Find out more about the latest episode of the Sustainable Warwickshire Podcast
The latest episode of the Sustainable Warwickshire podcast tackles the subject of transport, which at 44%, is the biggest cause of carbon emissions in our County. Reducing this is critical if we are to reach our net zero emissions by 2050, and one of the ways this could happen is by more of us swapping some of our car journeys for active travel – walking, cycling or scooting.
In the podcast, the two guests – Warwickshire County Council Senior Transport Planner Dan Morris and local community volunteer Hazel Underwood – discuss the challenges of building new cycling infrastructure on our roads and how to support more people to start using their bikes for some of their journeys to the shops, to work or for socialising.
Hazel is the founder of Warwickshire Cycle Buddies, a scheme that matches inexperienced cyclists with more confident riders. Each buddy will cycle with the novice rider to help them with route planning and cycling skills. In the podcast, Hazel explains how this works in practice:
“For example, somebody wanted to be able to cycle to the shops but didn't feel confident being able to do that. We'd buddy them up with somebody who would take them along that route several times until they felt confident doing it on their own.”
Having initially been set up in Leamington and Warwick with funding from the first round of Warwickshire County Council’s Green Shoots community climate change fund, the scheme is now being expanded in Nuneaton and Bedworth following further investment from the second round of the scheme.
One of the topics discussed is whether cycling infrastructure should be built where there is currently a low take-up of cycling. Given the need to reduce carbon emissions, and the mental and physical health benefits of active travel though, they conclude that the need is to create a space so that people that don’t currently cycle will be encouraged to do so. In the podcast, Dan describes the approach his team are taking to planning:
“We're not just creating infrastructure for current cyclists, but we're looking at a whole new user group, so that that will encourage more and more people to make that modal shift”.
Warwickshire County Council has several initiatives to support school children and other residents to switch to active travel. This includes:
Bikeability training for school children
Community cycle training and guided rides
Support for local businesses who want to encourage more staff to use active travel through the Safe and Active Workplace Programme
Support for local primary schools who want to encourage more children to walk, cycle or scoot to school, through the Safe and Active Schools Programme
Promoting the Love to Ride platform to encourage individuals, communities and businesses to cycle more.
Rob Powell, Warwickshire County Council Strategic Director for Resources, said: “It’s good to hear about the work that is being done to support more people to cycle, both by the Council and community volunteers. I’m looking forward to hearing more stories of how Warwickshire Cycle Buddies have helped new cyclists to swap some of their car journeys for their bike. The podcast discussion really highlights the importance of cycling infrastructure and behaviour change to go hand-in-hand as we move towards our net zero commitments”.
The podcast series, called Sustainable Warwickshire, is for those people living and working in Warwickshire who care about climate change. It features conversations with people from across the County who are taking action to reduce carbon emissions and support biodiversity. It covers subjects such as energy, waste and recycling, transport, infrastructure and the green economy, whilst also giving Warwickshire residents ideas on how to get involved and play their part.
You can find the Sustainable Warwickshire podcast on Spotify or Apple by searching for “Sustainable Warwickshire”. All episodes will also be available at: https://sustainablewarwickshire.podbean.com/
For more information on the WCC Safe and Active travel schemes, visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/warwickshire-safe-active-travel
Find out more about Love to Ride in Warwickshire: https://www.lovetoride.net/warwickshire
For more information on climate change, visit https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/