Jesmond Low Traffic Neighbourhood – our letter to Councillor Jane Byrne
Councillor Jane Byrne is the cabinet member for “Connected, Clean City” in Newcastle City Council. We wrote to Cllr Byrne on the 20th July 2022 following the unprecedented heatwave which swept across the UK and other parts of the world, driven by human-caused global heating. That letter calls for prompt delivery on Low Traffic Neighbourhood plans in Jesmond, and is published below.
Dear Coun Byrne,
We are greatly relieved to hear you speak out in support of measures to address climate change in yesterday’s Chronicle article after the record breaking temperatures driven by climate change.
Those of us who campaign for action to fight climate change are constantly disappointed by delays, backtracking and watering-down of schemes that can deliver real change. We get it – some of the changes mean people will need to change things in their day to day life and this can be a political challenge – but we cannot wait for a universal consensus and our leaders must recognise this.
Our particular area of interest is Jesmond, specifically making our streets safer and supporting safe walking and cycling. With a quarter of UK GHG emissions coming from transport, this is an impactful way we can tackle climate change at a local level.
We have been involved with council consultations and working groups for quite a number of years now, with very little change apparent. Some £430k of the £1 million allocated to Jesmond as part of the 2015 Cycle City Ambition 2 allocation (Streets for people) remains unspent. When the news that Jesmond was to be upgraded to a Low Traffic Neighbourhood with a School Street was announced, we were delighted. We know that LTNs can and have delivered real change for residents in other areas. We were advised that these schemes would be consulted on and rolled out in 2022, but we have not heard from the council since. We’re very worried about this.
We believe that all changes are local, and that addressing the climate crisis requires a union of thousands of small local actions. Space for Jesmond are therefore asking you to push ahead with a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Jesmond in 2022. With 24% of private car journeys being under 2 miles, the scope is there to make a dent in our emissions, as well as make a safer, cleaner, greener environment for the residents of Jesmond.
Ed Smith on behalf of SPACE for Jesmond