Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The Ashton Gate Tesco Debate - a NIMBY view from Stockwood

All credit to Aurea Mediocritas for some excellent and revealing research about the rival petitions , for and against a massive new 24hour Tesco at Ashton Gate. Well worth a look.

I'd hesitated to write about this particular hot potato, others are doing it very well without my help. I'll limit myself to a very local angle.

Since we've already got a mega-Tesco on our doorstep in Stockwood, you wouldn't expect much local passion for another one to built over at Southville. Even so, a few Stockwoodsmen have enthusiastically signed up to the pro-Tesco bandwagon. Embarrassingly, that's more than have so far signed up to my own petition for a city transport interchange at Temple Meads. If only I'd linked mine to a dream of World Cup football!

Our Stockwood petitioners for Tesco, along with others from all over east Bristol, South Glos and Banes, assert that a new Ashton Gate megastore will, as the petition claims, reduce "pressure on inner city roads around the bedminster Bridge area" and people from Avonmouth will get a wider choice of supermarkets to drive to. Such un-NIMBY altruism is deeply moving, even if the logic's a bit dodgy!

The initial planning choice for the Ashton Gate site was a mixed development of sports and recreational facilities and housing - both of which are needed, with a first call on urban brownfield sites such as this.

Of course, if housing at Ashton Gate is sacrificed in favour of a Tesco shed and accompanying tarmac and traffic, those homes will need to be built somewhere else instead. Step forward the rolling acres of Stockwood (and Hengrove, and Whitchurch, and the green belt).

The Stockwood petitioners for Tesco are even more self sacrificing than I thought.

For those who really want to weigh up the issues, without red-tinted dreams of perhaps seeing world cup matches in nine years time, there's plenty in the other blogs, not least Charlie Bolton's, where the real and lasting impacts on the Ashton/Southville area are much more clearly explained.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Two cheers for Jon Rogers

Two cheers for Jon Rogers. Presumably he's behind the city's response to the airport expansion plans, now awaiting a decision from North Somerset council.

Given the 'official' council position, after it first mutilated, then adopted, the motion that Charlie Bolton brought to full council back in March, outright opposition to expansion was never going to be an option.

Still, there's lots of constructive comment in there. In particular, it points out BIA's failure to put a persuasive case for the economic or environmental benefits of expansion. It calls for a far stronger commitment to noise reduction, and notes that road traffic generation will lead to a worsening of the already unacceptably poor air quality in the city if expansion goes ahead.

On climate change, it notes that, even excluding the worst offenders, the aircraft themselves; "the proposed development will significantly increase the West of England carbon emissions and make it difficult to meet our existing reduction targets (which exclude aviation emissions) particularly due to increases in surface transport CO2 emissions". As if it wasn't difficult enough already.

But sadly, the mitigation measures it suggests are no more than tinkering at the edges. More airport buses to more destinations, that sort of thing. The elephant in the sky is ignored.

And there's a disturbing, if predictable, reference to the South Bristol Link. Remember, that's the one currently under consultation to see whether it should be a road, a public transport, or a hybrid route? Looks like the decision's already made, it's to be a road, a final link in a South Bristol Ring Road. The response says "South Bristol Link would be likely to reduce airport traffic on Bristol's network in the vicinity of Parson Street gyratory....". I don't think that'll be down to the passengers from Hengrove who'd get the rapid transit over to Ashton Gate to change on to the 'Flyer' coach.

That's the trouble. It's hard to criticise the airport's added climate change impacts when you're busy doing just the same thing yourself by building more roads.

Hat tip: Bristol 24-7 for the news item.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Impacts of BIA expansion

Only a few days left to object to BIA's plans for massive expansion of flights - and all the ground based damage that goes together with the impacts on the atmosphere.

Fortunately, Stop Bristol Airport Expansion have made it easier to register objections to the planning application that BIA have made to North Somerset council. Many explanatory leaflets and response forms have been delivered door-to-door (I put a couple of hundred out in Stockwood yesterday), and there's detailed advice on their website.

The government (which has always had a very cosy relationship with the aviation industry) has already made it clear that aviation won't be subjected to any emissions capping separate from the rest of industry - which means that the swingeing cuts already necessary on the ground will have to be even deeper if there are more aircraft in the skies. That really is unthinkable.

Maybe Ed Miliband should do the maths, and look at the social consequences of this ill-thought policy. Meanwhile, the rest of us will have to do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen. Starting with Lulsgate.