Should Strategies be Realistic?

How should local government present their plans for a greener future? Is it better for them to be realistic or else have a vision that, with only limited interventions, will not be achieved? Let’s look at transport but the same is applicable for other carbon strategies.

The various local government organisations, adopt different approaches, as to the strategies they produce. Transport for South East in their modelling, do not hide away from scenarios where active travel (buses, pedestrians and cycling) actually declines. Below is a projection for 2050 called ‘Our Route to Growth’. [Note the cycle logo includes pedestrians.] Following their recent consultation, TfSE agreed to slightly modify their Investment Plan. However the point is, their models are indicative of what may happen, and not necessarily what campaigners might like.

The more problematic approach is when local government, include in their plans, what you would like, but there is no past or future evidence that these will happen. As an example, there are repeated references to the reduction of cars in local borough and county plans. This is against the backdrop of East Sussex County Council predicting, in their A22 A2290 review,  an increase in traffic of 15% from now to  2039.

So in the new draft Eastbourne Local Plan, it refers to a 15% reduction in car journeys. This is extremely optimistic. As is elsewhere, a 10% modal shift from 70% trips by car to 60%. This is in the ‘Hailsham Polegate Eastbourne corridor’ and would be offset by a 150% increase in cycling, 125% in bus trips and 60% more walking. Even those who have little experience in transport, will realise, what a colossal task this would be. As background, there has never been a decrease locally in car trips. Plus cycling and bus trips have reduced over the last twenty years.

So what can be done to prevent unrealistic predictions. TfSE have a clear requirement to monitor and evaluate any targets. This could be used elsewhere, to hold any predictions to account, such as large reductions in car journeys.

In summary, campaigners should request that ‘over ambitious claims’, although they may initially be welcome, should have a realistic delivery plan behind them

Paul Humphreys EEAN – Transport Group, Bespoke, Cycle East Sussex

Staying safe when cycling

How do you stay safe when cycling?

Riding a bike is a fun way to move your body, get your blood pumping and improve your health. Many of the benefits of cycling include improved circulation, increased lung capacity, healthier heart function, lower blood pressure and more toned muscles. These benefits are great for anyone of any age, but they are especially great to help older people feel younger and achieve better health.

No matter your age, it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with cycling, and how you can best overcome these. Here are three safety tips to bear in mind for your next ride.

Take it easy
Although it can be easy to get carried away while you’re busy enjoying the fresh air, it is essential to not push yourself too hard. Begin with routes that are short and not too strenuous – this will help you train your body to get used to the feel of a bike. If you notice any pain while riding, don’t ignore it – just bring your ride to an early finish. Over time you can gradually increase your speed, effort levels and distance. If you are unsure if cycling is for you, check with your doctor for peace of mind.

Consider an electric bike
Electric bikes have become increasingly popular with riders as they allow them to experience longer and more challenging rides without risking an injury. In 2020, there was almost a 50% increase in the number of searches for ‘e-bikes’, whilst between the months of January and October in the same year, one pound in every five spent on bicycles went towards an e-bike. This new technology isn’t just a gimmick – it’s helping lots of people to explore their passion for cycling, whilst minimising some of the risks.

These bikes can be used to take a little of the weight off your feet to make pedaling easier, or you can stop pedaling entirely if you’re completely worn out. They are especially helpful for helping you to scale steep hills without tiring yourself out – perfect for the adventurous

Look after your bike
Make sure you’re using a bike that is in top condition. It’s important to have your bike checked for any malfunctions that could potentially lead to accidents and have an expert assess if the bike is the right fit for your size and shape. It’s recommended to get your bike serviced once or twice a year, to ensure it remains in running condition.

You will also need to consider the way in which you store your bike. Using storage that isn’t fit for purpose can result in your bike becoming damaged, and potentially unsafe to ride. Be sure to keep it out of the elements, and locked away to deter potential thieves.

In summary
Cycling should be a fun, liberating activity, allowing you to explore more of the great outdoors at your own pace. But ignoring the dangers could increase your risk of sustaining a serious injury. Follow these tips to enjoy a safer ride, and be sure to share them with your cycling companions!

Claire Monroe – Consultant | Researcher – Digital Content & Media

Source – The Bike Storage Company

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Eastbourne drop 8% for 2020

Eastbourne Greenhouse Gas emissions for 2020 continue to decrease, as they have done for the last 15 years. Some of this is down to a 5% trend, year on year, and some of it is Covid. However the question is will it be enough ?

The latest national statistics for 2020 have been published. Everybody expected a big decrease due to the pandemic. However it still looks like at this rate the 2030 target for Eastbourne remains a long way off. An 8% reduction in 2020 is in the right direction but as life goes back to normal, following the pandemic, it will be interesting to see the data for 2021, published in a year’s time.







The Tyndall Centre analysis  believes 8% is not enough and says Eastbourne should  “Initiate an immediate programme of CO2 mitigation to deliver cuts in emissions averaging a minimum of 12.3% per year to deliver a Paris aligned carbon budget.”

Emissions per capita, for Eastbourne, using the Government methodology are 2.5 tonnes per person. This is a narrow scope as  it does not include the wider carbon footprint, such as  the transportation  and manufacture of imported goods.

An analysis that includes more is at Carbon Place  ( filter on Eastbourne) where the carbon footprint per person is 6.5 tonnes a person. ( left hand column for Eastbourne right hand is UK average ) Plus there is a useful breakdown of the embodied carbon consumption of each area of Eastbourne. It also reveals the gross inequality of carbon footprints between the richer and poorer parts of the town.

“Nationally transport greenhouse gas emissions saw a decrease of 18% in 2020 compared to 2019. This was largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as people stayed at home for large periods of 2020. Despite this large fall, transport remains the sector with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in many local authorities.”

In conclusion the 2030 Eastbourne carbon neutral target seems a long way from being reached. There needs to be a stronger commitment to climate action. This is across the community, with ever deeper collaboration between councillors, council officers, businesses and community groups to ensure that the transition away from dependence upon fossil fuels is as fast as possible

Authors – Paul Humphreys and Andy Durling

Planning – Your chance to comment on transport across the region

Transport for the South East (TfSE) has gone out to public consultation on their draft Strategic Investment Plan. It closes on 12 September 2022.

This is your opportunity to comment on the long term transport plans for the South East. A plan that has a ‘golden thread’ from the Government to East Sussex and which they hope will deliver decarbonisation, multi-modal solutions and a world class transport network. It is partly designed around increased growth and supporting businesses and it is worth highlighting it is for 2050. So if you are committed to the 2030 Eastbourne target, then this will not meet it, nor is it intended to. Your comments will have to reflect this.

Alongside East Sussex County Council (ESCC) will be starting on their Local Transport Plan (version 4). It is assumed that this will have similar themes. As in the past it is likely to end up as ‘Business as Usual’ but with the odd tweak.

Here are some extracts from the TfSE plan you might wish to consider

• Designed to deliver a faster trajectory towards net-zero than current trends, including rapid adoption of zero- emission technologies
• Deliver world class and seamlessly-integrated,sustainable urban transport systems (rail, bus,tram, ferry, cycling and walking)
• Great potential for new mobility (e.g. electric bikes and scooters) to boost active travel in the South East.
• Multi-modal and integrated

Carbon emissions are only ‘tailpipe’, also known as ‘Tank to Wheel’. This is the same methodology that is used for Local Authority carbon footprints. So an Electric Vehicle has a zero footprint the same as a pedestrian. It does not include the generation/mining of the power or its transport, the manufacture and disposal of vehicles and any indirect carbon used.

The TfSE Carbon Assessment report from 2020 admits “Even with considerably higher estimates for conversion to electric (a proxy for all zero emission technologies), “electrification” is insufficient in itself to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.

Their ‘Scenario Forecasting Summary Report’ compared Business as Usual to a Growth scenario. However this was written in 2019 and the closest to the current scenario, following Covid, is their digital scenario.

The most significant feature is cars stay the same, an increase in Public Transport and the reduction in walking and cycling (down 17%). In terms of the obesity epidemic and general health this is going in the wrong direction

Current Transport Planning in East Sussex

Most of the carbon neutral agenda for transport comes from the Government though TfSE is in a position to influence some schemes. However it is worth remembering that recent consultations , such as the A22 roundabouts (£40M) had predictions of 25% more traffic by 2039. To a large extent planning will still be based on
• Predict more cars
• Plan for more cars
• Provide for more cars

Comments you might wish to mention on your submission

*Specify actual targets for a modal shift away from private vehicles
*Not always think that the best solution is just ‘one more lane’ . This often creates induced demand
*Priority given to low carbon vehicles and way from the combustion engine. Partly covered by the 2030 petrol and diesel ban.
*Road space and priority should be re-allocated
*Commitment to better, greener and more frequent bus and train services
*Priority given to active travel to reduce congestion, increase exercise and reduce the obesity epidemic
*Bias in favour of new solutions, with lower carbon footprints, such as micro-mobility
*Strategy for freight around the ‘last mile’ and use of hubs to reduce inefficiencies

Author Paul Humphreys – Cycle East Sussex + Bespoke and Eco Action (Transport Group)

Bigger Better Bus and Cycle schemes ?

Eco-Action Transport Group have always said, that to meet the 2030 carbon target, there needs to be a modal shift away from cars and towards bus and cycling. That means re-allocating space, changing priorities and spending money.

However the Government has threatened, that funding for active travel schemes, would only be provided to councils, who have a good track record of delivering. This has the consequence that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) have recently struggled to get funding. One exception is £41M for bus improvements, though the detailed plans will need to be signed off by Department for Transport (DfT).

Recent unsuccessful bids include elements of the “Hailsham to Eastbourne Corridor” along A22/A2270, and pedestrian access in the Eastbourne Town Centre Phase 2A. Likewise the latest Active Travel ‘Covid’ funding allocated ESCC nothing,

For walking and cycling the DfT will only support schemes that comply with design guidance (LTN 1/20). They are not able to support schemes with any of the below elements:-

      • Shared use paths
      • Lack of protection at junctions
      • Cycle tracks in locations where they may not be well-used
      • Poor value for money
      • Not forming part of a coherent wider network

East Sussex County Council have contacted the DfT to discuss their failure to get funds and to get guidance for future bids specifically for cycling and walking schemes.

So what does this mean ? Both East Sussex and Eastbourne Councils believe in consultation and balancing all the various stakeholders. That has meant compromises have had to be made in terms of space allocated to bus and cycle schemes. Campaigners are of the opinion that cycling provision in the town has actually become worse.

If future schemes are to be funded then they need to meet the criteria and as the DfT state ‘Paint on the road is no longer enough‘. The danger is, in order not to upset the car lobby, then nothing will be built. With the projection of 25% more traffic locally by 2039 this can only lead to gridlock at peak times.  Plus an increase in the carbon footprint which  would seriously undermine the delivery of a Carbon Neutral Eastbourne by 2030, as mandated unanimously by all Eastbourne councillors.

Paul Humphreys – Cycle East Sussex



Refuse Collection Vehicles to use new fuel

Government and Industry are looking for transport solutions to reduce climate change. Although electric and hydrogen vehicles are being developed, there is a push for ‘drop-in’ fuels, using diesel engines, but with a lower carbon footprint.

One of these products is Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).  This will be the preferred short term solution for most of Eastbourne Borough Council’s larger vehicles. In their report “Vehicle Replacement Strategy May 2022” they write

    • “We have no option but to consider … HVO …. which is not done lightly but from a position of no immediate alternative option.
    • “Engines and vehicles with this renewable fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90%, NOx emissions by as much as 27% and Particle Matter emissions by as much as 84%,compared with conventional diesel.”
    • “The timetable proposed includes a move to electric vehicles for food waste collections by 2025 in tandem with the installation of charging infrastructure at the Courtlands Road depot, while HVO will be used during the interim period, prior to the running of a zero emission fleet in 2030.”

If HVO can be sourced sustainably then there is a case to consider it. So why the concern? – Most HVO uses farm land and the carbon footprint varies by crop and process and if supplies become harder to locate, then the cheap and common source is palm oil. In Sweden, HVO is reportedly 50% palm oil. Its manufacture in Malaysia is considered harmful to the environment and linked to deforestation and pressure on land use. Plus there is the impact of transporting it to the UK.

Horsham Council have moved to HVO and they report “We are working with one of the UK’s largest suppliers, Certas Energy, who have provided us with a certificate confirmation of sustainability and calculated that the switch to HVO should reduce our carbon emissions by up to 90%”. This will be the same for Eastbourne.

In contrast other Councils, such as Oxford have moved their fleet to electric vehicles. Range can be an issue and there is a need for large or ‘swap-out’ batteries and Ultra Rapid charging.

In summary HVO is not ideal and EBC should move to electric, as soon as practical, to help meet their 2030 carbon target.

Paul Humphreys – Eco Action Transport Group