Green Mayoral candidate, Climate Emergency leader, and UWE transport expert call on the Metro Mayor and Council leaders not to approve the Joint Local Transport Plan in its current form next month, stating that proposed new roads will worsen the climate crisis and congestion. The trio have called for an urgent review of the plans, and are encouraging residents to sign a petition.
Transport planners have released new proposals for transport in the West of England (known as Joint Local Transport Plan or JLTP4) over the next 10 years . The report acknowledges the need to take urgent action to get the region’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, but at the same time proposes to build 10 new roads and widen five more, destroying countryside and suburban fringes around Bristol.
Dr Steve Melia, Senior Lecturer in Transport and Planning at the University of the West of England, has set up a petition calling on the Combined Authority and local Council leaders to urgently review their proposed roadbuilding plans. He said,
“The plan is a bizarre document, like it was written by two groups of people with totally different views. One group says: all four authorities have declared climate emergencies; we must take urgent action to decarbonise by 2030. The other says: we must build and widen lots of roads to boost economic growth.
“The trouble is, providing more and better public transport, walking and cycling facilities on its own doesn’t make much difference to carbon emissions – you have to reduce car traffic at the same time. The easiest way to do that is by reducing the road space available to cars, reallocating some of it for walking, cycling and public transport. The Transport Plan mentions this as a possibility, but then destroys its own argument by adding lots of road building.” 
Sandy Hore-Ruthven, the Green Party’s candidate for Bristol Mayor, agreed,
“The West of England is at a pivotal moment where we can choose mass transit, or mass congestion. We can choose to spend millions of pounds on 3 miles of road, or on an excellent public transport system. If the Labour Mayor and Conservative Metro Mayor go ahead with these plans to build so many new roads it will commit us to even more congestion and carbon emissions.
“I have stood in support of the campaign against the South Bristol Ring Road near Stockwood as an example how these proposals are a waste of money and will not Get Bristol Moving. The money set aside for this new road building programme should be spent on new mass transit, better buses, cycling and walking routes. If the Metro Mayor and Mayor of Bristol are serious about the climate emergency then they should put their money where their mouth is, stop building roads and invest in sustainable transport instead.”
Carla Denyer, the Bristol Green councillor who proposed the city’s Climate Emergency declaration in 2018 , added,
“It’s intensely frustrating that WECA, who followed Bristol’s lead in declaring a Climate Emergency , have produced a plan that is so singularly unhelpful in tackling it. Declaring a Climate Emergency is only the first step, it must be followed by bold and urgent action or it is worthless. So this plan is a very worrying sign that some of the Council leaders who make up WECA, all of whom signed up to the Climate Emergency declaration, may not have fully grasped its meaning. Or worse, were they jumping on the bandwagon to get a little bit of positive press coverage with no intention of following through?
“The plans are due to be formally adopted on 20th March, so we have a small window of opportunity to persuade the decision-makers to change their minds. I hope that everyone who shares my concern will sign Steve’s petition  and write to the Metro Mayor and the leaders of their local Council, before it’s too late.”
The Joint Local Transport Plan was published in January, and is due to be discussed at North Somerset Council on 18th February and Bristol’s Cabinet on 3rd March, before the West of England Joint Committee decide whether to adopt the plan on 20th March. (South Gloucestershire Council discussed it on 12th February and Bath & North East Somerset Council will make a single member decision.)
The West of England Overview and Scrutiny committee, chaired by Bristol councillor Stephen Clarke, has already called for a review of the plan. On 31st January it submitted a report to the Combined Authority saying,
“We believe that WECA should revisit the prioritisation of the major schemes list that was decided before the declaration of the Climate Emergency and re-assess them in the light of the emergency.”
- Joint Local Transport Plan 4 sets out the vision for transport in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire up to 2036. https://travelwest.info/projects/joint-local-transport-plan
- Dr Steve Melia expanded on the problem in his Bristol Cable article: https://thebristolcable.org/2020/01/plans-for-new-road-threaten-bristols-countryside-and-undo-action-on-the-climate-crisis/#article-top
- All four Councils in the West of England, plus the West of England Combined Authority, have declared a Climate Emergency. https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/climate-emergency-declared-west-england-combined-authority/
- Petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/public-transport-not-road-building-in-the-west-of-england
A defunct plan for a bygone era” - regional authority approves road-building plans
Last Friday (20 March) the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) approved a transport plan that will fund new road building projects across the region but commits no funding for public transport or walking and cycling schemes.
Greens: 'lift the ban' on asylum seekers working
Green Councillors call for end to illogical ban on asylum seekers supporting themselves
Council heading in wrong direction on climate emergency
Over a year after Bristol Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, Green Councillors say the Labour administration are making a series of bad decisions that will only make the emergency worse.
Mayor's inaction on air pollution - plans delayed again
Letter on the Mayor's inaction on air pollution from Green Group leader Eleanor Combley
Labour cabinet pass 'potentially illegal' transport plan
Last night Bristol’s Labour cabinet passed a regional transport plan that Greens warned is incompatible with the climate emergency and may be illegal under the UK’s climate commitments.
Greens criticise lack of action as climate and transport proposal is blocked
Green councillors have criticised what they called a “business as usual” approach as Labour and Tory councillors voted down a Green amendment to tackle Bristol’s transport issues and reduce carbon emissions.
Green Party welcomes Greta Thunberg to Bristol
Greta Thunberg has announced she will be visiting Bristol on Friday 28 February to join a Youth Strike 4 Climate demo.
Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis
Green Councillors have submitted an amendment to next week’s Council budget meeting to deal with Bristol's gridlocked transport system and boost the Council’s work to tackle the climate emergency.
Region’s Transport Plan must be changed in light of Climate Emergency
Green Mayoral candidate, Climate Emergency leader, and UWE transport expert call on the Metro Mayor and Council leaders not to approve the Joint Local Transport Plan in its current form next month, stating that proposed new roads will worsen the climate crisis and congestion.
Bristol Airport expansion plans rejected
Press Release from Bristol Airport Action Network (BAAN), one of the key campaigning organisations .
Chocolate Path 'melts' into river after council fails to act
Green Councillors have accused Bristol's Labour administration of “enormous incompetence” for failing to carry out important works to repair Bristol’s ‘chocolate path’ long after funding was approved in September 2018, leading to its recent collapse and the closure of Cumberland road.
Why we need to tackle the ecological emergency too
Carla Denyer writes for 24/7 about why we need to address the Ecological Emergency as well as the Climate Emergency
Greens to join march against Bristol Airport Expansion
Bristol Green Councillors will be joining a march taking place 31 January in the city against the expansion of Bristol airport, as the planning decision in North Somerset draws nearer, with the date now set for 10 Feb.
Council passes Green motion to ‘reboot democracy’ with Citizens' Assemblies
At Full Council today (14 January) a Green Party motion passed to ‘reboot democracy’, committing Bristol to trialling participatory democracy schemes such as citizens’ assemblies.
Mayor continues to support airport expansion
Despite growing pressure from climate activists, local councils and Greens, Bristol’s Labour Mayor Marvin Rees continues to back the expansion of Bristol Airport, a development Greens say is incompatible with Bristol's own carbon neutrality targets.
'Reboot democracy' with Citizens' Assemblies
Green Councillors in Bristol have proposed putting decision making on some major issues in the hands of ordinary Bristolians through ‘Citizens’ Assemblies’ and other forms of participatory democracy.
Bristol Labour block opportunity to oppose airport expansion
Labour and Tory councillors voted against providing time to debate the Green motion in what could be the last chance for the council to make a statement before the planning decision at North Somerset Council.
Rescuing Our Healthcare - with £6 billion per year
We will push the government to prioritise the health and happiness of those in Bristol and across the UK.
Green Party Manifesto - to tackle Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.
A Green New Deal to tackle the Climate Emergency and deliver Social Justice.
One year on from declaring a Climate Emergency – is Bristol on track?
One year after declaring a Climate Emergency in Bristol, Greens say new information from environmental group shows the city needs to radically step up action to meet climate targets.
Green candidate Carla Denyer will be only ‘Unite to Remain’ candidate in Bristol West
Greens bid to win Bristol West – launch crowdfunder
Candidate Carla Denyer has launched a crowdfunder campaign aiming to raise enough funds to take the seat from Labour. Greens in strong position to win after Euro results place them ahead of Lib Dems, and Labour suffered devastating electoral defeat.
‘Tinkering around the edges is no longer good enough’ say Greens
Green Mayoral Candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven responds to the Mayor’s State of the City address saying Bristol needs action not words. Greens say bold, immediate moves are needed to combat the social and environmental crises.
Report on former Chief Exec payoff
Green Councillor Clive Stevens has completed a report into why the Council made a £98,000 payoff to former chief executive Anna Klonowski
Greens send letter to the city to encourage all to hear Extinction Rebellion warning
Green MP and Mayoral candidates Carla Denyer and Sandy Hore-Ruthven have issued a letter to the people of Bristol today, calling on the city to face up to the climate crisis.
Better buses starts with tackling congestion, say Greens
At a Cabinet meeting today (1 October), Greens called for bolder action to improve public transport in Bristol.
Mayor misses third government deadline on Clean Air plan
Today Bristol City Council has missed the third deadline set by national government to submit a plan to clean up Bristol’s air. Green Mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven has called for immediate action.
Nearly 1 year after Climate Emergency declared, progress is too slow, say Greens
The Green Councillor who launched Bristol’s ‘Climate Emergency’ motion in November 2018 has called on councillors from all parties to join her in pressing the administration for urgent action.
Green Party sets sights on second Westminster seat – Bristol West
Bristol West MP candidate Carla Denyer launched her campaign at the Bristol climate strike. Her climate emergency declaration was the first in Europe – driving action on climate change across the continent. Greens aim to elect a second MP to join Caroline Lucas in Westminster after European Elections win.
Green Party chooses Climate Emergency campaigner Carla Denyer to win Bristol West parliamentary seat
Former wind turbine engineer and current city councillor, Carla Denyer, has been picked to contest the winnable seat of Bristol West for the Green Party at the coming General Election.