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November 21, 2007

The Sustrans Big Lottery bid - your vote needed!

Another impression from being away for 13-years is how backward the UK is compared to many other countries around the world in terms of providing sustainable transport alternatives for people - bicycle paths and lanes in particular. For poorer countries like India and China bicycles are the preferred method of travel mainly for economic reasons (people would start using a car in a heartbeat if they could afford one). But travelling through continental Europe - Germany, Austria and Belgium in particular, countries at least on a par with the UK economically - I was struck how advanced they are with the whole process of providing safe environments for cyclists and walkers to travel adjacent to established roads and thoroughfares both in the towns and the countryside. Sometimes almost to the point of irritation in terms of how prescriptive they were.

Sustrans is one organization that is actively working towards sustainable transport solutions for the UK however. As the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity its vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. Their Connect2 initiative is currently shortlisted with three other contenders for 50 million pounds of Big Lottery money that, if they win, will go towards creating 79 bicycle paths, bridges and walkways nationwide. I was invited yesterday to help promote their initiatives in Devon and Dorset which include a 1.8km traffic-free route in Newton Abbot and plans to construct a bridge over the River Otter in Ottery St. Mary, to create a safe, traffic free pathway away from the busy main road. You can find out more details on their Big Lottery bid here. For residents of the UK please consider giving them your vote starting the 26th of this month. To me it’s a win-win situation; riding a bike whenever possible means carbon neutral travel, saving money and keeping fit. And while the other three contenders are certainly worthy causes, the Sustrans Connect2 bid is the only one that will directly affect local communities nationwide.


Posted on November 21, 2007 7:34 AM