transport

Do you know what a LEZ is?

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With the launch of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, we look at what is happening north of the border to improve air quality. Scotland’s local authorities are at the frontline of encouraging people out of their cars to walk, cycle or use public transport. One tool local government can use in the fight to reduce vehicle emissions – Low Emission Zones (LEZs). Glasgow’s LEZ for buses launched at the end of 2018. By 2022, it is expected that LEZs will be in full operation in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. LEZs use financial penalty to encourage people and transport providers to switch to newer, less directly polluting vehicles. The challenge facing local authorities, however, remains how we encourage more people to leave the car at home for everyday journeys, particularly our towns and cities. LEZs are a tool tested across Europe to improve local air quality, but their efficacy in increasing active travel and improving air quality to a standard that improves health is unclear.

Background

The human and environmental cost of outdoor air pollution is stark, with annual deaths estimated to be between 28,000  and 40,000 in the UK. Illness and lost productivity linked to traffic emissions costs the UK economy an estimated £20 billion each year. In Scotland, 2,500 deaths and a shortened average lifespan of 3-4 months are consequences of the air we breathe. Those consequences disproportionately affect children, older people and people with respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Poor air quality has a greater effect on people living on lower incomes. They are more likely to live in high traffic areas, own fewer cars yet experience the worst effects of traffic and air pollution.

What are low emission zones?

Sweden introduced the first LEZ in 1996 and there are now over 200 LEZs operating in 15 countries. LEZs set a minimum emission standard for vehicles entering a defined area. Only diesel vehicles manufactured from 2015 and petrol cars manufactured from 2006 are likely to meet the standards in the UK. The standards are based on Euro emission engine classifications. The use of Euro standards is unlikely to be affected by Brexit as manufacturers will still make vehicles to the same standards.

The DVLA are developing a database for the public to check their vehicle. In the interim, Transport for London have launched a checker. Charges or fines are imposed on non-compliant vehicles entering a LEZ. The types of vehicles affected vary around Europe, but the focus is usually on heavier vehicles, diesel lorries and buses. Methods of enforcement range from ANPR cameras to coloured vehicle stickers monitored by local police. In Hamburg, two streets are heavily restricted with only diesel cars and lorries meeting the Euro 6 standard able to enter. Few existing European LEZs, however, affect private cars. London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone is an exception rather than the current rule. In Scotland, the government has committed to LEZs affecting both petrol and diesel cars.

LEZs are not implemented in isolation, they are part of wider air quality action plans that seek to reduce emissions from many sources, including industry and homes. Of note is that although many LEZs in Europe were introduced with little public consultation but public compliance and support is generally high. Read the rest of this entry »

Snow Warden Scheme

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Scores of volunteers have signed up to help ensure Aberdeenshire’s roads and pavements are safe as the wintry weather continues.

The authority is regularly criticised during spells of severe weather for failing to clear side roads and paths.

However priority is given to maintain main roads and resources are stretched to grit and clear every single area.

In an effort to ease frustration and deal with the problem, Aberdeenshire Council launched a snow warden scheme which gives communities access to a range of resources from grit spreaders to full protective equipment.

As of this month, there are now 27 groups operating in the region, which amounts to 72 volunteers.

But the authority has issued a fresh appeal for more wardens, with the scheme running until April.

Applications are taken throughout the year for the initiative.

Last year, the region endured one of the worst winters in recent memory, with the council forced to go £2million over budget to treat the roads and pavements.

Roads bosses came under fire after towns and villages were left impassable after the traditional surface treatment was left redundant by thawing conditions, rainfall and freezing temperatures overnight.

This year the authority has already used about 23,300 tonnes of salt to treat surfaces since October, with a further 15,000 tonnes in stock and more than 7,000 expected to be delivered this month.

The council has also been trialling a new app which shows people where gritters are in real time and what routes have been dealt with.

The programme is currently only available on phones and tablets as My Aberdeenshire, but is likely to be made available on their website in the future.

There are 32 “primary routes” with 100 council drivers covering these, there have also been 120 farmers and 32 plough contractors on the roads to clear the snow in recent weeks.

For more information on the snow warden scheme visit www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk

 

By Press and Journal

Get Ready For Winter

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Over the next few weeks, K & M Communities would like to share with you some advice issued by our partners. This week we’re going to start with advice from the Met Office;

Met Office Weather Ready

The Met Office run an annual public information campaign which is aimed at raising awareness of, and encouraging the public to think about, risks associated with winter weather and the steps they could take to be better prepared.

Since 2011 the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ campaign has been run and implemented by the Met office and Cabinet Office and supported by a range of partner organisations with the same aim – of protecting life and wellbeing, especially during the winter months.

A review held after the 17/18 winter (‘Get Ready for Winter’) campaign indicated the need for some changes to be made, starting with the 18/19 campaign. In brief, the following was agreed upon:

* With snow in March 2018, the name ‘Get Ready for Winter’ felt less appropriate than ever. With this in mind, the name and remit of the campaign will change and will be year-round with a ‘launch’ during the Autumn and increased activity leading up to periods of severe weather.

* Previous campaigns have been purely digital. To reach the vulnerable we need to expand the non-digital content, using partners as the conduit for this information.

 Key messages to be shared

* Prepare your property and vehicle ahead of winter, and take responsibility for your own safety.

* Be aware of the latest weather forecasts and warnings from the Met Office and be prepared to alter your plans in times of severe weather. Listen to local radio for updates during times of bad weather.

* Check on the elderly and more vulnerable in your community and check on the safety of your neighbours in the case of an emergency.

Read the rest of this entry »

Adventurous Enterprise

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Tourism has long been a cornerstone of the Scottish economy – generating £6bn in the last year. This year’s good weather and low pound are projected to boost that even further. One of the fastest growing sectors in recent years across the industry worldwide has been adventure tourism, and with Scotland’s coastline, mountains and rivers it comes as no surprise that this growth is being mirrored here.

According to HIE’s Adventure Tourism in Scotland Research Report – there were at least 350 Adventure Tourism businesses operating in Scotland in 2015. More than a third of adventure tourism businesses were located in the Highland Council area, followed by 12% in Argyll and Bute and 8% in Perth and Kinross. 84% of businesses described themselves as activity and experience providers, with the remainder identifying as activity centres and attractions.

Cross sector collaboration initiatives can play an important role in developing the adventure tourism
market. Sectors such as retail and transport benefit from the tourism industry through improved infrastructure, increased footfall and repeat custom, while accommodation providers can work in tandem with adventure tourism organisations in the area to create a better-quality tourist offer to entice visitors to the area. Collaboration between social enterprise, private business and the public sector is key to increasing the quality of tourist offer available, however more could be done between social enterprise projects and with the wider tourism industry.

The Tourism Scotland 2020 strategy aims to grow Scotland’s visitor spend by £1bn in real terms, from
£4.5bn in 2011 to £5.5bn by 2020. To achieve this, the strategy has identified three key growth markets to make up the backbone of tourism revenue by 2020;

  • Home turf:
    £3,127m in 2011
    Potential £3,586m–£4,238m in 2020
    England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales.
  • Near neighbours:
    £731m in 2011
    Potential £875m–£1,035m in 2020
    Scandinavia, Germany, France, Spain, Ireland,
    Netherlands, Italy.
  • Distant cousins:
    £414m in 2011
    Potential £505m–£598m in 2020
    USA, Australia, Canada.

Adventure tourism is identified as an area which offers “significant potential for growth” within the strategy. Collaboration between local businesses in rural destinations is key to developing a tourism offer which can engineer economic growth – local assets such as hill walking and cycling can be integrated with culture, local history, food and drink to create immersive tourism packages which better reflect the local area.

Want to find out more, have a look at the Senscot briefing, makes interesting reading; https://senscot.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Adventure-Tourism-Briefing.pdf

Mexico City’s bike revolution

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It’s an eerily calm Sunday morning on the city’s Avenida Reforma, an avenue which is grid-locked on weekdays by tens of thousands of cars sitting bumper-to-bumper.

The Reforma’s closure to car traffic on Sundays in 2007 kickstarted the capital’s attempts to make life easier for cyclists. In 2010 a 17km-long bike lane through the city opened.

The car still reigns supreme in this metropolis of 22 million people, with more than four million vehicles clogging the roads every day.

Perhaps the biggest factor has been the launch of the so-called Ecobicis (Eco-bikes) in 2010. Following on from similar schemes operating in London, Paris and Barcelona, Mexico City launched a public bike rentals at 90 different sites. Since then, some 30,000 people have joined and there is a waiting list for new members. The Ecobici system is expected to expand to 75,000 users by the end of 2012, with 4,000 more bicycles made available at new sites.

The scheme is not without it’s critics with some of Mexico City’s drivers spending up to four hours a day on their journeys to work, with three separate rush-hours. Some say cyclists have only made matters worse.

One local radio host Angel Verdugo angered bike users when he called on car drivers to run over the cyclists. He said championing the new breed of cyclists was a form of racism. “They want to be like Europeans,” he says. “They believe they are living in Paris and riding along the Champs-Elysees.”

He subsequently made a public apology.

There’s no doubt that Mexico City is for the most part still a car-orientated city but it is also clear that cycling is in the ascendancy. More cycle ways are planned, and public opinion supporting active travel is growing. A car free city is, however, a long way off.

Can You Help?

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We’re looking for volunteers to take part in the following survey regarding attitudes towards low carbon vehicles. Funded by Transport Scotland under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, the 10 minute survey will help Aberdeenshire Council consider the feasibility of a Low Carbon Transport Hub.

Participants who complete this survey can opt into a prize draw to win one of:

2 pairs of Cinema Tickets
2 no £25 Amazon Shopping Vouchers

It is important to the research team that you answer ALL sections relevant to you and your household.

Survey is available for both private vehicle users and fleet vehicle users.

Private: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/lowcarbonvehicles

Fleet: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/lowcarbonbusiness

Can you help? Transport volunteers wanted.

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The hunt is on for community stars to help some of the most vulnerable people in their area. nestrans

A Grampian wide volunteer recruitment drive is being launched to find generous people to help support community transport operators across the region.

Volunteers are needed to help people to get to and from vital appointments such as health and social care.

Recruiting people with the passion and time to volunteer for a cause is a constant struggle for many organisations and the recruitment drive hopes to assist that process.

Volunteer roles can range from driving minibuses, using their own cars to transport people (for which they will receive a mileage rate) or acting as escorts to help passengers in and out of vehicles, providing support during the journey.

Volunteers can gain a huge amount of satisfaction from contributing their time and efforts;

Chris Rowe, who started volunteering 2 years ago said “I get satisfaction knowing that I help others to get to their appointments, shopping or visiting friends”.

Madge Forsyth has been volunteering for 14 years: “The smile on people’s faces when I pick them up to take them to their appointments is all the reward I need”.

As well as helping recruit more volunteers, the aim of the project is to establish and build relationships with partners across the health, social care and transport sectors. These relationships are essential in delivering the objectives of the Health and Transport Action Plan (HTAP), designed to improve partnership working across a range of transport and health related issues with access to services being a key issue.

HTAP Programme Manager, Andrew Stewart, said “The recruitment drive is one example of how partner organisations can support each other in achieving improved access for residents.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering opportunities should contact the Transport to Health Information Centre (THInC) on (01224) 665568. THInC can also provide information on how to get to health and social care appointments by public transport.

For more information on the recruitment drive, please contact Andrew Stewart, HTAP Programme Manager on 01224 664092 or by emailing mailto:andrew.stewart@aberdeenshire.gov.uk