20th August. These topics included the Bus Service Improvement Plan, five proposed cycle routes, ‘paid for parking’, and £250,000 funding for ‘traffic signal controlled junctions’.

With the transport sector being the largest emitter of carbon in the UK, and the international Climate Change ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP26) only weeks away, all of the topics mentioned should have a part to play in securing measures to bring UK carbon emissions down. If successful, the biggest winners will be all children – and babies born after any successful commitments coming out of the COP26 gathering: but, we’ll all be winners!

Planning for Better Buses

A young Black woman sits in a bus, wearing a mask.

First, the buses. The Government’s own advisers warn against the simple notion that swapping petrol and diesel for electric vehicles is the answer. Congestion, casualties, sprawling ‘land hungry’ car based developments, ugly streets, habitat destruction and unhealthy inactive lifestyles would continue. Eastbourne and Wealden councils should collaborate on creating more forward-thinking solutions.

If successful, the biggest winners will be all children

Competition between richer nations for precious resources in vehicle and battery manufacture will cause conflict and environmental degradation. The  answers have to include shared transport, active travel and efficient and well designed urban development. (Current developments don’t have those characteristics!).

Shared transport means buses, trains and car clubs. The BSIP should include a whole range of incentives to increase bus usage including expanded services and new routes. Above all, the buses need priority measures such as bus lanes to speed up services and beat congestion. These already remove thousands of cars daily from the A259 through Peacehaven.

Transport Futures: Safe Cycle Routes

Cycling routes offer a solution to transport problems, but only if the routes are kept safe.

Cycle routes – yes please. But these must be measured against their ability to allow children to cycle to school and for the rest of us to access our daily needs. The 5 routes will help but more routes are needed with default 20mph limits in residential areas and on some sections of main roads.

However, without speed restrictions, parents will not allow their children to cycle. Frequent poor and threatening driving styles depress levels of cycling and walking, and must be eliminated. Acoustic cameras should be installed to remove aggressive and illegally loud vehicles. Furthermore, walking routes are also crucial and flared junctions should be narrowed, roundabouts redesigned to reduce entry/exit speeds, and pedestrian/cycle priority across junctions in residential areas should be adopted town wide. 

The Real Cost of Free Parking in the Transport Debate

Free parking may seem like a great idea, but the policy can cause increased pollution and congestion.

Parking? Too much cheap or free parking causes congestion and makes all other more sustainable forms of transport unpleasant or inefficient. Politicians love to promise freedom to park anywhere for free but they all know it will lead to gridlock. It’s not a very inefficient use of the precious resource: land. No-one wants more traffic. The £250,000 for ‘signal controlled junctions’ could be used to speed up the buses and to give pedestrians and cyclists priority. Prioritising sustainable transport locally is also shown to reduce longer car journeys, reducing the need for damaging road projects such as an off-line A27.

Leaders at all levels of government should be loudly proclaiming support for the objectives of COP26 (reducing carbon emissions; restoring habitats and increasing biodiversity) and measures to deliver them. The Herald could publish articles featuring transport and planning proposals and rate them out of 10 for eco friendliness!

Did this article interest you? Find out more about Eastbourne transport issues by joining our Transport Group!

Derrick Coffee

County Officer, Transport Futures East Sussex

Images: PA Media & Pxhere

Environment is a low priority for commuters

People do not consider the environment when making travel plans, according to a new study published by Decarbonising Transport Deliberative Research.

When commuters choose between travelling by car or a more eco-friendly alternative, they do not consider the environmental impacts of their decision. Instead, people are likely to choose whichever vehicle they are most comfortable using.

For example, people who drive to work are also likely to drive to attend hospital appointments, take part in leisure activities, and to see family and friends. They choose to travel by car because driving is a habit. It is rare for a habitual driver to use a bus or a train.

The research shows a clear hierarchy in making travel choices, with habit being the most significant. People also preferred transport modes with shorter travel times and higher reliability. The remaining key factors are summarised here.

  • Flexibility: several respondents preferred having immediate access to transport, instead of waiting for a bus to become available. 
  • Family Friendly: people want the ability to carry luggage, entertain children, and have easier access to toilets.
  • Convenience: people preferred ‘door to door’ modes of transport with a minimal interchange between different transport types.
  • Least Important Factors: comfort, hygiene, and personal safety were not considered as important.

Cost was also a key factor. Although car owners were satisfied with their vehicle’s low ‘on the day costs’, they did not consider the ongoing financial commitment of owning and maintaining a car.

It is clear that the behavioural change required to increase the use of public transport and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will not be easily won.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

Image credits: PA Media & Clive G

Are you ready for the big E10 Petrol change?

During this summer of 2021, a more eco-friendly fuel will be introduced to UK roads – and it’s a big deal.

During this summer of 2021, a more eco-friendly fuel will be introduced to UK roads – and it’s a big deal.

The standard petrol grade in the UK, currently E5, will change up to E10. It might not sound important to you now, but the E10 switch is a crucial step towards saving our planet. The new change comes after the UK Government took action to achieve net-zero emissions by banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

What is E10 Petrol?

What makes E10 petrol different? Well, to put it simply, E10 petrol contains up to 10% ethanol mixed into the normal petrol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol – the very same that adds flavour to your small glass of beer – and is produced by fermenting plant matter. The current petrol, E5 contains 5% ethanol. The remaining 95% is regular petrol. This is why we call it E5 Petrol!

Why introduce E10 Petrol?

At this point, you may think – so what? However, switching to E10 Petrol is actually a very good idea indeed.

The extra ethanol added to the petrol is a renewable biofuel and so will help us reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in our car engines. It is possible to run cars entirely on pure ethanol – Brazil was one of the first countries to mass-produce ethanol biofuels, in fact.

The Government hopes that by introducing E10, CO2 emissions will be reduced by up to 750,000 tonnes per year. That’s the same as removing 350,000 cars from our roads!

Will your car be compatible?

You might be worrying about whether or not your own car will be able to run on E10 petrol. Don’t fret! Most petrol vehicles on the road today are fully compatible with E10 petrol.

However, if you own a vehicle or motorcycle which was made before 2011 you will need to check if your vehicle will run on E10. You can find out by visiting the Government’s website.

If your car or motorcycle is not compatible with E10, then E5 will still be available in the ‘super’ grade, which will remain in some filling stations.

Is E10 really that eco-friendly?

There are, unfortunately, some disadvantages. The introduction of E10 will have little effect on air quality issues and drivers may find that their fuel consumption goes up very slightly.

These changes do not apply to diesel fuel. In fact, diesel vehicles currently use B7, which indicates that the fuel contains 7% biodiesel, from renewable sources.

In the end, the very best way to reduce your carbon emissions from transport is to walk, cycle, use public transport or have an electric car that is charged using renewable energy.

David Everson

EEAN Transport Group

Photo credit: Pexel, Pixabay

Electric Vehicle Charging

Currently, most of us are used to buying fuel in litres and we understand range and miles per gallon (mpg). Mainly it is about making sure we do not put the wrong fuel in and finding a petrol station for a top-up. So what are the differences with an EV?

Following the 2030 ban of new sales of diesel and petrol cars would you consider moving over to an electric vehicle (EV)?

Currently, most of us are used to buying fuel in litres and we understand range and miles per gallon (mpg). Mainly it is about making sure we do not put the wrong fuel in and finding a petrol station for a top-up. So what are the differences with an EV?

Research shows that there is a range anxiety with EVs and a lack of knowledge about how to charge them. This blog does not go into too much detail. It is just to get over the basics.

Factors to consider

EV charging comes in both AC (typically lower power and slower) and DC (typically higher power and faster). Plus there are a variety of different cable standards. 

EV cable standards

You also have to consider the following:

  • How large is the car battery? This is vehicle specific and will tend to be larger in bigger cars;
  • How long will it take to charge? This is determined by the charging technology and the design features of the car;
  • Can I just charge at home? This depends on how long the trips are and so may require charging en route. Plus do you have off-road parking?

Perhaps the guideline to remember is the power in kW of the charge point and is directly equivalent to the range added (in miles) per 20 minutes of charging. So as an example using a 7kW point, 1 hour will add around 21 miles (7×3)  range to the battery. Likewise using 50kW would add 150 miles range in an hour. However, the average range will be extended by up to 20% by passengers/load, regenerative braking, and economical driving.

Charge Points

There is a number of different types of the charge points, and here are some from the Eastbourne area:

Now lets us look at this typical EV that has these ratings 22kW AC and 50kW DC.

  • 3pin socket at home probably only transfers 3.7kW. Though the car could accept 22kW
  • Standard chargepoint at home has an AC of 7kW even though rated at 22kW
  • Fast charger – triple phase AC 22kW
  • Rapid Charge – DC 50kW

Questions to Ask

Q1 Can all EVs accept all AC powers? – Typically Battery EVs charge at 7 kW AC whilst currently most Hybrid EVs with smaller batteries are limited to 3.7 kW AC.

Q2 Can all EVs accept all  DC powers? – The maximum charging power will depend on the vehicle’s battery management system.  Need to check the car specification.

Q3 Do all EVs have AC and DC charging?  – All EVs have an onboard charger and should be able to convert power from AC. However, some older model cut corners and did not provide  DC charging. 

Q4 What happens if the vehicle charging limit is lower than the ChargePoint power? – The charging power will be reduced as required.

Q5 Will I always get the charging power advertised? – No, sometimes it will be less, especially where all the points are in use.

Finally, where are these charge points? Possibly the best resource is ZapMap. It provides locations and types of chargers. Tells you which payment network you would need to be on. Because there are different connectors between the EU/UK and Japan, it is worth looking at a car you might be interested in and refer to the specifications of the charge points and cables you can use. 

There are other maps, provided by other organisations, but they work in a similar way. For each site, there is a review and the current information if it is in use.

Charge point review

In conclusion, with a bit of research, there is no need for anxiety. The EVs are becoming increasingly popular, and therefore using them is becoming considerably easier.

Paul Humphreys

EEAN Transport Group

Photo credit: Getty Images