Other Campaign News
The Chair and the AGM
In normal times we hold our Annual General Meeting in June and elect (or nominate) the committee for the next 12 months. Of course these are not normal times and we have therefore postponed our AGM to the autumn, when we hope that we can get together in person.
This year we will be looking for a new Chair as Adrian Lawson, our current Chair, is standing down. Adrian put himself forward for the position of Chair of the Reading Cycle Campaign back in 2008 to fill a position that was perennially vacant.
Adrian has chaired our committee meetings for 12 years and has seen the transition from being hosted in committee members’ houses to our more permanent home in RISC. Adrian discharged his chairing duties with a remarkable knowledge of what was going on, both in the world of cycling and also on wider environmental issues.
As Chair Adrian would regularly interject numerous topical anecdotes to our meetings and then, after two hours, realise that the meeting needed to be wound up quickly so that he could get back home to attend to his dogs.
Whilst the basic role of the Chair of a voluntary organisation is simply to run the meetings, there is a more nebulous side to the position, which is to act as a figurehead for the cause. Over the years Adrian used his extensive network of contacts, his passion and his eloquence to fulfil this, albeit with perhaps a few ruffled Council feathers in his wake.
Anyone who knows Adrian – and it’s remarkable just how many people do – will know that he is involved across a range of causes and activities, from volunteering for the Reading Refugee Support Centre to providing cycle awareness training for HGV drivers, to watching birds around the Kennet meadows at times when most normal people are fast asleep.
But it is Adrian’s ardent commitment to tackle climate change that has led him to relinquish his role on the RCC committee, instead concentrating his energy into action to reduce biodiversity loss and greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee would like to record its thanks to Adrian for 12 years as Chair – he has been a font of ideas for promoting cycling and creating a more cycle-friendly Reading and we will miss his input.
So, we are looking for a new Chair at a time when it seems that national and local government is actually waking to the idea that cycling could help solve some of our modern day problems. If you’re interested then do get in touch – bird watching is not a requirement.
Meetings in the Time of Covid-19
The RCC committee meets every other month, and like many organisations we have switched these from physical meetings to virtual meetings using Zoom whilst we are required to observe social distancing.
Our bi-monthly committee meetings alternate with Open Meetings where all members are invited, and in June we held our first Open Meeting by Zoom. If you want to be invited to any of the Zoom meetings email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make or Break for Transport in Reading
Reading Council is consulting on its Transport Strategy to 2036. That takes us six years beyond 2030, the date when Reading aims to be ‘carbon neutral’.
The Transport Strategy is not just another document – it will influence how the Council treats transport in our town for the next 15 years.
In the past we have had lots of admirable words about ‘sustainable transport’ and ‘active travel’, and yet we are all painfully aware of how little has really changed since RBC formulated its first Local Transport Plan in 2001. Now it’s make or break time: the climate crisis is looming so large that even our politicians have noticed.
To be fair this draft strategy is different from its predecessors. It states that maintaining the status quo is not an option and mentions previously taboo subjects, such as road user charging and reallocation of road space.
Yet for sustainable transport the target is to increase the number of people regularly cycling from 5% now to just 10% in 2036. Viewing this figure it seems that the Council is expecting that all the unsustainable car journeys are going to be replaced by bus journeys.
However, in the last few weeks we have seen a huge surge in cycling in response to quiet roads and the desire for exercise and activity.
So take a look at the consultation and make your view known, it’s open until 30 August. Let the Council know if you support road reallocation, give your opinions on where cycling sits in the mix.
There is a lot to digest within the draft strategy, so here are some pointers:
- Chapter 5 sets out policies. Policy RTS 14 covers cycling.
- Chapter 6 sets out schemes. Active travel is covered on Pages 123- 128.
- The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) produced in 2019 forms a sub- strategy to the main document.
- LCWIP Appendices G & J outline the specific plans for improving the road network to encourage cycling.
Our thoughts on the LCWIP are outlined in this post.
The consultation can be found on: https://consult.reading.gov.uk/