Towards a Local Sustainable Transport Strategy - Trying to Turn Ideas into Practice: a Case Study of Brent
RAW G, London Borough of Brent and WOOD C, Centre for Independent Transport Research in London (CILT), UK
From burgeoning literature, to government guidance, conferences and increasingly radical protests, there is a growing consensus that the transport system in Britain is choking us to a premature death. As such, you could be forgiven for thinking that 4 yea
From burgeoning literature, to government guidance, conferences and increasingly radical protests, there is a growing consensus that the transport system in Britain is choking us to a premature death. As such, you could be forgiven for thinking that 4 years after the worldÕs leaders pronounced at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro, that they were going to do something about the increasingly catastrophic state of our environment, bringing about local changes to our transportation system would be a relatively non-controversial matter.
Perhaps our illustrious world leaders didnÕt mean to carry through the implications of what they said, or perhaps what they said didnÕt have any lasting implication? Which ever way we look at it, there appears to be an enormous gap between official pronouncements and the necessary resources and commitment to bring about a level of change which not only protects our ecological environment but also enhances the quality of human existence. At present, therefore, the path (not road) to sustainable transportation seems a narrow and difficult one!
On the ground in our communities, however, there is evidence of action independent of government which aims to bring about a shift in investment priorities. But, as apparent in the Newbury by-pass protest for example, local communities are often riven with profound conflicts of interest and differing perceptions of environmental problems and their resolution.
In Brent there may be fewer trees to protect, but environmental awareness is nonetheless rising. Moreover, quality of life expectations from our local environment are long standing. Few argue against cleaner and safer streets, less air and noise pollution, greater personal and public amenity.
The link between Rio and Brent - the global and the local - can seem somewhat incongruous. It rests on the supposition that whilst the degradation of our environment is international, the key arena for rectifying it is local. In the UK, given the absence of regional authorities, this responsibility has been laid firmly at the door of local government subject, of course, to national guidance and spending constraints.
This is not without some irony. The last 17 years have witnessed a sustained assault on local government powers, spending and local democracy at the same time as a massive centralisation in the powers of the national state Further, direct democratic accountability has been removed from many areas of public spending
In the light of the above, therefore, we examine in this paper the challenge to develop a local sustainable transport agenda for the 21st century. In it we hope to set out some poignant comments on how this challenge has been taken up in the London Borough of Brent After highlighting some backgrounds facts and figures about Brent. we set out
* progress in Brent towards Local Agenda 2 1.
* an analysis of local transport issues;
* BrentÕs approach to developing a sustainable transport startegy;
* an evaluation of whether we really can develop sustainable transportation at a local level.
Association for European Transport