Our 12th May 2020 Transition Tuesday started with a short presentation reflecting on how changes to tackle COVID-19 could be a stepping stone to repairing our climate and the possible initiatives TTL could take forward, based on our recent blog. Attendees then discussed a number of potential project areas.

Encouraging Increased Cycling Post-Lockdown

  • The plans to bring forward cycling infrastructure in cities across the world, including London was reported.
  • Extinction Rebellions’ request for people to chalk cycle lanes on the road and then ride them this coming weekend was explained. It was suggested that it would be worth getting a record of where any lanes are chalked so the learning from this activity is captured and fed into future planning.
  • Cambridge have organised mass ‘socially distanced’ cycle rides.
  • The challenge of cycling for longer journeys were highlighted. However, there is evidence that plenty of shorter journeys, five miles or less are undertaken in cars, so activity could be focused on changing behaviour for these types of journey.
  • It was suggested we should not use language like making junctions or roads safer because this re-enforcespeoples perception that bikes are not safe, instead we could focus on language like reclaiming the streets for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • There is an opportunity to take the Letchworth Cyclists proposed Cycle Network as a start point for a sustainable travel town plan for Letchworth. By considering walking, cycling and traffic issues for different segments of the proposed network it should be possible to come up with proposals for traffic infrastructure improvements. This approach would give a set of projects that could be delivered over time, but when completed would deliver a cycle network across the town. TTL could undertake an online activity to collect ideas for improvement options for complex junctions and roads.

Food Growing

  • The educational allotment project has been adjusted due to the lockdown but through word of mouth and posters put up before lockdown some interest has been generated and food is being grown on the site by members of the local community.
  • The possibility of a community farm or crop share were discussed.
  • In Cambridge a crop share takes place in partnership with a local organic farm (Willow Farm) with Saturday work parties who are rewarded with some produce. The farmer has reported that the additional help has increasedharvests.

CIC Businesses

TTL activity to date has been resourced through volunteering. Going forward setting up CICs could be something TTL should consider as this could lead to projects turning into a stand alone sustainable organisations that could provide local employment.

Solar Panels

  • It was noted that it had been sometime since we had reviewed this technology and that if the more affluent have spare funds, because they cannot go on holiday, then maybe they could be encouraged to invest in solar panels to improve their resilience and our children’s futures.
  • It was reported that Herts Energy Network have put solar panels on schools in East Herts and perhaps they could set up projects in North Herts which local people could invest in, for example churches or school roofs.
  • TTL had previously identified the Leisure Centre roof as a suitable location for solar panels but had not got the support of the local councillors at the time. It is understood that SLL are currently looking at renewable technology at each of their facilities, including the leisure centre.
  • There was some interest in researching solar panel solutions as a group and sharing this information as this would be more effective than interested individual separately carrying out this activity.

Electric Vehicle Charging

Companies setting up charging networks are expecting to make good financial returns (see https://www.ethex.org.uk/product-details_2394.html). It was suggested that it may be a good time to think about a EV charging project because EV vehicles are quiet and have low pollution which may resonate given the current quiet and low pollution environment. Ethex current offers include Charge My Street and Co-Cars(https://www.ethex.org.uk/co-cars_2630.html, https://www.ethex.org.uk/charge-my-street_2680.html).

Waste

The possibility of developing a plan to introduce a scrap shop / repair shed in Letchworth was made.

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