The Ipswich Northern Route – £500m to solve the wrong problem

Motion:

It seems clear the  supporters of the Ipswich Northern Route fall into two separate camps.

On one hand, those who “really believe” in zero-carbon measures -“but not in my back yard “. Who feel if they mention electric cars, young families, hardpressed workers, they’re  on the side of the angels.

They quote noise, health, traffic jams but -frankly – just want to send problems somewhere else – at a cost of half a billion. In some circles this attitude’s called Greenwash.

And then the growth argument. Everyone loves growth. That nebulous, shiny entrepreneurial panacea that solves all our problems. Worship at the altar of growth and you’ll get the house you can’t afford and the job that doesn’t exist. This growth being promised us by a party who can only balance their books by removing vital  transport from bus-pass holders. To save the very same sum we’re spending on  this consultation!

So, it seems we’ve a choice. Greenwash  or Hogwash .

‘Growth’ is an excuse for the administration to fritter money they don’t have on sexy, big-boy projects. Just as they use ‘tough choices’ to justify NOT spending small sums on people who really need it. Rural buses or a consultation on a half-billion pound road?  No contest!

I sympathise with Ipswich residents for the difficulties the Orwell bridge can cause them. Just as I sympathise with Woodbridge , Martlesham, Melton residents faced daily with ever more A12 traffic  past their doors. Or our country dwellers faced with more cars, more development , zero buses.

But the Northern route won’t solve most of our transport problems: congestion in town caused by commuters, football matches, Rod Stewart, the lost Park & Ride, Suffolk Show  and all the other reasons for jams in Ipswich.

It’s a Trojan horse. Or a nice big sparkly unicorn.

Have we forgotten that the Orwell Bridge solved a problem of traffic through Ipswich? Valley Road, Chevallier Street  became really quiet after the Orwell bridge opened. But now they’re as busy as before. Induced traffic expands to fill the space provided. Why make the same mistake again?

So what is the solution? I could tell you it nicely –or I can tell you it like it is.  And I am Caroline Page.

There’s no point enabling a new route that can’t come online before 2027 when we only have till 2030 to achieve a carbon-neutral Suffolk. We have eleven years – they must be used better. When Suffolk declared a Climate Emergency, we weren’t imagining it.

All new roads invariably increase carbon – both embedded and from traffic. We need at least a 20% reduction in road mileage. Friends of the Earth are calling on a moratorium on all new roadbuilding.  On less provision, not more.

And yes, the way out IS development, but not like this.

Moving to a new environment, people change their habits.

But why is the tail wagging the dog? We need housing first, road second. Not road first and mixed messages as to where the housing might go afterwards.

New developments should be planned around transport, no Continue reading The Ipswich Northern Route – £500m to solve the wrong problem

Woodbridge: What’s been happening – July

More roads, less buses, millions wasted on consultants and residents deprived of vital services  for want of a  hundred thousand or so – despite declaring a climate emergency, County’s strangely dual attitude to money and transport continues this month..

Suffolk County Council announces funding cuts to subsidised bus routes   Suffolk County Council has announced that 23 subsidised bus routes will no longer receive funding from the council, in a bid to save £340,000. This means that over a third of subsidised bus routes in the county will lose their funding. This will include the early morning 71 we can take from Woodbridge  to Ipswich to get us there in time for work/college.

The decision to cut £340,000 from the subsidised buses budget was made in February, when the Council agreed on the budget for the current financial year. I spoke against this cut at the time, as well as other cuts that will affect bus users such as the decision to no longer print bus timetables. It seems that  not everybody listened. Continue reading Woodbridge: What’s been happening – July

Why not give CARERS a (Tax) Break, Boris!

Another Carers Week. Another pretence we care for CarersToday marks the start of National Carers’ Week.  Cynically,  this the one week of the year when non-carers remember that unpaid family Carers exist and make encouraging noises.  Yet 96% of UK care is provided in the community by unpaid carers. 96%!!!! 1 of every 2 women in their 50s is an unpaid family carer, with all the impact this has on pay, career and occupational pension. Flip a coin, is it you or me? (Men do not achieve this statistic until age 74. *) Coincidentally, this week aspirant PM Boris Johnson has promised an extra £120pw for those earning £80k. As a tax break. Or bribe. Continue reading Why not give CARERS a (Tax) Break, Boris!