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Saturday, 7 May 2016

Congratulations Mr Bristol Mayor!! Now, what happens next?

 So, congratulations to the new Bristol Mayor, Marvin Rees. Now lets have a look at some of what Mr Rees intends for Bristol in the way of green policies and effective, sustainable transport.

According to his website, this includes an integrated travel scheme, investment in local rail, tackling congestion and improving air quality. All that is pretty admirable, but how is he going to set about achieving it?

"I have a positive plan to ease congestion, continue to promote cycling and make travelling by bus and rail more viable. I will make the city truly accessible to everyone, whether they are travelling by car, on foot, bicycle, bus or train.”

Promoting cycling? So, if he is honest about that, for a start that means he is likely to attract some of the same flack from Bristolian anti-cycling petrolheads that was flung at Mr Ferguson.

This is what he said to Lifecycle about Bristol Cycling City:

"It was a good title, it captured something of what we are , what we want to be and there were genuine efforts made to make conditions better for cyclists. But I think it was a missed opportunity to launch the scale of infrastructural and cultural change we needed. We have faced challenges in the past in that we approach our city’s future as a series of projects, sometimes connected and sometimes not. I can’t help but feel this fell into that trap."

And how would he actually improve cycling in Bristol, Lifecycle asked him:

"Build it into every planning decision – housing, transport and public health. As I said, it can’t be a project by project approach. It has to be natural outworking of a long term plan."

So again, if he remains true to that, he's likely to get some stick.

According to a Bristol 24/7 article published in February, he also wants to return Bristol's buses to public ownership. That would be great if he can actually achieve easy task.

On clean energy, Mr Rees would pledge...

" make Bristol a carbon neutral city by 2050 as well as running all Bristol City Council offices on renewable energy by 2020."

Great stuff!! The Labour group have also pledged to take action on air pollution. Thing is though, how are you going to do that unless you try and curtail the amount of cars coming into the city, or make them cleaner (by promoting green motoring such as EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for instance)?

On energy poverty, Mr Rees would attempt to resolve this issue by:

" offering a switching service to help people save money by finding the cheapest energy tariffs."

Other promising green promises include:

"...maintaining a frack-free Bristol, stop using harmful pesticides, protect green space and promote sustainable food networks."

All good stuff, but let's see if the promises actually get converted into deeds. And it will also be interesting to see how much vitriol Mr Rees attracts.

So Mr Mayor, enjoy the glow for now. It's probably going to get a bit rougher though before too long.

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