Responding to the Climate Emergency will require a shift from Private to Public Transport Transport.
Originally published by Nick Hollinghurst - promoting social democracy as a Liberal Democrat and working for a greener world!
The Climate Emergency is upon us. It'll get worse still before it gets better. The top priority for every individual & government is to work hard to slow it down & turn it around. If we don't start making some serious political and life-style changes then at best our great grandchildren will face horrible conditions - and at worst they mightn't be there at all.
At a personal level, we have to try to limit our travel especially using fossil fuel powered vehicles. At a political level we need to limit air travel and accept that publicly supported road and rail transport must be appropriately provided.
And we must do similarly dramatic things in every other field of activity that generates carbon dioxide, heating, manufacturing, food production, materials uses - as well as recycling elements, metals, compounds, chemicals.
Put simply we need to use and consume less stuff. But that's another story.
For the moment the focus is on transport, and things are starting to happen. As usual, of course, it can be the multitude of smaller, less spectacular measures that cumulatively bring the greatest benefit - and are easier for people to understand and accept.
We've all heard too much already about the controversial and over-designed HS2. Much more interesting for us locally is the more modest East-West Rail Project, which promises to restore faster, greener and more efficient rail transport between Oxford and Cambridge and provide a railfreight corridor between the southern Midlands and the East Coast saving hundreds of thousands of HGV journeys per year.
But projects are often discussed for decades before somehow evaporation or otherwise disappearing, so its very good to be able to report that this one at least has started to show visible signs of progress. As a result of a deal between Network Rail and Deutsche Bahn, who owned the franchise for Chiltern
Railways, a link was provided at Bicester to enable trains to head south to London - and this was the justification for a renewal of the railway between Oxford and Bicester. This in turn made the next stage feasible and work has started on the rebuilding of the line from Bicester to Bletchley. With the highly visible and hugely expensive replacement of the Bletchley Flyover also started it was clear that the project is definitely underway as far as Bedford at least, with active planning now taking place for the extension to Cambridge.
Somewhat too far to the north to give direct benefit to West Hertfordshire, but there promises to be some reduction of freight on the West Coast Main Line and a reduction of the pressure on road traffic across the East of England Region.
Pictures with permission of Phil Marsh