“The frequency and intensity of hot extremes, including marine heatwaves, have increased in recent decades and are projected to keep increasing regardless of the greenhouse gas emissions scenario. Critical thresholds relevant for ecosystems and humans are projected to be exceeded for global warming of 2°C and higher (high confidence).”
Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group I – The Physical Science Basis, IPCC, Aug 2021
Climate breakdown is happening and even if the challenge is a complex and global one, we can help at an individual level. Road transport is a substantial source of air pollutants in Brent (22%) and emissions are rising. Reducing them is a key part of combating climate change as well as benefiting our health. Car journeys represent 55% of UK transport emissions and nearly 60% of journeys driven are less than 5 miles.
The next elections will see individuals elected to represent you during one of the most important mandates of all time. They will be responsible for overseeing local policies that will feed into what others do in London, in the UK, in Europe and in the world to try to avert a complete and irreversible climate breakdown.
Cycling is part of the solution but it must be enabled so if you want to choose cycling, you can. Each and every one of the Brent councillors have the power to create a safe space for cycling. The Council manages 95% of the roads in Brent. That’s 504 km (315 miles) of roads, 49 bridges and structures. Brent has some of the most polluted roads in London, and every candidate standing in the May 2022 elections needs to understand that political will is no longer optional. We are running out of time and we need leadership.
We know the solution
We know what needs to be done, there’s enough local and global evidence. Enough of this piecemeal approach, we need a comprehensive strategy and rapid implementation of a safe, connected and inclusive cycling network in Brent. This needs to happen alongside softer measures. Neither work in isolation from each other. This emergency requires it. Cycling has a very low carbon footprint, it’s practical, it’s healthy and it’s kind to local communities. Two out of three trips can be walked or cycled in Brent.
It’s time to tell your current and future councillors, you choose clean air and safe streets. You want to choose cycling. To travel to work, to school, to visit friends, to go to the local park, to the shops, for an outing with the children, with mobility or sensory impairment, you want to choose cycling.
Over to you
Tell the council you demand better conditions now to support your choice. Tell them how much it matters to you that they understand what it means to truly address the issues around transport in tackling the climate emergency. We need leadership and decisions based on evidence. They need to choose between keeping the status quo or change. More of us are asking, more likely we will succeed in bringing the long-overdue change we need.
Invite your local councillors to ride with you in your neighbourhood. Show them and let them experience the barriers you encounter when you choose cycling to go to the local shops, do the school run or visit the local park.