Transport 2000 Cambs & W Suffolk

Newsletter 53, April 1996


The Real World is a coalition of 30 campaigning groups and charities aimed at ensuring that the issues that matter get on to the political agenda. Transport 2000 is one of its partners. Other groups involved in transport campaigning and T2000 affiliates include Alarm UK (the anti-roads campaign), Friends of the Earth, Sustrans, the Town & Country Planning Association and the World Wide Fund for Nature. Also included are well known anti-poverty campaigners, both in this country and internationally, such as Oxfam and Save the Children; and groups which aim to change our political culture such as Charter 88 and the New Economics Foundation.

The motivation behind the formation of the coalition is the recognition that all the aims are inter-related to some extent. They all reflect on the failings of an outlook that considers Gross National Product to be the aim of all political activity. If we can challenge that outlook, it will become much easier to solve the problems that beset our society. In particular, the Real World wants to ensure that social and environmental issues play a full part in the political debate prior to the next general election, and to avoid the fiasco in 1992 when the minutiae of taxation became the main preoccupation of the media to the exclusion of virtually all else.

The various problems are also inter-related in other ways. For example the car culture is a main cause of environmental destruction; but it is also related to the polarisation of wealth (the more people spend on cars the less they are prepared to contribute towards maintaining our social fabric); the distortion of democracy (the needs of people who don't have cars are marginalised); and the destruction of community life (because close-knit neighbourhoods have been replaced by amorphous suburbs).

The Real World has set out an action programme for the next government. Put this to your parliamentary candidates and ask them if they will endorse these aims, make them a feature of their campaigns, and press for them within their party, and within Parliament if elected. Parties are asked to commit themselves to implementing the action programme within their first term. The programme is as follows:

  1. Invest GBP 10 bn public funds over 10 years in local, community and voluntary enterprises, to create work opportunities and meet social needs. There should also be an anti-poverty programme involving making taxation more progressive and eliminating the poverty trap.
  2. ``Ecological tax reform'', to shift taxes from labour to resources and pollution. This should be done in such a way as not to disadvantage the worse off -- unlike the present government's implementation of VAT on fuel.
  3. Enact a Bill of Rights after public debate on its contents. This should establish individual citizenship rights and give autonomy to local and regional government (including Scottish and Welsh parliaments).
  4. Achieve within 10 years the UN target for aid to undeveloped countries of 0.7% of national income. At least 0.5% should be achieved within the first term of office. At least 20% of aid should be allocated to social and environmental priority areas such as basic health, primary education, water and sanitation. We also need to work towards reform of international institutions such as the World Bank and IMF.
  5. 1 million affordable homes within 10 years. This would go with a reform of the housing finance system.
  6. Reduce road traffic by 10% between 1990 and 2010 as a first step towards deeper reductions. The measures recommended will be familiar to most of you -- reorient land use planning to people rather than cars, improve rail and bus services, make walking and cycling safer and more pleasant, enforce speed limits in residential areas, revive service provision in rural areas, and increase motoring taxes to finance public transport investment, lower fares, and the restoration of facilities for rail and water freight.
  7. Reduce CO2 emissions by 20% between 1990 and 2005 as a first step towards deeper reductions. Here too the need should be evident to readers. Key measures include the promotion of recycling, insultation and renewable energy.
  8. Promote an enforecable code of conduct on international arms transfers, to include conditions relating to recipient countries and public disclosure of information, and incorporating a ban on making, stockpiling, exporting and using anti-personnel mines.
  9. Increase the consumption of fresh and nutritious food especially in deprived areas. There should be a target of reducing low birthweight babies from 7% to 3% by 2005. This involves reform of the Common Agriculture Policy to support less intensive farming and maintain family farms. There should also be measures to encourage local production and distribution, and to maintain high street and small shops as opposed to out of town supermarkets that may be inaccessible without a car.
  10. Promote effective regulation of international trade at European and global levels with the aim of safeguarding social and environmental standards. This would include (national and European) legislation requiring companies to disclose information on their international operations. This would be of great benefit to the poorer countries, but it would also help workers in the richer countries who at present face ``social dumping'' because of the threat of transfer of production to countries with low or unenforced social and environmental standards.
  11. Protect Sites of Special Scientific Interest. This should be the flagship measure of a programme of encouraging sustainable rural development both in this country and internationally.
  12. Publish a measure of economic welfare which includes social and environmental factors, and monitor the countribution of government economic and social policy towards it. The conventional measure of welfare measures the value of goods and services by their price. This is totally misleading -- many goods and services are not tradeable (how does one secure clean air and safe streets, for example) and, even for those that are, their production may involve the imposition of external costs on others, or the depletion of natural resources. (Note: the World Resources Institute has recently come out with the prediction that oil production will start to decline after 2007 because of lack of accessible resources.) The New Economics Foundation has its own measure which puts sustainable economic welfare per capita at about a sixth of total GNP in 1990. That is, the negative effects of our present economic system cancel out 5/6 of the value of production. By contrast in 1950 the value of only 60% of production was cancelled. This explains why, although our GNP has more than doubled, we are no better off than then. Note that we were getting steadily better off in the 60's and early 70's, but since then we have been moving steadily downhill.

The Real World can be contacted via the Town & Country Planning Association's office at 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AS, tel. 0171 930 8903. They have published free leaflets ``Welcome to the Real World'' and ``Action Programme for Government'' (from which much of the above is summarised), together with a book ``The Politics of the Real World'' obtainable from the TCPA or other member organisations at the reduced price of GBP 5 + 50p p&p, compared with GBP 6.99 from bookshops. The book includes brief descriptions and contact addresses for each member organisation.

Transport 2000 news.

Transport 2000 HQ has sent us copies of a local groups handbook with the aim of encouraging local groups to be more active. If you want a copy, ring or write to Basil Bonner -- there's no charge to branch and national members. If you would like to volunteer yours services in any capacity, ring or write to Graham Hill. Addresses and phone numbers are at the head of this newsletter.

The time has come round again for renewing your membership. Unless you have already paid or are a national supporter, your 1996 subscription will be due before we issue our next newsletter. A renewal form is enclosed.

Members who wish to attend Cambridge Friends of the Earth Transport Campaign meetings should note that Cambridge FOE will be vacating their Bath House office at the end of this month. Contact David Earl for details of future meetings.

The Secretary will be away until the end of July. Correspondence about Transport 2000 should be addressed to Basil Bonner at the address at the head of this newsletter. The Secretary can be contacted as follows. Between 29 April and 22 May: send mail to the Department of Mathematics, University of Chicago, 5734 University Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA. Fax: 001 312 702 9787. Between 28 May (possibly later) and 28 July: send mail to Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8, Canada. Fax: 001 514 848 4511. Short messages can be transmitted by writing to or ringing Andrew Simpson at the Secretary's address and asking him to email them on.

Finally, Transport 2000 HQ has sent us a model constitution which we plan to discuss at an Extraordinary General Meeting in September, together with other business deferred from our AGM. Details of when and where will be in our next newsletter. We have made some amendments to the model; any comments on the following should be addressed to one of our Committee (Basil or Graham while the Secretary's away). A copy of the proposed constitution is enclosed with this newsletter. Note that, as stated therein, in future we plan to hold our AGM's in the autumn; this is to fit in with a requirement from Transport 2000 HQ for us to submit our financial statements to them at this time of year, as a condition for the receipt of ``kickbacks'' from National Supporters who live in our area.

Rail news.

The privatisation process continues to disadvantage rail users. It has been leaked to the press that the new all-line railway timetable will no longer include any details of bus services, and will also omit many connectional facilities. And ticketing regulations were changed in January; a key alteration is that one can no longer use more than one ticket to cover a given journey unless the train stops at the station where one is changing from one ticket to the other, or unless one ticket is a season ticket or both are zonal tickets. This would seem to mean, for example, that anyone wishing to use a London Travelcard to travel outside London will have to pay extra or use a train that stops at the boundary station.

A recent issue of the Railway Development Society newsletter highlighted the potential for integrating trams with conventional trains using the same stretches of track -- a system that has been perfected in the German city of Karlsruhe. A description of the system (in English) can be obtained from the RDS by sending a cheque for GBP 1 to Tony Smale (RDS Sales Officer), Broadheath, Fishers Hill, Catisfield, Fareham, Hants PO15 5QY. This handout describes the model as being suitable for city regions of at least 200,000 people -- and Cambridge falls into this category. A tramway might also help to solve the problem of providing the needed link between St Ives and Huntingdon.

Cambs bus news.

The March issue of Travel Times contains details of the cuts agreed by the February meeting of the Traffic & Minor Improvements Committee, whose agenda we reported in the last newsletter. The main modifications are that Sunday route 336 is extend to March (and renumbered 337) to replace part of the 380, and that service 399 (Huntingdon to Littlehey Prison) has been reprieved pending its referral to the Transport Services Committee. We are continuing to press for extension of the new combined 473/7 (St Neots to St Ives) to Ely (linking with the 19 to Cambridge and 156 to Ipswich) and St Neots Tesco (linking with the X5 to Cambridge and Oxford), but have made some modifications to make it easier to amalgamate this route with the 399. Otherwise our comments on these changes are as in our last newsletter. Apart from the above there is little to say.

Sunday bus news.

We understand that the Sunday Rover ticket mentioned in Travel Times (April) will cost GBP 5 adult with reductions for OAP's, children and families. There will be a network maps covering all participating counties. We have not yet seen any timetable publicity, though, and don't know to what extent people will find it easier to get network-wide timetables.

The following services have changed or will change soon:

Rail replacement facilities for Wrabness and Gt Bentley are withdrawn. Remaining services (102 and 129) are not being diverted to cover the missing links.
Route 380 (Chelmsford-Tilbury Ferry, 4 hourly) is replaced by the 382 (Grays-Tilbury Ferry, hourly).
Will no longer serve Stansted Airport, but will be improved otherwise.

We have some information on summer Sunday services in various counties:

Minor changes to routes 66, 77, 78, 79 and 88. The 99 (serving Cholesbury) will be withdrawn -- a pity, as it is the prettiest of them all. Sunday Rovers will be valid on the Northants CC Stowe Saunterbus. Stowe is also accessible by the 66 from Aylesbury and Buckingham every Sunday from 14 April.
Only minor changes to most routes in the Peak District. The B2 and 444 will not run, but there will be new services linking Swadlincote with Kedleston and Hope with Treak Cliff and Derwent. These services build on the success of last year's Hope Valley Explorer train service.
Routes 746 (Bromley to Tunbridge Wells) and 797 (Tunbridge Wells to Tenterden) will run again. No information about other services.
The Saunterbus has already started. This year there are six routes. The routes of the John Clare (9/6, 7/7, 21/7, 14/8, 1/9), Heritage (27/5, 14/7, 7/8, 18/8) and Rockingham (28/4, 19/5, 16/6, 4/8, 22/8) Saunters are unchanged. The Brampton Valley Saunter (5/5, 2/6, 11/8, 26/8, 15/9) no longer serves Holdenby House. The remaining route is replaced by the Danetre Saunter (12/5, 26/5, 23/6, 1/8) serving Holdenby and Braunston, and the Stowe Saunter (6/5, 30/6, 28/7, 25/8, 8/9) serving Buckingham, Stowe, Sulgrave and Canons Ashby. Note that some of the dates are weekdays; on these access from Cambs will be easier. Use the X3 (or X5 to Buckingham) from Cambridge and St Neots, or the X65 from Peterborough and Oundle.
The 66 (Guildford-Farnham circular) is being withdrawn, and other services in the Surrey Hills modified.

Other bus news.

The Herts school bus services referred to in the last issue serve St Edmunds College on the A10, providing links with Cheshunt, Bps Stortford, Hitchin (via Baldock) and Welwyn GC. These are in the current East Herts timetable which also shows the 446 route linking Saffron Walden and Brent Pelham. In the same area it is worthy of note that the last 331 (17.10 from Hertford) links with the 146 to Cambridge on Thursday and Friday. Cambridge Coach Services has started a new route 76 linking Heathrow and Stansted with Dunmow, Braintree, Colchester and Ipswich. Another new airport service is the Chiltern Rail Link, which from June will link Heathrow with Gerrards Cross. The 724 will no longer serve Stansted (as on Sundays). Route 290 (Oxford-London via High Wycombe) has been curtailed at Uxbridge.

Routes between Haverhill and Essex have seen minor changes. There have been major cuts to the 32 (Milton Keynes to Oxford), no doubt as a result of competition with Stagecoach Express X5. Residents of villages like Gawcott and Finmere will not be thanking bus deregulation ! Finally, a new postbus service has started linking Thetford with Watton and villages beyond, almost as far as the A47 (which has regular services between Norwich, Kings Lynn and Peterborough. Use this to visit the Peddars Way and other places of interest in the Watton area (Mon-Fri only).

General information about buses in Derbyshire, including recent changes, can be accessed through the World Wide Web on the following address:

Bucks CC is planning to provide full timetable coverage (see link page).

Roads News.

Work on the Alconbury to Peterborough section of the planned A1 motorway, to which we objected and where we still have a complaint outstanding to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about the inquiry procedure, should have started by the time you get this newsletter. This is one of the DFBO (Design, Build, Finance and Operate) schemes whereby the Government can get new roads while shifting the liability to pay for them onto its successors. As with rail privatisation, it appears that one of its prime aims is to make it more difficult for its successors to pursue sustainable policies.

The next major road scheme in our area looks set to be the A428 between Cambridge and St Neots. We intend to object to this as it will encourage more traffic into Cambridge and enshrine the car dependence of the planned new settlement at Cambourne (which it is intended to serve). Instead we will argue for the development of a tramway or guided busway with park & ride facilities linking Cambridge with Bar Hill and Cambourne (which will also take traffic off the A14).

The inquiry into the A120 between the M11 and A12 has been reconvened. We would like to see this scheme replaced (at least in part) by a rail link between Stansted and Braintree.

Planning News.

Not much this time. We have objected to the proposal to close Lion Yard in Cambridge as a right of way, and have also commented on the plans for restraining traffic on certain polluted streets (Magdalene St, Parker St and Silver St). The first of these, Magdalene St, is espected to be implemented on an experimental basis in September.

Action Line.

Here is our list this time. As usual both items were discussed in greater detail in the main part of the newsletter.

Transport 2000 Cambs and W Suffolk homepage