Keeping up the pressure
Back in April I wrote about business concerns for the proposal to include the Cumberland Bridge and the A4 Portway in the Bristol Clean Air Zone. That would impact people wanting to travel from the Chew Valley to join the Motorways at Avonmouth but also customers and staff travelling out of Bristol. It could also dissuade visitors from diverting on their journey to take in the attractions on offer in the Valley
It goes without saying that our members are concerned about climate change and the need to reduce carbon, but we thought it was unfair to charge motorists who were skirting Bristol and not contributing to pollution in the congested City Centre. We raised the matter with Kevin Guy, the new Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council and also with Jacob Rees-Mogg, who wrote to the Minister responsible. Whilst the formal reply was disappointing, since then there has been some movement, quite possibly as a result of the pressure we’ve helped bring to bear.
The Department of the Environment has now said it wants to review some key parts of Bristol’s business case, including the technical basis for the inclusion of the Portway. So that is positive news and gives some cause for optimism that the map of the Clean Air Zone will be changed but it’s important that people who are concerned should continue to make their views known.
Meanwhile, it’s been encouraging to see many promising signs of economic recovery in our villages with a number of new ventures starting up and people re-opening with new ideas and a fresh enthusiasm, which brings a boost to the local economy.
The delay in the lifting of all restrictions will mean there will be a further, hopefully short, period before we move to greater freedoms and it’s clear that some of our members are keen to get back to face to face meetings. But we won’t forget that others are still happy to meet up virtually. Partly that’s because they haven’t yet received two doses of the vaccination and partly because they find a Zoom meeting a convenient and cost effective way of keeping in touch. We’ll do our best to please both groups in the coming weeks.