Five million kilometres is the astonishing estimated annual mileage Southwark Council employees drive on our roads every year.
This is the equivalent of about 970,000 kilogrammes of CO2 emissions every year from the 310 cars, small vans and 3.5 tonne tipper-vans the council leases for its staff. This is totally unacceptable in light of the planet’s soaring temperatures.
The estimated cost is £2m every year or four times the tiny amount Southwark spends on safer cycling.
This column highlighted recent research showing Southwark has the highest number of schools with air-pollution breaking EU safety levels.
Transport pollution is stunting our kids’ lungs for life. It is causing a horrific asthma epidemic and is a leading cause of deaths via lung and heart diseases in the borough.
So here is a suggestion that would save residents lives, save money and protect staff health.
Tell them to get on their bikes!
Southwark is only about 2.5 miles wide and 6 miles long, the equivalent of a small island. The vast majority of staff journey’s can be cycled in ten to twenty minutes.
Everywhere you look, from traffic-enforcement to parks workers, staff are riding around on expensive tax-payer funded motorised vehicles, lethally poisoning residents and damaging kids’ lungs.
Cargo-bikes could easily carry out most of the transport-functions for park staff and there is no reason why Southwark’s parking enforcement team cannot be on bikes. Other boroughs have done this and the police are using more bikes.
There are specially adapted bikes that disabled staff could use and cycling would hugely help prolong the lives of older staff.
To be fair, cargo bikes would not be able to do the work of the tipper vans but these need to be converted from toxic diesel to electric engines.
And we residents need to reduce the amount of bulk waste we dump, to reduce the need for the tipper-vans in the first place.
So come on Southwark, lead by example. This is a win, win, win suggestion. Healthier staff, healthier residents and a healthier planet.
Yes You Can!