Wednesday 29 September 2010

Cycling, council newspapers and Greenwash

Safe cycling? Grove Green Road E11, where car parking bays are the number one priority.

New proposals to limit how much money local authorities can spend on free newspapers will be announced later by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles. He said he intended to clamp down on "frivolous town hall propaganda papers" which threatened the viability of the independent local press.

Under the changes, town halls would be allowed to publish such municipal newspapers only four times a year. Their content would be restricted to factual material relating directly to council services, and include no comment or commentary.

This is excellent news. The local council’s massively subsidised 'free' fortnightly newspaper Waltham Forest News would not be out of place in North Korea. It exists simply to sing the praises of our glorious leader and his practices. And it’s full of Greenwash, designed to obscure the reality that Waltham Forest Council is bitterly hostile to cycling and walking. Crap like this, from the latest issue (which can’t even bring itself to use that controversial word ‘cycling’):

The 10:10 campaign is just the kind of pious crap that makes me reach for the sick bag. Asking drivers to give up driving in a car-centric society is futile. And in reality

Plenty of nations – like Britain – have produced what appear to be robust national plans for cutting greenhouse gases. With one exception (the Maldives), their targets fall far short of the reductions needed to prevent more than two degrees of global warming.

Even so, none of them are real. Missing from the proposed cuts are the net greenhouse gas emissions we have outsourced to other countries and now import in the form of manufactured goods. Were these included in the UK's accounts, alongside the aviation, shipping and tourism gases excluded from official figures, Britain's emissions would rise by 48%. Rather than cutting our contribution to global warming by 19% since 1990, as the government boasts, we have increased it by about 29%.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is enthusiastically pursuing policies which promote car ownership and use and which deter walking and cycling.

(Below) Pavements are for parking those extra cars for households which already have off-street parking. Foresters Drive E17 and Carnanton Road E17.