Sunday, 18 November 2012

Trolley trails

Shopping trolleys being dumped is a big problem, a form of litter and a hazard. More than 3,000 shopping trolleys dumped in rivers every year, at a cost to the taxpayer of over £150,000. In places with rivers (e.g. Aberystwyth) the dumped trolleys are an eyesore and a potential hazard to swimmers/kayakers/birds etc.

You would think that retailers would do all within their power to prevent this. If they locked the trollies up at night they couldn't be stolen; deposit systems encourage people to return them. And retailers should collect them as soon as possible if any go astray, so they don't end up in rivers.

CIN members have regularly reported abandoned trollies, even taken them out of rivers occasionally. Recently there was a mass theft of trollies from the retail park in Aberystwyth. On Thursday morning there were around 8 trollies from the retail park dumped along a connecting cycle path, obviously all taken at once by a group. The trollies came from a mix of retailers including B&Q and Morrisons. It was reported to the retailers that morning (probably by multiple path users!), answered with thanks and promises to collect them immediately.

Some of the trollies that were dumped

That would be great, except that most of the trollies were still there today, including some from B&Q. Same trollies, same places: B&Q hadn't moved theirs. This can be a frustrating situation for local residents - those are popular paths for strollers, runners, cyclists and dog-walkers.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Planning permission is where it goes wrong

[New images added below, 19th November]

With greener streets comes less pollution, happier people, and a better environment. However, the county and town planning departments for Ceredigion seem to allow developments without requiring any significant form of greening at all. Take the recent 'Yr Hen Aelwyd' flats built on the site of a historic building on Llanbadarn Road in Aberystwyth as an example. The site was ideal for the incorporation of some trees and bushes, but instead the county council allowed development that was not in keeping with the area at all, and instead is mostly just car park with frontage right up to the main road (see photos below). Thankfully the older buildings on Llanbadarn Road play their part in making the area look green and impressive, but if Ceredigion County Council keep allowing this new type of concrete and brick development with no greenery then the future roads of Aberystwyth will be dull and dreary, sterile places. The county council should include requirements for trees, bushes and green spaces as part of the planning process for all developments. Without that there are missed opportunities all over the county. 

Crammed up to the road, imposing brick 

The view from one side, not one green area, bush or tree incorporated

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Fuel prices and cycling

Fuel prices
Whenever the Government increases taxes on fuel there are huge protests from groups like 'FairFuelUK', the RAC, road haulage companies, car drivers and so on. However, environmentally the increases are a good thing. What else would seriously make people consider other forms of transport, or how far they travel to work? What else would discourage people from commuting large distances or making unnecessary journeys? There is over-use of cars everywhere, often for short distances that could easily be walked. Watch the roads and see how many journeys are one person per car. We’ve already seen wars over the availability of fuel (more here) and that is only going to get worse. Society needs to change radically, in many ways, and fuel increases are probably only a fraction of the shock that we’ll have to face if we’re not to screw up royally. Most of the organisations supporting campaigns to lower fuel tax are guilty of promoting car use and road building, and of campaigning against sustainable alternatives, which is part of the reason we’re facing such a screwed future. Their support of a campaign is a warning sign. Greater restrictions on private car ownership are one of the unpopular things we must face in the future.