Meeting will debate air quality and congestion in Leighton Buzzard

Dash Direct bus service has cut traffic by over 17% above predicted levels for Southern Leighton Buzzard. PNL-180203-113544001
Dash Direct bus service has cut traffic by over 17% above predicted levels for Southern Leighton Buzzard. PNL-180203-113544001

Tackling congestion and improving air quality in Leighton Buzzard will be the focus of a public meeting at All Saints Church later this month.

South West Beds MP Andrew Selous, Stephen Joseph of Campaign for Better Transport, Jenny Bates of Friends of the Earth and Esther Clarke of BuzzCycles and Leighton Linslade Low Carbon Town will be addressing the meeting, which takes place on Saturday, March 17, from 10.30am to 12noon.

Cycle ride on Riverside Walk PNL-180203-113534001

Cycle ride on Riverside Walk PNL-180203-113534001

The meeting will tackle how congestion not only makes life difficult for all in Leighton Buzzard but harms business, economy and health, especially children’s, through air pollution.

If traffic could be cut by up to 20% as has happened elsewhere or even just by 5-10% at peak times this could make all the difference to reducing congestion and improving air quality. This could be done by supporting safe, practical, low cost and realistic alternatives such as walking, cycling and better buses etc.

Mr Selous has spoken in the House of Commons on February 22 about air quality, saying: “This is not only an issue of fundamental social justice for many of our poorer citizens but about strengthening the UK economy. Let us make sure that England is at the forefront, socially just and globally competitive on this issue.”

Mr Selous is also co-chair of the All Parliamentary Cycling Group.

Stephen Joseph is the Executive Director of Campaign for Better Transport, an influential national organisation who have successfully campaigned for the part-time rail season tickets, and opening new railways stations, supported bus campaigners across the country including helping Leighton Buzzard to get the government funding for the cycle parking at the railway station as well as for Dash Direct bus service which has cut traffic by over 17% above predicted levels for Southern Leighton Buzzard.

Jenny Bates is the senior campaigner for Friends of the Earth Clean Air Campaign which is supporting community groups campaigning for clean air across the country.

Esther Clarke is coordinator of Leighton Linslade Christian Ecology Group and a key member of Buzzcyles which successfully campaigned for Leighton Buzzard to be a “Cycling Town” in 2009-11 , has recently taken both Andrew Selous and Cllr Jamieson on for a cycling tour around Leighton Buzzard to see the gaps in the network make it difficult to cycle instead of using their car and has produced a new updated cycling strategy which if implemented could really help some people take to cycling so freeing up the road for others.

She said: “Small low cost improvements to cycling infrastructure could give 5-10% of people a realistic and attractive alternative to using the car, and that would mean a 5-10% reduction in congestion. It is just a matter of political will.”

South Beds Friends of the Earth, last March did a snapshot measurement of air quality in Leighton Buzzard which revealed that although not over the limits, areas such as the pavement by the Vimy road roundabout and Tesco used as a walking route by many school children had high levels of pollution (30.87 µg/m³). Levels on Leston Road outside Morrisons were also high at 29.9 µg/m3.

The meeting is organised by Leighton Linslade Low Carbon Town which is a partnership between Leighton Linslade Christian Ecology Group and South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth.

For more information contact Facebook Leighton Linslade Low Carbon Town or Victoria Harvey on vapharvey@btinternet.com, or 07815 817108.