The 2021 LCC Annual General Meeting took place this week in Camden, celebrating the hard work of our campaigners and volunteers and looking ahead to our plans for 2022. We were thrilled to host members in-person this year after a tough 18 months for all of us.
The key themes of the meeting revolved around London’s recovery from the pandemic and how cycling and active travel must be a cornerstone of our response to the climate emergency. We’ve seen a decade’s progress in a year and a half. In response, LCC is committed to maintaining this momentum to secure a low carbon, people-first future for London.
We were honored to be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the Climate Safe Streets campaign which will target the borough elections in 2022, aiming to secure commitments from candidates for ambitious but achievable targets to increase active travel in their borough.
Our expert panelists were;
Whilst not all panelists campaign or advocate specifically about cycling, there was consensus that climate action results in positive outcomes for cycling and vice versa and that collaboration will be vital moving forward.
Taking questions from the floor and over Zoom, highlights from the Q&A included…
Q: From Alex, Coordinator of Lewisham Cyclists; For Sian and Nick, how do you think campaigners can empower leadership within councils when faced with the backlash that many regularly deal with and how do you handle that opposition on a personal level?
A: From Sian; It’s important not to give up on the plan. These schemes are being implemented with clear objectives and we must give answers and explanations to the vocal minority in opposition rather than reverse plans before they have been given a chance. We should adapt the plan until it’s right.
From Nick; As the coordinator in Ealing he’s been dealing with the consequences of the council’s decisions to tear out their LTN schemes following questionable public consultations. He is all too familiar with confrontations online and in person but stressed the need to know when to stop and to know when to block users online.
Q: From Adrian, Coordinator in Enfield; How does adding the climate crisis help our campaigning for safer and more accessible cycling?
A: From Simon; Too many politicians think that cycling is for kids, for leisure and for hobbyists in lycra. We’ve made big strides in building coalitions with walking and active travel groups who agree with us that cycling must be part of a suite of transport solutions for London. The climate emergency is here and 28 boroughs plus the mayor have declared this. This gives us considerable leverage to hold them to account when they aren’t doing enough. Transport makes up a huge chunk of urban emissions and is a deadly cause of air pollution. When we talk about cycling, we win on climate and the same goes in reverse.
Q: Michael who joined us on Zoom asks; Why is there such a focus on E bikes? Are we not just creating a pile of batteries that need recycling?
A: From Simon; The carbon emissions is tiny compared to cars, even electric. They are entirely incomparable in their footprints. E-bikes enable a huge diversification of cycling for people who wouldn’t normally be able to cycle or wouldn’t choose to cycle. This includes disabled and older people as well as more timid riders or even simply office workers who don’t want to arrive to work hot and sweaty.
A huge thank you from all of us at LCC to the expert panelists who gave their time as well as members, volunteers and community groups who attended and contributed in-person and online. You can learn more about our Climate Safe Streets campaign here as well as our other campaigns here.
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