25 February 2019
Last month, I wrote in this column about the problems of cycling in Macclesfield. How an activity that should be healthy and enjoyable, a means of getting around without polluting the environment with fumes and noise, can feel like you’re risking injury to yourself and damage to your bicycle.
Two weeks later, we saw the dreadful death of a thirteen-year-old cyclist, killed in a collision with a car on his way to school.
Now we hear also that a local man, who has won Olympic gold medals for cycling, while out for a ride in the country lanes with his infant son, was nearly knocked off his bicycle by a van driver who apparently drove his vehicle at them, then angrily told them it was their own fault they were nearly killed.
Cheshire East Council is supposed to be responsible for promoting both public health and also a cycling strategy. There’s precious little evidence of either; certainly not in Macclesfield. This is a council that has allowed bus services to be cut to the bone and beyond. A council whose response to traffic congestion is not to look for ways to reduce the traffic, but to build more and more roads to encourage more and more car journeys, while leaving existing roads in a shocking state. A council that falsified air-quality data for years. A council that refuses to make our residential streets safer by reducing urban speed limits.
We need a serious strategy for cycling in Macclesfield; cycle lanes that actually go somewhere, traffic-free cycleways through town and safe routes out to surrounding towns and villages. A strategy that doesn’t leave cyclists feeling like second-class citizens, but encourages people to leave the car at home, to keep themselves fit and healthy while not having to dodge cars and potholes.
Greens challenge Energy Secretary after shock revelation from frackers Cuadrilla
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Jonathan Bartley has today (21 June) sent a letter (below) to Greg Clarke MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to highlight the Party’s far-reaching concerns for the safety of the local community in the vicinity of Cuadrilla’s exploratory fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
The letter follows a meeting between Bartley and two directors from Cuadrilla, where he put questions from the community to them. Bartley is concerned both by the lack of information about emergency plans provided to the residents and by significant questions over whether or not there is even an evacuation plan in the event of a well blow out or other accident.
“We’re calling on the Secretary not to make a decision over whether to grant a licence to frack until the matter has been investigated thoroughly and safety concerns are addressed. The fact that local residents don’t even know if there’s even a proper plan in place for emergencies - let alone evacuation - is deeply concerning.
“It would be completely unacceptable and be playing fast and loose with people’s safety to ignore these issues. The Secretary of State clearly shouldn’t make a decision on whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack until these serious questions are answered and the concerns of local people are addressed.”
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