SPOKES Rides For All Project

RIDES FOR ALL | SPOKES SW HERTFORDSHIRE CYCLING GROUP

822 Miles of Local Cycling Routes – ranging from 4 to 46 miles in length

SPOKES South West Herts Cycling Group will, on 27 August as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations, launch a new resource for cyclists of all abilities in SW Hertfordshire, SPOKES Rides For Allhttp://www.spokesgroup.org.uk/ridesforall/.

The objective is to make available rides that are family friendly, suitable for new cyclists as they build up confidence on longer rides and for experienced cyclists new to the area to show off the lovely countryside available to them.  It builds upon two earlier books of rides that SPOKES has published.  SPOKES Rides For All makes these earlier rides available in digital form as well as adding new routes.

However, it is more than a library of GPX files.  As well as a downloadable GPX file for each ride, it is also possible to download instructions to guide those without a GPS device around the route.  Each ride is accompanied by information about refreshments stops, toilets and points of interest.  The rides range from 4 to 46 miles in length.  Some are traffic free rides, other are all on road or may have up to 75% of the route off-road.

At the time of the launch there will be 53 routes offering 822 miles of cycling with more routes added more as part of this ongoing project.

SPOKES SW HERTFORDSHIRE CYCLING GROUP

If you want to ride and are looking for new routes, take a look at the SPOKES’ web site and enjoy your cycling.  You don’t have to be a Member of SPOKES to access the web site, but you will be welcomed if you choose to join.”

Where do your local candidates stand on saving the planet?

Watford and Three Rivers Friends of the Earth (also covering Hertsmere) asked candidates across the three areas for their views. We asked them how their role as a future councillor will play a part in tackling climate change locally.

Questions covered:

  • Climate Action Plans
  • Reducing pollution
  • Home energy efficiency
  • Local biodiversity and
  • How they will work for a climate ready and resilient local area 

Click here to find out what they had to say.

We look forward to working with the our local authority going forwards as a third of emissions are dependent on sectors directly shaped or influenced by local authority practice, policy or partnerships. Local councillors will therefore be key in delivering the regional and local place-based solutions to make the changes needed.

The Hertfordshire Environment Hustings

Organised by Friends of the Earth Groups from around Hertfordshire, The Herts Environment Hustings took place on 19th April. Chairman Nick Hazell put questions on issues of sustainability and the environment from the online audience to a panel consisting of:

  • Conservatives – Theresa Heritage, Derrick Ashley
  • Greens – Anni Sander, Nick Cox
  • Labour – Tina Bhartwas, Simon Speller
  • Liberal Democrats – Helen Campbell, Nigel Quinton

The whole hustings are covered in two podcasts:

Part 1 – The questions covered were (in this order, to make it easier if you’d like to find a particular response) https://radioverulam.com/podcast/listen-now-to-the-herts-environment-hustings-part-1/

  1. 2 minutes on the parties environmental policies for Hertfordshire
  2. We know that spending time in nature has significant benefits for our health and wellbeing, and that a diverse natural environment is essential to a sustainable economy. What steps will your party advocate to reverse the recent alarming decline in biodiversity in Hertfordshire, and ensure that everyone in the county has access to quality green spaces where wildlife and people can flourish?
  3. What would you do about public transport and how to get car owners out of their cars
  4. Lots of county council land will be released for house building. Would you ensure that all such houses will be carbon zero
  5. What measures would you take to reduce the amount of Hertfordshire’s waste which is incinerated or landfill

End of Part 1

Part 2 – https://radioverulam.com/podcast/listen-now-to-the-herts-environment-hustings-part-2/

  1. Do you feel that wide area 20mph limits have an important role to play
  2. Do you have any plans to communicate the importance and urgency of the climate crisis to the general public
  3. What are your views on the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill
  4. Is banning the use of herbicides and pesticides a priority to benefit the environment and the health of local people
  5. Do you believe in a halt in new road building
  6. The Herts Sustainability Strategy has no target for reducing the GHG emissions from the county other than the national target of net zero by 2050. Should there be a target and what should it be?
  7. What are you doing in your personal life to be more environmentally friendly?

The doorbell sound is the timer used to ensure that each party had the same amount of time.

Please excuse noise distortions dues to internet fluctuations.

FoE response to the HCC SHS

Local Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Groups in Hertfordshire response to the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy

Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Groups across Hertfordshire have submitted the following response to the current consultation on Hertfordshire County Council Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/14djjCqFKCsK7vExrdNxZ0WdLzcNBJeK6/view?usp=sharing

Our response welcomes the SHS, and we are pleased to see the commitment to making the council’s own operations net zero by 2030, and the recognition of the importance of tackling the decline in biodiversity as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

However, as currently drafted, we feel that there are areas of the SHS (and the associated action plan) that need to be significantly strengthened to meet the level of ambition that the current climate and ecological emergency demands, some key points being:

  • The SHS should include not only long term goals for 2030 and 2050, but also short to medium term goals against which progress can be monitored.
  • The current target in the SHS to achieve net zero carbon emissions for the county ‘before 2050’ is too weak and vague and should be replaced by a commitment to a 90% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2040.
  • Targets for improving wildlife and biodiversity should be aligned with recommendations from the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to manage 30% of land area for the benefit of wildlife. This applies to both HCC’s own land and the county as a whole.
  • Targets for waste and recycling should aim to make the county a zero-waste area, where all “waste” material is minimised, reused or recycled (following a circular economy approach). Targets relating to landfill alone are not adequate.
  • The SHS recognises the importance of monitoring and scrutiny (page 4) but needs to set out more clearly how this will be done in a way that is robust and transparent.
  • A communication strategy needs to be developed as part of the SHS – not only to involve others in the development and delivery of action plans but to engage Hertfordshire residents and businesses with the climate and ecological emergency.

The SHS should commit HCC to lobbying the UK government for the resources and enabling actions it needs to deliver its objectives.

Have your say on the Batchworth Community Council Neighbourhood plan

Batchworth Community Council are preparing a Neighbourhood plan. They are of consulting with the community via 3 focus groups for Rickmansworth and 3 for Moor Park and Eastbury (Design and Heritage, Civic and Employment, Infrastructure).  The overall plan will be taken forward to  a referendum and, if accepted, Three Rivers District Council will be required to take note of it and it would gain additional funds from Developers to aid implementation. 

More information and a map of the Batchworth Neighbourhood plan area can be found at Neighbourhood Plan | Batchworth Community Council (batchworth-ecc.gov.uk) – comments can be added to the Neighbourhood Plan at Batchworth Neighbourhood Plan (commonplace.is) – by end of January 2021.

Help shape the future of Hertfordshire

Help HCC shape how they spend your council tax money – supporting a Green and Fair recovery from COVID and linking environmental justice to social justice.  

Support Hertfordshire in being a Sustainable County – through commenting on the Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy (sustainable-hertfordshire-strategy-2020-2.7mb.pdf)

HCC is asking residents to respond to a survey about climate change and the council’s Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy.

Working with other FoE and climate action groups in Herts, we’ve produced model answers to most of the consultation questions, which you can use as a basis for your responses (obviously you can also add your own views and suggestions when completing the survey!). Using our template it shouldn’t take long to complete, and you don’t have to answer every question if you don’t want to.

Our document with model answers and links to the strategy and the survey is available here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zXetuxxA1-QFQOhDis4uctFIFnh2aYS3/view


Unless the strategy enables people to choose affordable, low-carbon transport and recycling of all waste, and provides cheaper heating bills and space for nature, Hertfordshire will not be playing its part in combating the climate emergency. We don’t believe that this strategy yet demonstrates sufficient ambition or urgency, and its important (particularly in this election year) that as many of us as possible let the council know that we want it to go further.

Ensure Hertfordshire Waste Local Plan ensures no waste is sent to landfill or incineration across the county by 2030

HCC is preparing a new Waste Local Plan (the Plan), this new Plan sets the vision, objectives and spatial strategy for waste planning in Hertfordshire up to 2036. HCC is also preparing a new Waste Facilities Design Guide SPD, which will provide guidance on the design of waste management facilities and assist in meeting the requirements set out in the Plan.