North Bristol SusCom


Bristol Transport Strategy Consultation Response

Here is the North Bristol SusCom response to the Bristol Transport Strategy consultation. The consultation fell between SusCom meetings but we will be discussing our submission and discussing Workplace Park Levy and Congestion Charges at our end of November meeting.


Severn Toll Removal: A bridge too far?

Check out the blog we wrote for the Campaign for Better Transport to highlight some concerns we have about the removal of the Severn Bridge tolls - 45+% increase in traffic and congestion and lack of a plan or investment to mitigate this impact.


As a group of leading employers in the west of England, we are very concerned about the removal of the Severn Bridge Tolls at the end of December 2018 and the additional traffic such a move will generate in an already congested North Bristol. 

The Government carried out a public consultation at the beginning of last year asking for input on their plans to halve the tolls on the Severn Crossings. 

Both our organisation (representing 40,000 employees and 30,000 students) and the four West of England unitary authorities (representing 1 million+ people) responded saying this was not a good idea, especially at peak times, as it was likely to cause considerable congestion in the area and encourage more people to drive, more often, leading to more traffic and congestion. 

We argued that ongoing tolls could be used to maintain the bridge and any surplus could be invested in improving sustainable transport links between South Wales and the West of England. 

The consultation document stated that the Government was not proposing to remove the tolls as it “would put at risk the future of the Crossings”. It stated that annual maintenance costs would be around £15 million and a further £12 million was needed to resurface the Bridge after the end of the concession period. The Government was also “concerned that reduced tolls could result in increased traffic and congestion in areas surrounding the Crossings, both in Bristol and along the M4 in Wales, where there are already concerns about congestion levels”. 

They said they were “mindful that reducing tolls would increase traffic, and has conducted modelling which suggests 17% more vehicles using the Crossings by 2028 as a result of the toll reduction”. This is on top of an expected 28% increase in traffic using the routes if the tolls remained – so a 45% increase in traffic by 2028. 

Despite their own concerns and the concerns raised by our organisation and the four West of England Unitary Authorities, the Government announced, just after the 2017 general election that it was abolishing the tolls by the end of 2018. 

No detailed transport modelling has been undertaken to understand what the likely % increase of vehicles using the Crossings will be with no tolls. We can safely assume it will be greater than the 45% quoted above but – how much greater? 

What are we going to do about mitigating the increase in traffic? There is no plan or funding earmarked to invest in improving connectivity between South Wales and the West of England. 

We need a comprehensive, funded investment plan that will help reduce traffic and deliver: 

  • improved frequency and capacity on the rail network (above and beyond what electrification will bring); 
  • improved, direct bus connectivity and new commuter coaches during peak times to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road; 
  • better affordability of public transport to make it a more cost-effective option for people to use instead of the car; 
  • a network of Multi-Modal interchanges (Park and Ride, Park and Share, Park and Cycle) to remove additional car traffic from clogging up the motorways and entering built up, congested areas; 
  • better cycle links; 
  • high occupancy vehicle lanes at peak times on motorway corridors; 
  • and much more. 

This decision actively encourages people who currently travel by train between South Wales and the West of England to drive instead, leading to yet more pollution and greater congestion. 

A person living in Caldicott/Chepstow who currently drives to the Severn Tunnel Junction train station pays about £58 per week in combined rail fares/car parking fees. With the impending rail price rises from the 1st of January 2019 and the abolishing of the tolls the day before, the commuter from Caldicott/Chepstow will be £28-30 financially better off a week driving their car than taking the train. 

We recently received a response to a letter we wrote to Chris Graying, outlining our concerns about the removal of the Severn Tolls. The Department for Transport says in the response: “Removal of the tolls will mean more people will be able to afford to cross the border in both directions to seek job and trade opportunities. This will support motorists, residents and businesses across Wales and the south-west helping rebalance the economy as part of the Industrial Strategy. These benefits are expected to be associated with an increase in traffic around the Severn and Bristol area”. 

Rebalancing in this instance implies that the removal of the tolls is to help stimulate the South Wales economy at the expense of the West of England economy (to balance something out something has to rise and something has to fall). The Welsh Government are happy with this. The UK Government seems okay with it too: perhaps they forget that the West of England is a net contributor to HMRC. 

We are looking to the West of England Combined Authority to speak up for the local area. We need action now, before all the hard work to grow our successful economy is swallowed up in gridlock.


Ann O’Driscoll is the Director of North Bristol SusCom, a group of leading employers working together to reduce congestion and support the development of a fully integrated, sustainable transport network for the West of England. 

North Bristol SusCom encourages car sharing, walking, cycling, bus and rail as preferred ways to travel to work and around the area on business, and leads by example, taking a co-ordinated approach to managing traffic impact and supporting 40,000+ staff and 30,000 students to reduce the number of short car journeys they make. 


Working together for cleaner air

Here's a blog our Director wrote for the Green Capital Partnership
Working together for cleaner air
25th September 2017

Ann O’Driscoll is director of North Bristol SusCom ltd, a group of major employers located in North Bristol, promoting sustainable commuting to their 40,000+ employees and 30,000 students.  They are working together to influence and improve local transport provision to combat traffic congestion, improve the health of their staff and reduce the impact upon the environment.

North Bristol SusCom want to lead by example and encourages car sharing, walking, cycling, bus use, rail, working from home and other forms of active or public transport as preferred ways to travel to work and around the area on business.

In my role as Director of North Bristol SusCom, I attend quite a wide range of events and participate in a number of working groups that are all linked to trying to reduce congestion and promote sustainable transport. The choices we make every day about how we travel to work, school, the shops not only has an impact on ourselves but also on wider society.

One of the areas I have been keen to learn more about is air quality. I think everyone can agree that poor air quality is a bad thing – the challenge comes when people have to change the way they do things to help solve the problem.

Lucky for me Bristol Green Capital Partnership ran a workshop on 20 September looking at Clean Air Zones and the air quality issues facing Bristol. It was a great opportunity to understand more about air quality in Bristol and talk about what we can all do to try and improve it.

Like the issues of congestion and climate change, there is no one single magic solution to solving the poor air quality issue. It also isn’t something that we can leave to politicians to sort out. Change will require collective action from everyone and that is where the true challenge lies – how do we get everyone to understand the threats we face and how do we get people to change the way they do things?

So what did I learn? Some key facts:

  • Air pollution is a UK public health emergency. In the UK, 40-50,000 people’s lives end early every year because of exposure to 2 specific pollutants - particulate matter and NOx.  That is the equivalent to the population of Clifton, Hartcliffe and Withywood and Southmead combined!  In Bristol the figure is 8.5 % of all deaths annually or 300 deaths a year.
  • It is inner City Bristol where air pollution is highest – but it isn’t necessarily caused by those living in that area but by people travelling to the city centre in motor vehicles. This is a key challenge – where change is needed isn’t always where the root of the problem is.
  • Air pollution in Bristol is equivalent to smoking 1-2 cigarettes on an average day – and can be more when levels are particularly high.
  • Most surprising of all was that high pollution levels in an urban area, particularly under normal commute driving conditions, exposes car drivers (and passengers) to health risks greater than those travelling by other modes (including walking and cycling).

It was also great to hear from some of the other attendees about their experiences and what they are doing to help tackle poor air quality:

  • Knowle West Media Centre is looking at deploying mobile monitors that people can wear to measure local air quality.
  • Up our Street is holding a Neighbourhood Conversation about air quality in collaboration with Bristol Green Capital Partnership in Barton Hill on 11th October 
  • North Bristol NHS Trust run a Travel Smart campaign to help encourage staff to travel to work by walking, cycling, public transport, car sharing. They have recently started a “switch off when you drop off” campaign to reduce idling on site and are producing a local walking map.
  • An inner city GP struck by chronic disease she sees on a daily basis, is collecting stories and is interested in how health professionals in the community can engage in this issue (they are at the sharp end can see the impact of poor air quality on the ground).

As for Clean Air Zones – a study is currently underway to explore how this might work in Bristol, which if implemented will be a stick to drive behaviour change. For me the carrot is better health (and less strain on the NHS) and fewer deaths attributed to poor air quality. Pollution and congestion are a result of the way we have chosen to organise our lives – so if we organise our lives differently we can be rid of pollution and congestion, and make our city a healthier and more pleasurable place to live. Not a simple task but one that needs tackling.

Take part in events related to air quality during Healthy City Week - there will be a Neighbourhood Conversation with Up Our Street on 11 October, and an event discussing the impacts of air pollution on children on 14 October.

ClairCity's newest Associate - North Bristol SusCom


North Bristol SusCom is proud to be the newest ClairCity Associate.  

ClairCity is an innovative project involving thousands of people in cities across Europe, enabling us all to decide the best local options for a future with clean air and lower carbon emission.

ClairCity is four-year project (2016-2020), funded by the European Union, working in six countries across Europe. Six cities are partners in the project: Amsterdam in the Netherlands; Bristol in the UK; Ljubljana in Slovenia; Sosnowiec in Poland; the Aviero region in Portugal and the Liguria region around genoa in Italy.

Each city faces different issues and causes of air pollution but all the partner cities are working to improve their air quality. 

North Bristol SusCom works with our members to promote sustainable travel to help reduce congestion, improve air quality and ensure we have a healthy, active and productive workforce.

For more info go to: www.claircity.eu

Bromley Heath Viaduct - Update

Travelwest Business Awards 2016 - Winners

Photo: North Bristol NHS Trust Representatives with Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport – Copyright Mark Simmons


The Travelwest Business Awards 2016 took place on Wednesday the 2nd of November at St. George’s Bristol. 

Speaking at the Awards were James Piper and Ben Luger of ecosurety, Suzanne Audrey of the University of Bristol, and Jaya Chakrabarti MBE – a trio of inspiring and uplifting speeches.

There were 23 awards given out to businesses across the subregion, with Travel Plan accreditations recognised alongside Big Commuting Challenge winners. The Travelwest Awards themselves had six categories for businesses to vie for.


Best Newcomer

Recognising companies newly offering support to employees to reduce car travel

This year, the winner was Sword Apak, for a sustainability-focused office move that transformed the way their staff are able to access sustainable travel.


Most Improved Workplace

Recognising improvements in the workplace environment to encourage sustainable travel

The winner this year was North Bristol NHS Trust, for their ongoing work undertaking major improvements to all aspects of their travel offer – improving bus access, cycle parking provision, active travel in general, and excellent partnership working.

Two businesses were Highly Commended for their efforts - BuroHappold for a 37% reduction of CO2 per person, and Bristol City Council for the refurbishment of City Hall with a best-in-class provision of facilities to support active travel.


Best Motivational Campaign

Recognising success in motivating staff to make and sustain behavioural change

The winner this year was Ultrahaptics, for the incredible achievement of 100% participation in the Commuting Challenge through innovative engagement with staff.

Two businesses were Highly Commended for their efforts – Sift for their Step Into Siftmas campaign encouraging active travel within the workplace and North Bristol SusCom for their strategic level campaigning across the West of England.


Most Innovative Sustainable Travel Measure

Recognising organisations that have developed an innovative technique or service

The winner this year was ecosurety for the journey-sharing platform joinmyjourney.

Slide Bristol were Highly Commended for their innovative product taking forward the concept of mobility as a service.


Sustainable Travel Champion

Recognising individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to sustainable travel

The winner this year was Ann O’Driscoll of North Bristol SusCom, for her continual and unflinching support for sustainable travel in all its forms across the West of England for many years.

Highly Commended was Lucy McMillan of North Bristol NHS Trust for being a major part in North Bristol NHS Trust’s transformation work in the past two years.


Organisation of the Year

Recognising outstanding contributions to sustainable travel, the winner for this category is taken from the best nominations across all categories.

This year, the answer was clear: North Bristol NHS Trust are the Travelwest Organisation of the Year for a complete transformation across all parts of the organisation with travel and sustainability a major focus of the work.

First Bus mTicketing

Our Director is helping to promote mTicketing - here is her case study:


Ann O’Driscoll and her family are recent adopters of First West of England’s mTickets and are experiencing a range on benefits when commuting into Bristol. Ann is an infrequent bus user, predominately working from her home along the A37, and travels into the city centre for meetings once or twice a week using the Mendip Xplorer 376 service.  

“Adopting the mTickets has been incredibly simple. It really makes all the difference when you have got a meeting first thing in the morning in the city centre. Living in a rural village, where cash isn’t always accessible, it gives you a peace of mind that everything is already paid for on my smartphone. All I need to do is turn up and get on the bus.”

“There’s no more faff with holding up the queue waiting for change, then hoping the driver has the correct change and if not, getting a change ticket. I recall one morning heading to the bus stop before going into Bristol, I stopped to get coffee before realising that I had left my purse at home. As you can imagine, I was panicking because I knew that I wouldn’t have enough time to get home and collect my purse without being late for what was an important meeting. In this instance, the mTickets was a lifesaver as I could get my tickets on the go.”

As well as Ann, her husband and eldest daughter have also adopted mobile bus payments. “My husband travels a lot for work, for years he would completely dismiss public transport and would drive to Temple Meads and pay to park there. Once he learnt about the mobile technology that First had introduced he was eager to embrace it. He knew it would eliminate many issues that would usually deter him from using it.”

“My daughter, who is currently on a gap year, works in Bristol too. Like me, she loves the fact that everything is so simple and just stored on her phone. With her job she can work from any of the Bristol outlets that the company has here. At the drop of a hat, she can just turn up at the bus stop and travel across the city. It saves time and take much of the stress of out her job!”

Ann is the director of North Bristol SusCom, a group of major employers that promote sustainable commuting to their 40,000+ employees and 30,000 students. As well as using the bus, she also cycles, takes the train and occasionally uses the family car for travelling.

“By using pre-paid mTickets, it helps to put buses on par with travelling by bike or using your car. Knowing that I can just get up and go and not worry about anything else is a major advantage. I think that in a pioneering city like Bristol, introducing mobile payment is the next logical step. You see how seamlessly London made the transition and I’m sure Bristol will do the same.”

Ann and her family purchase the Outer 10 Journey ticket through the mTicket app, making a £3 saving every time they purchase the ticket. This ticket is valid for 12 months on the mTicket app. 

West of England to Go Ultra Low

Electric vehicles set to rise in the West of England following £7.5million funding boost

The West of England is set to boost its number of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs), including electric, after being awarded a grant of £7m from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

Andrew Jones, Under Secretary of State for Transport, visited Bristol today to announce that the four West of England authorities’ bid for Go Ultra Low Cities government funding had been successful.

It is to be used to spark a large uptake in ULEV vehicle use in the region, which covers vehicles that produce 75 grams of carbon dioxide or less per kilometre, including electric and plug in hybrid.

All four authorities plan to use the funding to convert 20 – 25 per cent of their light vehicles to ULEVs, which will result in massive savings on fuel bills as well as a huge reduction in the harmful emissions being pumped into the region’s airspace.

Andrew Jones, Under Secretary of State for Transport, said: “We are determined to maintain international leadership on the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles. I look forward to seeing the winning ideas for greener, cheaper cars in action.

“This funding for eco-cities is part of our £500 million funding programme over the next five years to support British industry and achieve our ambition of almost every car, bus and van in the UK being ultra low emission by 2050.”

The bid was submitted in partnership with Business West and 35 West of England employers have committed to invest in 100 ULEVs by 2020.

The funding is set to be used to double the number of charging points in the region to 400 and increase the number of ULEVs being registered in the region to 5,000 per year by 2020.

It will also fund multi-modal charging hubs that are to be built at the University of the West of England and North Somerset.

There are also plans to establish 50 new ULEV car clubs and the authorities will be working with business and supermarkets to encourage them to switch to ULEVs and build more charge points.

The creation of a low emission area in Bristol city centre will also be investigated.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Air quality is one of the most serious health issues in our urban areas and I am absolutely determined to reduce pollution as part of my goal to make Bristol one of the most liveable cities in the world.

 “I strongly support the introduction of more electric and ultra low emission vehicles to bring us closer to achieving that and add to the region’s growing reputation as a laboratory for change.

 “The transition of council fleet vans and cars to electric also means that as a council we are leading by example, with the benefit of major reductions in fuel costs and pollution.

 “I’m delighted that the Department for Transport has been able to support our innovative and ambitious plans with this funding, which will make a significant addition to the lasting impact of Bristol’s highly successful year as European Green Capital in 2015.”

Councillor Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “The success of this bid for government funding is great news and will allow us to continue our work to reduce road traffic emissions, which impact on air quality and the health of our residents.

“As a council we’ve already started greening our fleet which reduces our vehicle running costs at the same time as improving air quality. This scheme will enable us to further develop the potential of ultra-low emission vehicles, focussing particularly on the three Air Quality Management Areas of Bath, Saltford and Keynsham.”

Cllr Colin Hunt, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee and Joint Transport Executive Committee Board, said: We are delighted that the West of England councils have been successful in securing a multi-million pound investment for the Go Ultra Low City Scheme.

“We are fully committed to reducing the carbon impact of our transport system, and improving the air quality within our communities.

“By increasing the number of low emission vehicles within our own vehicle fleets and across our communities, today’s announcement is a major boost to helping us achieve these commitments.”

Cllr Nigel Ashton, Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “The award of this grant is fantastic news for the West of England and North Somerset.

“As a partnership we have an excellent track record of sustainable travel initiatives and this will enable us to deliver more innovative schemes so that ULEVs are seen as a real, viable travel solution.

“The Go Ultra Low Cities funding gives us the opportunity to build on work already taking place in North Somerset by increasing the number of ULEVS on our roads and developing the charging infrastructure, benefiting our residents, the business community and the environment.”

James Durie, Executive Director for Business West, said: “With the eyes of the world on Bristol, the Go Ultra Low City Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for the city to become an international ambassador for ultra-low emission vehicles, showcasing its opportunity and desire to transform people’s quality of life and to build a stronger, more resilient economy.”

Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “We’re excited to see the innovative ideas put forward by Bristol become reality over the coming months.

“The £7 million funding by government, combined with local investment, will transform the roads for residents around the West of England.

“With thousands more plug-in cars set to be sold locally, cutting running costs for motorists and helping the environment, this investment will help Bristol gain recognition as one of the most sustainable transport cities in Europe.

“Initiatives such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone, allowing electric vehicles to use high occupancy lanes and community demonstrator cars for public testing are sure to appeal to drivers and inspire other UK cities and local authorities to invest in the electric revolution.”

A Good Transport Plan for Bristol

The Good Transport Plan sets out a vision for the future of travel in Bristol and has been produced by the cycling and walking charity Sustrans on behalf of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership Transport Action Group. The plan aims to show how getting around the city could be cleaner, cheaper and more efficient if we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

In developing the plan, Sustrans have worked in collaboration with a range of local organisations, businesses and community group leaders and consulted with over 1,300 people - made up of over 700 face to face engagements at events across Bristol and a further 600 online.

It is hoped that the Good Transport Plan can create change by setting out proposals that would make traveling into and around Bristol more sustainable, accessible and enjoyable. The aim is to inspire people to see the potential for the future of travel in Bristol, and even to provide their own ideas – feeding into the current West of England Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study consultations.

Ian Barrett, Sustrans Director and Bristol Green Capital Partnership Vice-Chair said: “The Good Transport Plan has been a unique opportunity to engage people throughout Bristol in creating a shared vision for the city’s streets.  It brings together current plans for transport in the Bristol area and looks at what more we can do to change the way we travel and make it easier for everyone to travel in ways that are good for their health and the environment.  The Bristol Green Capital Partnership has provided a unique space to develop this idea and promote collaboration - bringing together previously disparate campaign voices to give everyone a chance to contribute to the debate on the future of transport in Bristol and establish new ambitions that we hope will help shape our transport system over the next 20-30 years.”

The Plan lists nine objectives that would promote clean and convenient travel. These include:

·       An affordable and reliable public transport system

·       A well-connected walking and cycling system that is of high quality

·       Increasing the use of low-emission, shared vehicle usage and accessible refilling points

·       Reducing the number of heavy vehicles on the road and coordinating delivery vehicle patterns  

·       Creating a people centred city centre by reducing its traffic flow

·       Encouraging collaboration and empowerment to communities

·       Giving employees the chance to work from home when possible

·       Allowing children the opportunity to scoot and cycle to improve their well-being

·       And overall, to prove that sustainable and active travel is beneficial to everyone

The Good Transport Plan was possible thanks to funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital project.

Over 20 commercial and community organisations have signed up in support to the Good Transport Plan including FirstGroup; DHL; Business West; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Greater Bedminster Community Partnership; Bristol Civic Society and Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways.

Peter Mann, Bristol City Council Service Director for Transport said: “I very much welcome the production and launch of the Good Transport Plan by the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and recognise its contribution to the mobility debate in the city.  The Good Transport Plan helps to clarify the real challenges we face in keeping Bristol moving and to put forward some of the main ideas around sustainable transport.  The large membership of the Partnership provides a forum that reaches deep into Bristol’s communities and therefore helps engage many who would not necessarily get involved in a traditional consultation exercise.

I particularly welcome the recognition in the Plan that we are not starting from scratch.  Indeed, it highlights some of the more significant transport projects currently going on in the city that will all contribute to meeting long-term objectives. I also welcome the suggestion that citizens themselves can start to make a difference through their own travel choices in their local areas and workplaces, without waiting for major projects to provide ‘magic bullets’ to our shared problems.

The forward planning for transport in the city region is currently underway through the Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study consultation and the Good Transport Plan chimes well with this work.  It will I am sure, stimulate the debate further and I will make sure the Good Transport Plan is taken into account alongside all other opinions in developing future transport policy in the city.”

Ben Barker, Co-ordinator, Let’s Walk Bedminster said: “It’s very important that people are able to walk around their communities safely and in comfort. Too often the route to the shops, school, a friend’s house is an obstacle course of broken surfaces, blocked pavements, fast and noisy vehicles and poisonous air. People with mobility and sight problems are worst hit along with buggy pushers and small children. We must address this issue, and ‘A Good Transport Plan for Bristol’ will be a great tool in helping us to communicate this and inspire change”  

Poppy Brett, Chief Executive, Life Cycle UK said: “Life Cycle UK signed up to ‘A Good Transport Plan for Bristol’ because we want to help create a new positive vision of transport in Bristol with more sustainable travel options for all.  The system we have at the moment isn’t working for anyone, and it’s time for a new dialogue. ‘A Good Transport Plan’ has provided an opportunity to discuss the future of sustainable transport, but it is only a starting point and I hope that by launching it this week, we will be able to widen the discussions even further and help create a truly shared vision for better transport in Bristol”

Ann O’Driscoll, Director North Bristol SusCom said: “As a Group of employers based in North Bristol, we are adversely impacted on a daily basis by congestion. We are proud to support ‘A Good Transport Plan for Bristol’ as it will help us continue to encourage our 40,000 employees, 30,000 students to travel more sustainably, more often. We know through our annual travel to work surveys that many people would like to get out of their cars and travel more sustainably but they need options – designated cycle routes, buses that don’t get caught up in traffic, more frequent rail services, showers and lockers at work etc.  The more we can cater for cyclists, walkers, and public transport users the more all road users benefit through reduced congestion and pollution”

North Bristol SusCom Update January 2016

Here's our January Update for members.

January 2016 Update


Get Gorge-ous Cycle Challenge 2016 Poster 

Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study Consultation Events for Businesses - January 2016

The local authorities in the West of England have launched a public consultation on the future of the area. The West of England Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study will set out a prospectus for sustainable growth that will help the area meet its housing and transport needs for the next 20 years.

Working with Business West, the Bristol Green Capital Partnership and the four local authorities, North Bristol SusCom is helping to organise a number of consultation events to help businesses input into where these future homes and transport investment should be located.

Special Business Events are being organised for Weston Super Mare, South Gloucestershire and Bristol in January 2016. These events will include a range of presentations, facilitated workshops and an opportunity for attendees to have their say on these important issues.

Further information about this consultation, details of the consultation events and ways to have your say on these important subjects is available on the following website: www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk

Two useful summary documents have been produced which explain some of the issue and opportunities the consultation is looking at.

Joint Spatial Plan Summary:  http://bit.ly/JointSpatialPlanSummary

Joint Transport Study Summary:  http://bit.ly/JointTransportStudySummary

Gipsy Patch Lane overnight closures at railway bridge - 13th & 14th July 2015

As part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) project, South Glos Council needs to close Gipsy Patch Lane at the railway bridge for two nights on 13th and 14th July, 10pm to 6am each night.  This is for their sub-contractors to undertake investigations on the bridge and the highway beneath it to inform the ongoing design work for the proposed replacement bridge.  Access to all properties and side roads along Gipsy Patch Lane will still be possible during the closures, and pedestrians and dismounted cyclists will still be able to travel under the bridge during the closures.

The Council is writing to residents and businesses along Gipsy Patch Lane, as well as other significant employers nearby.  The letter they have posted should be arriving with the recipients by this coming weekend.  Variable message display signs will be in place on Gipsy Patch Lane by the end of this week to let regular travellers through the area know. 


First Bus offers 25% off weekly tickets during July

More public cycle pumps in North Bristol

Published by South Glos Council : Tuesday 20 January 2015

Four additional free public bicycle air pumps have now been installed near to popular cycling routes in South Gloucestershire.

The air pumps have been fitted in two new locations – the Bristol and Bath Science Park and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. The two pumps located at the Science Park are easily accessible for those cycling around the A4174 ring road. The two located at The Mall are ideally placed for anyone cycling to work at the shopping centre/retail park or exploring the 14km Concorde Way route which runs from Cabot Circus in central Bristol to the north side of The Mall.

The Science Park pumps are situated near the main entrance. The pumps at The Mall can be found at car park zones K1 on the north side and D5 on the south side of the shopping centre.

These new installations bring the total number of free bicycle air pumps in South Gloucestershire to six, with the first two installed on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path at Bitton and Warmley in July 2014.

The heavy duty public bicycle air pumps provide cyclists with a convenient facility to pump up deflated tyres. The pumps are permanent fixtures which have been securely bolted to the ground, and have been designed to withstand constant use. They feature a robust stainless steel pump handle and an armoured air hose, are suitable for both types of tyre valve, and also have a handy gauge to check pressure.

The pump located at the entrance to the Science Park is a full-featured ‘Fixit’ stand which also includes wrenches and screwdrivers for basic bike maintenance.

Richard Pitkin, Innovation Centre Director at the Science Park said: “Since the Science Park opened three and a half years ago we have worked continually with South Gloucestershire Council and North Bristol Suscom to provide better and better facilities for the large number of cyclists we have on site. Along with ample covered cycle space, showers and drying rooms, the new cycle pumps really complete our first class cycling facilities.
“Up to 25 per cent of our tenant staff cycle to the Science Park, some from as far away as Wells, some come straight up the Bristol and Bath Railway Path from Bristol city centre, and some are very local, but all appreciate the security of having decent cycling equipment to carry out basic maintenance when necessary.”

These new free bicycle pumps are available as part of a drive to make the West of England region cycle-friendly and improve safety for cyclists and have been funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). The pumps will be looked after and maintained by local businesses or organisations.

For more information and to find free cycle pumps across the West of England region visit the Better by Bike website www.betterbybike.info/bikepumps

Winter Cycling - Be Bright, Be Seen

We have pulled together some useful resources for businesses wanting to help their staff continue to travel sustainably over the winter months. 

Two of our members, GKN and Aibus, have produced some materials that can be adapted for any business. GKN has also shared some information about the Winter Commuter Safety Event they ran recently.  

GKN Be Bright, Be Seen

Airbus Be Bright, Be Seen

GKN Winter Commuter Safety Fortnight - Event Write Up


Other useful resources are available on the TravelWest website, including:

Winter Safety Guide for Employers

Carry on Commuting Poster

Carry on Commuting Business Card


Don’t let the weather put you off cycling and walking to work, with a bit of planning it’s possible to commute sustainably year round.

The following information is an introduction to get you started and some suggestions to help keep you safe.
Wear suitable clothing
Winter Commuting - WalkingYou probably already own all you need to wrap up for a wintery ride or walk - simple waterproofs, fleeces or a couple of thinner items for to act as layers. Remember that because you are travelling actively you’ll get considerably warmer a few minutes into your journey so don’t go for something overly heavy (see the links below for information on base layers).
A couple of items are deemed essential:
Sturdy footwear: wet feet can be uncomfortable and slippery 
Gloves: you’ll need these from autumn onwards – ideally these will be wind & waterproof. 
Waterproofs if cycling, Umbrella if walking
Non-essential items include:
Waterproof overshoes: available from all good bike shops, these can cover your standard footwear to keep your feet really dry – some more information can be found from London Cyclist
Ice studs: If walking in very icy or snowy conditions, ice studs or snow boots can improve safety. 
Walking poles: Nordic or other walking poles can be useful particularly in snow and mud to improve stability.
The type and style is up to you. Specialist active wear is available affordably at bike and outdoor shops, but you might have something in the cupboard that is also suitable.
The ‘How to Dress for Winter Commuting’ blog provides some interesting tips. And finally, The Guardian has an interesting article on the type of winter clothing available for commuting.
Be visible
Winter Commuting - High-vizHigh-viz (i.e. highly visible reflective items) and good lights are essential when riding in dark and wintery conditions - and visible clothing can improve safety for walkers too. High-viz comes in many forms: reflective bibs, arm bands, bike bands, leg bands, rucksack and pannier covers, hat covers, and a range of colours so you can pick something that suits your needs.
Front and rear lights are a legal requirement for cyclists when riding on the road in dark conditions, as are rear reflectors and pedal reflectors. A constant rather than a flashing light is recommended in areas without good street lighting.
Rules for lights and cycling can be found here on gov.uk (anything marked MUST is a legal requirement, all others are recommendations only).
Whilst being clearly visible on the roads in winter is vital, this blog calls out for cyclists to not forget how important confident road positioning is to ensure vehicles can see you at all times.
Some additional tips for cyclists are available from Cycle Scheme and for walkers from About Health.
Prepare your bike for winter
Winter Commuting - CyclingYou certainly do not have to buy a new bike for winter riding, but some simple adjustments can make a big difference to your comfort and safety.
Let a little air out of your tyres: this gives you extra grip on slippery conditions. In prolonged icy conditions it might be worth fitting a pair ofwinter tyres, you can fit these yourself or any bike mechanic will be able to do it for you quickly and affordably.
Service your brakes and oil-up: Having your bike in a good state of repair is even more important in the winter. Taking it to a bike shop for a standard service (costs start from around £25) is a great idea to ensure you are safe and ready to go. Oiled components will help everything work smoothly even in bad weather, and it is essential to ensure your brakes are working well. Bike locks may even need a spray of oil to ensure they don’t stick shut in very cold or wet weather.
Mudguards: mudguards, although adding a tiny bit of weight to your bike, will prevent a wet or muddy streak up your back – making for a much more comfortable trip.
Keeping your bike dry: parking your bike in an undercover area can make your journey a lot more comfortable. Where covered cycle parking is not available, a waterproof seat cover (or even just a plastic bag) can do the trick.
Allow extra time for your journey
Winter Commuting - Walking
Weather can be disruptive. Reduce stress by leaving a little earlier and enjoy the cold morning trip!
Slips, trips and falls are the most common types of accident in life generally and, thankfully, the consequences of many falls on snow or ice are simply minor bumps and bruises.  To avoid accidents on the way to work, plan your journey, take it slowly and allow yourself extra time to get from A to B so you don't find yourself having to make a last minute dash to get to the bus etc. Also keep an eye on what is underfoot, some places will remain icy for longer than others (e.g. places that do not get the sun).
Check for travel updates
There are various places where you can access travel updates, from breakfast TV to your local radio stations. Here are a few suggestions:
BBC Bristol travel
Radio Bristol
National Rail
Consider changing your route to avoid un-gritted paths
The Highway Authorities have a statutory duty to keep the public highway in a safe condition, which in the winter months includes gritting for ice or the removal of snow as far as is reasonably practical. As it is impossible for a Council to cover the whole of their road network in bad weather, priority is given to gritting and clearing A and B roads which may include some pavements and cycle routes.
In snowy or icy conditions it is advised that you check which routes are prioritised for gritting – see links below – and stick to main highways and larger roads. This may mean choosing more on-road sections rather than off-road cycle paths. Priority routes are more likely to be gritted earlier in the morning.
All the West of England councils provide guidance on their winter road maintenance and maps of their priority gritting routes; choose from the following local authority areas:
 • Bristol
 • South Gloucestershire
 • Bath and North East Somerset
 • North Somerset
Be prepared
• General winter commuting information is available from RoSPA and Lifecycle UK including advice on when it may be best not to travel, with some alternative suggestions such as working from home or travelling by other means (than you usually would).
• More general advice for cyclists can be found on the Cycle Scheme website and;
• For walkers general advice for walkers can be found here: Weight Watchers
• If you drive for part, or all, of your journey there are some useful tips available from Money Supermarket.
(Please note that the websites, shops and information here are merely a selection of what is available, as examples, and should not be seen as recommendations)

Active Transport - a long term investment

The Active Transport for Healthy Living Coalition is calling on the Government to do more to promote active travel.  A call North Bristol SusCom wholeheartedly supports.

Government funding on transport infrastructure tends to focus on large scale, multi million pound projects. Resources allocated for cycling and walking infrastructure are much more ad-hoc and smaller in scale.

The DfT has run a very successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, which is due to come to an end in March 2016. In North Bristol, this fund has been incredibly useful and enabled us to work really closely with businesses and their employees to encourage active travel, greater bus use and car sharing.

Our members have benefited from investments for new cycle shelters, electric car charging points, new commuter bus routes, behavior change programmes, improved cycling infrastructure, travel roadshows, loan bikes, commuter challenge events, travel awards and much, much more.

A lot of expertise has been built up and strong relationships between organisations and local partners have been developed. But as is often the nature with Government revenue funding it is short term in its ambition.

For some reason revenue funding is viewed by Government as a subsidy or grant when it should been seen as a long-term investment, like the major capital programmes are.

Revenue funded activity can make things happen quickly and keep businesses and people engaged whilst the longer term capital investments grind through their approvals and planning processes. 

We need a longer-term strategy for supporting and resourcing active travel activity, which will not only benefit the country on a health basis but an economic one as well. Congestion costs society far too much money and our members recognize that staff who have a positive commute into work are more productive in their jobs.

We support the Active Transport for Healthy Living Coalition and back their call for a successor to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund - a long-term revenue investment programme to enable major travel behavior change programmes.


Ann O’Driscoll


27 June 2014

MetroWest: Have your say on the location of a new rail station for Portishead

Over the next few weeks, the MetroWest Team, is consulting with the local community on proposals for a new railway station at Portishead. These proposals are part of a wider project called MetroWest which aims to reopen the Portishead line to passenger trains.

The consultation is asking for feedback on three possible options for the location of Portishead Station. These are explained in the consultation leaflet. Further information about the consultation is also available on the TravelWest website and on the North Somerset Council website.

You can tell them your views on the three options by completing their online survey. Please ensure your comments reach them by 5pm on 28 July 2014

During the consultation period there will be two exhibitions at Portishead Methodist Church. The second exhibition is on Saturday 28 June and runs from 10pm to 2pm.

Overview of the MetroWest proposals

The West of England councils are working together on proposals which will deliver investment of up to £100 million in improvements to our local rail network, over the next five to ten years. The proposals, called MetroWest, are a series of projects including large to small scale enhancements to our local rail network. The overall aim is to introduce fast and frequent metro rail services across the local area.

MetroWest Phase 1 proposes to reopen the Portishead line to passenger train services and will introduce half-hourly train services for the Severn Beach line and the Bath Spa to Bristol line.

Since the MetroWest Phase 1 project began in 2013 they’ve done substantial work to identify and assess options for the location of Portishead rail station. They have identified three viable options and would like to hear your views on these.

There is more information on the MetroWest Phase 1 project on the TravelWest website.

Further information

If you have any queries about the project or the consultation or would like to be receive further information updates by email, please contact the team at metrowest@westofengland.org or go along to the exhibition on Saturday 28 June. 

Airbus Employees Get Bike Fever

Photo caption: Keen Airbus cyclists surrounded by the hundreds of bikes in the Airbus cycle racks at Filton. From left, Jay Wheelwright, Jerry Wilson, Dave Copper and Tim Dew.


Airbus employees get bike fever

Airbus has highest rate of cycle commuters among large employers in North Bristol

Nearly 20 per cent of employees at Airbus in Filton get on their bikes to get to work, a commuter behaviour survey by North Bristol SusCom and South Gloucestershire Council has found. This is 50% higher than the average business surveyed across North Bristol.

Cycling has always been a popular way to get to work at the Airbus Filton site, but the figures have increased by around 50 commuters per year since 2012 thanks to an employee-led bike users group and the improved bike park, showers and drying facilities on the Airbus Aerospace Park which opened last year.

Simon Tomlinson, who leads the bike users group said; “These figures are fantastic and confirm what we have always known: that cycling really is the commuting method of choice for so many people. The members of the bike users group are extremely grateful for the investment Airbus has made in providing benchmark cycling facilities as part of the new Aerospace Park which has been a catalyst for a lot of people to get in the saddle. It all goes to show what can be achieved when everyone works together.”

The bike users group has almost 700 members and provides benefits such as support for new cyclists, lending tools for repair, consulting on bike facilities on site and promoting cycling events. Members of the group cycle in from as far away as Bath, Portishead and Chepstow, but the main target is to encourage more cycling for short distance commutes.

The SusCom survey also found that in the last year bus use and car sharing had increased and solo car use had decreased.

From ferries to stand-up paddle boards, how's your Bristol commute?

Check out this article that appeared in the Bristol Post today! Glad some of our members (David with daugher Sophie from HP, Richard from Bristol & Bath Science Park and Craig and Tom from GKN Aerospace) made it!


THE Big Commute challenge got off to a flying start in Bristol this week.

As reported in the Bristol Post the drive has been launched with the aim of trying to get people to think how they travel to work.

The various forms of green travel include everything from surf boards to canoes.

The Big commuting Challenge runs until the end of July and there are prizes on offer for everyone involved. It has been designed to create a sense of fun and friendly competition and throughout the campaign there will be a series of weekly challenges.

The mini challenges include Selfie With A Stranger week, where people will be encouraged to meet their fellow commuters and take a snapshot on their journey into work and Capture My Commute week, inviting people to share scenic pictures of their route.

Abigail Smith, from Travelwest, helped set up the initiative.

She said: "From on foot to ferry, there are many sustainable ways to travel to work. The BIG Commuting Challenge aims to introduce people to different modes of transport by engaging commuters in a fun, community campaign that is easy and enjoyable to take part in.


"By leaving their cars at home, people can also get fit in the process, save money and reduce congestion and emissions."






Free ride into work for a month

Really proud of this initiative between our Member North Bristol NHS Trust, the Kings Ferry and South Glos and Bristol City Councils. See what happens when everyone works together!


Article reproduced from Bristol Post 4 June 2014 - Page 9

Bus to Work Scheme

Here's a copy of the letter we sent to The Rt Hon Edward Davey MP, Secretary of State at DECC about our proposals for a Bus to Work Scheme. A national scheme could help increase bus commuting without the need for any significant upfront expenditure. Could help tip the balance and make bus travel a much more attractive option for commuters. 

Bristol Cycle Festival - 2014 Dates Announced


To find out more and offer your help and support go to: 

Tax Incentives for Bus Commuters

Check out the latest blog by Greener Journeys' Chief Exec Claire Haigh "The 'Bus Bonus': An idea whose time has come". Read a copy of the KPMG Report about the Bus Bonus Scheme here

The Bus Bonus would offer employees an e-vouchers salary sacrifice scheme to purchase bus travel. The e-vouchers would be exempt from income tax and national insurance. Come on Treasury - you know it make sense!

Hundreds sign up for new commuter coach service

Over 400 people have already registered their interest for a new commuter coach service which is set to launch next month.

North Somerset Council is working with coach operator The Kings Ferry to launch a new luxury coach service from Monday 4 November, transporting commuters from North Somerset to major employment areas in north Bristol.

The new coach service will be free throughout November and December for everyone who registersat www.bristolcommute.com. Commuters interested in the new service are being urged to register by the end of October to ensure they receive instructions about how to claim their free travel.

Each morning four coaches will leave Weston-super-Mare, with a stop in Clevedon, and four coaches will leave Portishead. All coaches will travel to major employment areas around the Bristol and South Gloucestershire border, including Aztec West, Rolls Royce, Royal Mail, Airbus and the Ministry of Defence.

Eight coaches will leave north Bristol each evening. 

With the rising costs of petrol and car ownership, luxury coach services specifically for commuters have proven popular with professionals travelling to cities and major employment areas across the UK in recent years.

The Kings Ferry has over 30 years experience running executive commuter coach services in the South East, transporting over 1,300 commuters into London each day.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, executive member for highways and transport, said: “The Kings Ferry is providing four brand new 49-seat coaches for the new services. The coaches will have luxury seats, air conditioning, power sockets, refreshments, toilets and free wifi, so passengers can really make the most of their journey time and relax, work, go online or catch up with friends while they travel.”

The Kings Ferry Commercial Director Danny Elford said: “It is fantastic that so many people in North Somerset have already signed up for the new service and recognise that taking the coach to work is reliable, comfortable and great value for money. We have over 30 years experience of running similar services and we are certain this region has the fundamental elements needed for a successful service.”

More details, including the timetable and locations of coach stops, are available at www.bristolcommute.com.

2 months free travel on commuter coach service

Commuters travelling to north Bristol from North Somerset can now register for a new executive coach service, and enjoy free travel throughout November and December. 

North Somerset Council is working with coach operator The Kings Ferry Ltd to launch a new luxury commuter coach service from Monday November 4. The service will link Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead with major employment areas around the Bristol and South Gloucestershire border, including Aztec West, Rolls Royce, Royal Mail and Airbus. 

And the new commuter coach service will be free throughout November and December for everyone who registers at www.bristolcommute.com by the end of October.  

The Kings Ferry Ltd, part of the National Express Group, will run eight express services via the M5 motorway on two routes during the morning and evening rush hours. One route will start in Weston and pick up in Clevedon, the other will start in Portishead. 

The Kings Ferry Ltd is providing four brand new 49 seat, fully accessible coaches for commuters. The vehicles will be kitted out with luxury seats, air conditioning, power sockets, drink machines, toilets and free wifi so passengers can leave the car at home and relax, work, go online or catch up with friends while they travel.

With the rising costs of petrol and car ownership, luxury coach services specifically for commuters have proven popular with professionals travelling to cities and major employment areas across the UK in recent years.

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, executive member for highways and transport, said: “Passengers in North Somerset will soon benefit from Kings Ferry Ltd’s expertise and experience of running successful executive commuter coach services in the South East. This is a real opportunity for local residents working in the North Fringe to test the service for a couple of months at no cost to themselves. 

"We know over 3,500 commuters drive to and from this area every working day and this is an opportunity to both make the journey easier and cheaper."

Bus News

Check out our latest Bus Newsletter for information about:

  • Changes to Wessex Red Services
  • The Bristol "threes" Aztec Buses 
  • Changes to First Bus Services
  • New Commuter Services from North Somerset to the North Fringe

New executive coach service launches November 2013

North Bristol SusCom has been working closely with North Somerset Council and coach operator The Kings Ferry Ltd to help promote the launch a new executive commuter coach service from Monday 4 November that will link Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon and Portishead with North Bristol.

The service will transport commuters from North Somerset who work in major employment areas around the Bristol and South Gloucestershire border, including Aztec West, Rolls Royce, Royal Mail and Airbus. And users who register for the new service will enjoy free travel throughout November and December.

The Kings Ferry Ltd, part of the National Express Group, will run eight express services via the M5 motorway on two routes during the morning and evening rush hours. One route will start in Weston and pick up in Clevedon, the other will start in Portishead. 

The Kings Ferry Ltd is providing four brand new 49 seat, fully accessible coaches for commuters. The vehicles will be kitted out with luxury seats, air conditioning, power sockets, drink machines, toilets and free wifi so passengers can leave the car at home and relax, work, go online or catch up with friends while they travel.

The Kings Ferry Ltd has more than 30 years experience of running similar services in the South East and currently transports over 1,300 commuters into central London each day.

The council has provided kick-start funding for the new service using money from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), a two-year project funded by the Department for Transport which is improving public transport links in and around North Somerset for anyone travelling to work, school or training.

On top of the council’s two year kick-start funding, The Kings Ferry Ltd has committed to run the service for a further two years.   

The council are working with The Kings Ferry Ltd to determine the coach routes, timings and ticket options. These will be published in September. 

BUG NEWS - 20 August 2013

Check out the weekly BUG Newsletter from our very own Chairman, David Callaghan HP

Cycling Ambition Funding Awarded

The Department for Transport has announced that the West of England has secured around £7.8m of Cycling Ambition Funding. We are really pleased that the South Gloucesterhsire element of the West of Engalnd bid means that key componenets of the South Gloucestershire Cycle Trunk Route can now be delivered. A safe crossing of the M32 for cyclists and improvments to the A4174 Hambrook Junction were both key barriers identified in our first ever staff travel survey back in 2010. We are looking forward to working with South Glos Council on the implementation of the Cycling Ambition project.

Click here for the full DfT press relaease

Bug News 12 August - more details

Sustainable transport in North Bristol is really taking off

The use of sustainable transport options has increased by more than five per cent in North Bristol, according to a survey supported by North Bristol SusCom – a membership organisation that promotes sustainable commuting in North Bristol.

More than 5,000 employees of SusCom members participated in an annual Travel to Work survey, which analyses how employees in the region travel to and from work.

The results show that in the year since March 2012 there has been a five per cent decrease in the number of single occupancy car drivers travelling to and from work, bringing it below 50 per cent for the first time.

They also show an 8.2 per cent collective increase in walkers, cyclists, car sharers and bus users. Bus usage in North Bristol has seen the biggest increase with six per cent more people using their local services now than in 2012.

Ann O’Driscoll, director of North Bristol Sus Com, said: “As part of this survey we’ve looked at some of the factors that stop people using sustainable transport and one of our main objectives is to tackle the problems being raised.

“The survey highlights some of the main barriers to sustainable travel choices, which include lengthy and expensive public transport options and a lack of direct services available to respondents.

 “Three years ago, North Bristol SusCom set itself targets to combat these issues over the next five years as part of our area wide travel plan. The results show that in most areas we have already exceeded these targets and demonstrate that people really understand the benefits of using sustainable transport.”

In 2010, North Bristol SusCom set itself a target to reduce the number of single occupancy drivers by five per cent by 2015. This target has already been exceeded and the number of single occupancy drivers has gone down by nine per cent from 2010 levels.

North Bristol SusCom is a group of major employers located in North Bristol that promotes sustainable commuting for their 40,000 employees and 30,000 students in the area. They work collaboratively to influence and improve local transport provision and reduce the impact on the environment, and explore innovative ways to address transport problems in North Bristol. Members include Airbus, Friends Life, MOD, MITIE and Nvidia.

The results, which centre on the day-to-day transport habits of SusCom member employees, have been extracted from an area wide ‘Travel to Work’ survey conducted by South Gloucestershire Council, designed to capture an accurate picture of travel choices on a specific day.

Download a copy of the survey results here.

Sustrans' Pedal On UK: Bristol 26 August

This event is part of a UK-wide series of events celebrating walking and cycling. The event is aimed at anyone who wants to find out more about walking and cycling for their everyday journeys, for health, environmental or financial reasons. It will have activities and information for children, families and commuters.

For more info go to: www.sustrans.org.uk/events/pedal-uk-bristol

BUG NEWS - 4th July

Here's a weekly BUG Newsletter from our very own Chairman, David Callaghan HP


A bumper edition this week!


It’s Bristol’s Cycle Festival month!  Programme here.


No excuses now – even the weather has been booked!


And Roll for the Soul community bike café is NOW OPEN!


Some great cycling videos  Click on the images for the videos.

A brilliant advert from Halfords. Yes, Halfords!


And a spoof on hipster culture in Portland.

The latest awe inspiring offering from Danny Macaskill. You won’t be asking why (red bull costs so much!) Some more behind the scenes stuff here.


But even Danny can’t do this kind of thing! An unlikely Ride by Binary Bike



Cycle safety scheme consultations

South Gloucestershire has opened a consultation on a group of cycle safety schemes for the following locations along the A38 corridor – Northville Road / Braemar Avenue Roundabout, Filton Avenue Junction, Patchway Slip roads. The consultation opened on 27 Jun 2013 and closes on 29th Jul 2013.

Please feed in any comments you have on the proposals- which can be found following this link:  http://bit.ly/14IPbTx


Cycle Commuter – Issue 10 Spring/Summer 2013


Vintage Velo Bristol – 14 July 2013

Bus News

Check out the first edition of Bus News. It contains some useful information about bus services travelling to and around North Bristol.

Bus News 30 April 2013

X18 Free Travel in May campaign

First Bus is offering commuters in North Bristol, free travel on their X18 service which travels between Kingswood and Aztec West. See their promotion below to find out more and collect your free tickets.


X18 Kingswood – Aztec West

via Emersons Green, Bristol & Bath Science Park, UWE, Abbey Wood and Filton

The new X18 commuter bus service from Kingswood to Aztec West is reliable, regular and convenient. It gets you to work fast, too – just sit back and make the most of your travel time with free Wi-Fi, BBC news updates and next-stop information, while your X18 sails past queuing rush-hour traffic!



If you haven’t tried the X18 yet, why not give it a go during May – completely free? We’re giving away hundreds of FREE 10 journey voucher books that you can choose to use at any time to suit you, throughout May. To apply for your tickets, just email bristol.reception@firstgroup.com with ‘X18 10 Journey ticket’ in the subject line. In the email, include your name, the address to which you’d like us to send the vouchers, and the business you work for. When you want to travel, all you need to do is complete your details on one of the vouchers and hand it to your X18 driver, who will exchange the voucher for a single journey ticket.


You can hop on an X18 and use one of your 10 free vouchers any time during May, so suit yourself and try X18 with our compliments!

Where do employees in North Bristol travel to work from?

North Bristol SusCom:  Employee postcode analysis

In summer 2012, North Bristol SusCom commissioned a Bus Study to help our members and partners identify gaps in bus routes serving the North of Bristol. As part of the study we looked at potential passenger demand by analysing our members’ anonymised employee postcode information.

In total, we received postcode data for 31,615 employees working for 13 different companies. This aggregated information helps us identify those areas and districts that have significant concentrations of employees who work in North Bristol for SusCom employers. It is these areas that will be the focus for greater joint working and sustainable transport promotion not just for buses and new bus routes but also for car sharing, rail services, cycling infrastructure etc.


Have a look at our postcode factsheet for more information.

Helping hand for cycle-to-work staff


Picture: National Composite Centre Chief Executive Peter Chivers (left) takes delivery of an Emergency Cycle Repair Kit from HP manager and North Bristol Sus Com chairman David CallaghanEmployers in South Gloucestershire are giving staff some practical encouragement to cycle to work, in a bid to promote more sustainable forms of commuting.


Employers’ helping hand for cycle-to-work staff

More than 20 companies along the A4714 ring road – representing over 40,000 staff -- have signed up to an innovative scheme which will see emergency cycle repair kits deposited at dozens of workplaces.

The kits include essential cycle maintenance tools as well as spare equipment such as lights, locks and high-vis jackets, and aim to help staff or visitors tackle minor issues that might otherwise be a big problem for cycle commuters.

Employers using the kits include Airbus, HP, Mitie, Friends Life and the Bristol & Bath Science Park, as well as the University of the West of England and NHS Blood & Transplant.

The scheme is being led by North Bristol SusCom, a partnership of major local employers committed to sustainable commuting, with support from South Gloucestershire Council via the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

SusCom Director Ann O’Driscoll said: “We all recognise the importance of sustainable transport, such as cycling, as a way of reducing congestion and promoting healthy lifestyles.

“Cycling to work is a great way to get fit and save money and this scheme aims to make it as easy as possible for staff to do this.

“Flat tyres or forgotten locks can be a big nuisance for cyclists and this scheme aims to encourage people to bike to work in the knowledge that help is at hand should it be needed.”

She added: “I hope the project will encourage even more people to join the thousands who already cycle to work in South Gloucestershire.”

Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee Cllr Brian Allinson said: “Many people live within three or five miles of their workplace, making cycling an ideal means of getting to work. And with recent investment in cycle routes in South Gloucestershire, there has never been a better time for people to get on their bike – especially with the added reassurance that any minor maintenance problems can be resolved when they get there, thanks to this excellent emergency kit scheme.”

The National Composite Centre at the Bristol & Bath Science Park is one of many local employers to have recently taken delivery of a kit. Chief Executive Peter Chivers said: “The NCC is fully committed to providing our employees with sustainable and healthy travel to work alternatives.

“As a keen cyclist myself I had the misfortune of two punctures on my way to work by bike this summer. I can understand the impact and challenge that making a repair can make and the additional time which can impact on the working day.

“The NCC is therefore really pleased to participate in the scheme because it gives a win all round, benefitting the environment, the employee and the business.”

October 2012 - Car Share Month


October 2012 - Car Share Month

Employers in North Bristol have declared October as car share month. To tie in with start of National Liftshare Week (which runs from 1 - 5 October 2012) our members are undertaking a range of activities to encourage employees to give car sharing a go. If people shared at least one journey to/from work a week it could have a significant impact on reducing congestion in North Bristol.  Register your journeys at Travel West and find someone going your way. 

Cheswick Bus Link to open

this article is from the bbc.co.uk website http://bbc.in/RX3ocI

A new bus lane in South Gloucestershire which cost £1.5m to build is due to be opened later.

The Cheswick link connects the University of the West of England's Frenchay Campus with the Abbeywood roundabout in Stoke Gifford.

Work started on the project, on land to the rear of Hewlett Packard, during the summer of 2011.

The route has been mainly funded by contributions from companies involved in the Cheswick housing development.

South Gloucestershire Council hopes it will improve journey times and reduce delays by allowing buses to bypass traffic on the A4174 ring road and Coldharbour Lane.

Bus operators sign up to multi operator travelcard

The following press relaese is taken from the First Bus Website:

A unique multi operator travelcard is set to be unveiled in the West of England benefitting bus users across the region.

The card, which will be known as the Avon Rider, will be made available to customers to buy on bus from Sunday 2 September 2012. 

Having been developed in partnership by bus operators in the area, the card will allow unlimited travel on a number of different operators' services, including those provided by (in alphabetical order): Abus, Bath Bus Company, Bakers-Dolphin, Crosville Motor Services, Faresaver, First, North Somerset Coaches, Somerbus, Webber Bus and Wessex Connect.

At just £7.20 per day for an introductory period (and £7.50 thereafter) the ticket will offer unlimited travel for customers in the West of England region, enabling the user to travel in and around Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset using multiple services provided by all these operators for just one set price.

The scheme was developed by the operators working as part of the West of England Bus Operators Association (WEBOA). Other operators can join the scheme should they wish to. 

Travel Plan Awards 2012

There have been some significant changes to the West of England's Travel Plan Accreditation Scheme and Annual Travel Plan Awards. The Awards now comprises two parts: Travel Plan Accreditation and Special Travel Awards. Travel Plans may be Accredited at Bronze, Silver, Silver Star or Gold Standard. You may apply for accreditation at any time of the year. You can expect to be informed of the outcome within eight weeks of submission and can arrange to award a certificate immediately. You may wish to seek a press release or other publicity at this time. You will also receive public recognition at the next annual Awards Ceremony (unless the ceremony takes place less than eight weeks from receipt of your application, in which case it may be necessary to carry it over until the following year). This year applications will need to be submitted by 17th August 2012 for recognition at this year’s ceremony. Please see the application form more information.

The Special Travel Awards will be subject to a separate simplified application process and will be awarded annually. Details will follow soon. This year the Travel Plan Awards Ceremony will be a unique prestigious occasion celebrating Special Travel Awards, Accreditation Awards and Local Sustainable Transport Awards. It will be held on Thursday, 18th October, 2012 in the event suite of Bristol’s M-Shed on Harbourside. 

New Electric Car Charging Network for Bristol


A network of charging points for electric vehicles in public car parks was recently launched by Bristol City Council.

‘Source Bristol’ will see 18 double charger units operating in city centre car parks and park & ride sites across the city, enabling charging at 36 parking bays. The network is compatible with and operates to the same high standards as the ‘Source London’ and ‘Source Southeast’ networks.

One of the Bristol & Bath Science Park’s new fleet of electric cars was the first to use the new charge point at the Trenchard Street car park (check out the video here). Three Mitsubishi iMiEVs have been available to tenants at the Science Park since March this year, which also has three charge points for the use of tenants, visitors and the public.

Complimenting the Source Bristol network will be additional private networks installed to the same standard, in private car parks and retail parks (such as Cabot Circus car park and the Mall at Cribbs Causeway), hotels and visitor attractions across the south west.

Cabinet member for communities, Cllr Guy Poultney, said: “As part of our bid to become European Green Capital, we are committed to boosting the number of low carbon transport options in the city.

“This is the first step in providing infrastructure to make electric vehicle use a genuine option for commuters, visitors and residents. We know there is a growing demand for alternative forms of transport, which are so much better for our environment as well as saving money on soaring petrol costs, and we hope the launch of this network will make it easier for people in Bristol.”

Bonnie Dean, chief executive at the Bristol & Bath Science Park commented:  “The new electric cars are proving very popular with tenants at the Science Park, making it easier for them to travel to work sustainably and then use an electric car if they need to get to a meeting or event off site. The distinctive branding on the cars is helping to raise the profile of the Park and of our commitment to operating sustainably.”

Ann O'Driscoll, director at North Bristol Sus Com, a group of major employers promoting sustainable commuting to 40,000 employees, added: “Electric cars are a fantastic urban transport solution as they’re both green and cost effective. A number of our employers are looking to install electric car charging points in their own car parks so having a network around Bristol will offer further encouragement and make using an electric car a much more viable option.”

Drivers using the charging units will need to pay the normal parking charge in the car parks, but electricity will be supplied at no cost, providing they sign up to provide basic details of their electric usage four times a year. Drivers will be issued with a RfiD card that accesses the ‘Source Bristol’ and other Source sites. For an additional fee they can also join private networks across the country.

The electricity used by the charging units is currently a mix of green and non-green energy, but the council hopes to increase the proportion of non-fossil energy over the next three years, helping the make the scheme even more sustainable. The charging units are supplied by Chargemaster Plc.

The public car parks with the new charging units are:

Trenchard Street, BS1 5AN – 12 charging points
West End, Jacobs Wells Road, BS8 1EH – 6 charging points
Templegate, BS1 6PL – 4 charging points
College Street, BS1 5UY – 4 charging points
The Grove, BS1 4QY – 2 charging points
Ashton Park & Ride, BS3 2HB – 2 charging points
Portway Park & Ride, BS11 9DB – 4 charging points
Brislington Park & Ride, BS4 5LR – 2 charging points


Sustainable Travel Roadshow - 17th May Bristol & Bath Science Park

Come along to this free event in the Forum at the Bristol & Bath Science Park (www.bbsp.co.uk) on 17th May between 11.30 and 14:00. Speak to expert travel advisers about different ways to get to work.

Have a session with Dr Bike – who will be able to fix most minor cycle problems on the spot, with more major problems diagnosed.

Talk to the South Gloucestershire Healthy Lifestyles Team who will be on hand to offer free blood pressure monitoring, advice on walking routes and general healthy lifestyle advice including quitting smoking.


Lobbying for improvements to Bristol Rail Network

Here are the letters North Bristol Sus Com sent the Department for Transport to encourgae them to support additional investment in rail infrastrucutre in Bristol:

Letter to the Secretary of State

Letter to the Minister of State for Transport


And here is the reply.

Letter from the Department of Transport

Eco fleet of electric cars for Bristol & Bath Science Park


Tenants at the Bristol & Bath Science Park have become the first businesses in the South West to share their own fleet of electric cars.

The zero emission vehicles are now available for people working at the Science Park at Emerson’s Green so they can make short journeys off site without having to drive to work in their individual cars. 

A total of nine charge points will be provided making the Science Park the latest site in a growing network of public charge points, which includes The Mall Cribbs Causeway, Cabot Circus and a host of sites along the M4 corridor.

The three Mitsubishi iMiEVs can travel nearly a hundred miles before they need to be recharged and provide a smooth and almost silent ride. Tenants can book the cars in the same way as a car club for a small nominal charge.

The new fleet of electric vehicles is the latest addition to a number of sustainable transport initiatives at the Science Park, which already offers electric bikes and has 98 bicycle spaces as well as showers and drying facilities.

Bonnie Dean, chief executive at the Bristol & Bath Science Park said: “The novelty of the new electric cars has raised the profile of alternative ways to travel to and from the Park. The new cars also make it easier for our growing population of cyclists and walkers to maintain their preferred method of travel. Our tenants address many challenges in their businesses on a day to day basis this means that choosing sustainable travel is no longer one of them.”

Paul McCafferty, co-founder of JustOne Database, which has just moved into the Innovation Centre, said:  “I’ve driven the electric cars a few times now and I really enjoyed the experience. They’re a lot of fun and create quite a buzz with passers-by and when turning up to meetings. We went to one in Bath the other day and it was certainly a conversation-starter! The cars are just one more benefit the Science Park has to offer and we couldn’t be happier that we are here.”

Two of the new vehicles carry Bristol & Bath Science Park branding, whilst one has branding for North Bristol Sus Com, a group of major employers in North Bristol including Airbus, HP, National Composites Centre, BAE Systems, GKN and Friends Life promoting sustainable commuting for its 40,000 employees.

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership added: “The green economy is hugely significant for this region and it’s fantastic to see the Bristol & Bath Science Park helping to drive it forward. The electric cars are the latest is a series of measures to deliver truly sustainable transport options for people working at the Park.”

Bristol secures Better Bus Area funding


The Department for Transport has announced the winners of the Better Bus Area Funding 2012. The funding has been increased from £50-£70m to reflect the high quality of the applications received. The aim of the fund is to increase bus patronage in busy urban areas, and the Department’s aims of creating growth and cutting carbon. Funding will be provided for twenty-four of the fifty applicants.

The West of England Better Bus Scheme has been awarded just under £5million. The scheme will deliver bus priority measures on A38 Filton Road, replacement bus shelters, real time passenger information, improvements at A420 at Kingswood with traffic signal upgrading, bus stop replacement and real time information, A4 Bristol to Bath upgrade of service, network- wide real time information, wi-fi in 230 vehicles, traffic enforcement measures.

Further information on the Department for Transport's Better Bus Fund can be found at Department for Transport. Details of the West of England bid are located at Travel+.

Bristol Bus improvements launched

From BBC Website: http://bbc.in/wEruzj



Millions of pounds worth of improvements to bus services in Bristol will be officially launched later.

The five-year £79m project will provide 120 new buses and almost 1,000 improved bus stops, over 300 of which will have new information displays. Transport Minister Norman Baker will officially launch the new scheme in the city later. The plans are aimed at reducing congestion and improving services for commuters and shoppers.

Jambusting Commuter Challenge

Take the commuter challenge and change the way you travel to work

Monday 26th March to Friday 27th April


What is the Jambusting Commuter Challenge?

Jambusting runs for five weeks from Monday 26th March to Friday 27th April 2012 and is challenging commuters in the West of England to try walking, cycling, using public transport or car sharing to work for some or all of the challenge. You also score points if you work from home.


Why take part?

The Jambusting Commuter Challenge is fun and free to enter. By taking part you are joining other commuters across the region in reducing congestion and keeping the West moving.

As an incentive, great prizes are up for grabs for everyone who participates.


What do I have to do?

Just register by clicking here - 'Register Now'. By registering you are entered into the Jambusting Challenge and are eligible for great prizes. You can also join your workplace team or join with a team of 4 colleagues to win even more prizes. You don't have to travel sustainably for the whole five weeks you can make a pledge to travel sustainably for;

One day a week;

For one week; or

For the whole five week challenge.


You can choose a pledge to suit you - every car journey removed from the West's roads helps to keep the West moving.  Each pledge has its own prize winner so even if you can only pledge to commute once a week by a sustainable mode you can still win a great prize.

Each day via the website or our free app, enter how you travelled to work and watch your individual and team scores increase as well as your chance of winning the Jambusting Commuter Challenge.


Cities fit for cycling

The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists:

  1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
  2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
  3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
  4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
  5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
  6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
  7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
  8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.

For more info or to pledge your support go to: http://thetim.es/xeVLRH.

Managed Motorways (M4-M5) Update

The Highways Agency have started work on the M4/M5 Managed Motorway project.

Go to their website to get the latest updates on the Roadworks - Highways Agency. Here a bit of background info from their website about the project.

"About the Project

What is happening?
We are working to improve the M4 between junctions 19 and 20, and the M5 between junctions 15 and 17, by introducing managed motorways. Following the October 2010 Spending Review, it was announced in April 2011 that this scheme would be prepared to start construction in early 2012. 

When and where is it happening? 
The M4/M5 managed motorway scheme is taking place on the link between the main motorways between London, the West and the Midlands and South-West. It serves the City of Bristol.  The scheme is planned to be open to traffic in 2014. 

Why is this happening and what will it cost?
This work is needed on the M4/M5 as the route suffers from heavy congestion and unpredictable journey times. The estimated outturn cost of the M4/M5 project is £88.6 million, which comprises construction and development costs.

How will the scheme be carried out? 
A number of cameras, information signs and signals on gantries will be installed as part of the improvement scheme. As the scheme design progresses we will provide more information on the location of these features. We held an exhibition on the 4-5 November 2011 at Bradley Stoke to explain how we will manage construction to deliver the scheme and to answer any questions that members of the public had. We have also produced an Appraisal Summary Table, which summarises the environmental, economic and social impacts of this scheme. This table and the information from our exhibition are available on our Publications section.

How will this impact on my journey?
Managed motorways involve significantly less disruption to road users than conventional widening schemes. However, while we will try to minimise disruption, some delays will be unavoidable.  For more information go to the Impact on your Journey page."

Further Transport Investment Secured


The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced funding for 3 Major Transport Schemes in the West of England: Bath Package, Hengrove to North Fringe Rapid Transport Package and Weston Package. This follows hot on the heels of the announcement in November that funding was also secured for the Ashton Vale to Bristol City Centre and South Bristol Link schemes.

That is a total of £136 million in government funding towards the 5 packages that will deliver a £244 million (a quarter of a billion £’s!) investment in transport improvements.

Follow this link for more details on the individual packages:  http://bit.ly/sey9B1

Have your say on proposed improvements


Have your say on these proposed cycling and walking improvements:  

Lockleaze to Cribbs Causeway http://bit.ly/sldfII

Parkway Station to Cribbs Causeway http://bit.ly/u3gZ0M ; 

Lockleaze to Parkway Station http://bit.ly/tafln2

Increase in passengers on Wessex Red Services

New bus services offered by UWE Bristol and Wessex Connect have led to a significant increase in passenger numbers since the new services were introduced.

Since the start of the new term, passenger figures for Wessex Red services U1-U5 are up 31% compared to the same period last year.

Services which now operate year-round have seen a 69% increase in passengers.

The timetables on Wessex Red routes provided by Bristol's universities were improved in response to feedback from local people and new routes were introduced in September to provide added choice for bus users.

The timetables on the most popular routes U2, U3 and U5 now run on a year round timetable, providing consistency for local users. Since September, the weekday bus timetables for these routes are now the same outside of university term times, making these routes an attractive option for regular bus users.

The new U7 route runs run from Frenchay Campus to Cribbs Causeway via Parkway Station and other routes now operating all year round are: U2 (UWE to City Centre via Gloucester Road); U3 (Old Market to UWE via Fishponds) and U5 (UWE to City Centre via Henleaze and Whiteladies Road).

In addition to the enhanced timetable on key routes, three new routes have been created. The new U7 route runs from Frenchay Campus to Cribbs Causeway and at peak times this is the U7A calling at Aztec West. The U8 from Bradley Stoke (starting at Woodlands Road) travels to the City Centre via the A38.

Wessex Red operates 30 vehicles at peak times, compared to 21 in 2010, and seven when the service started in 2007. Over a million passengers are carried throughout the academic year.

Speaking about the increase in passenger numbers, UWE Travel Planner Steve Ward says, “We have been able to improve our services and their reliability and this has had a positive effect on passenger numbers. There is clearly a demand for this service and by increasing it rather than shrinking it while maintaining the quality and the low cost we are providing an excellent service for our students and for local people. UWE is committed to making this transport as sustainable as possible and supporting the needs of students and the local community.”

Full details of all the services and the routes can be found at: www.wessexred.co.uk

New Bike Fixing Company opens

North Bristol Sus Com wants to wish BikeFix Bradley Stoke best of luck with their new business venture. If you are located in the North Bristol area and need a bike fixed please give them a shout. They even come to you - either at home or at work. 

First Great Western announces extra carriages


Train operator First Great Western is to introduce 48 more carriages to its services next year. (Source: BBC News website)

Some 4,500 seats will be added at peak times between London and South Wales, Bristol, Swindon, Didcot and Oxford. Extra carriages will be used between Falmouth and Truro, and between Paignton, Exmouth, Exeter and Barnstaple.

New trains will operate between Worcester and London Paddington, and between Reading and Basingstoke. An extra 924 seats will be available in and out of Bristol during peak times, including 336 through Bath.

First Great Western said the improvements would cost £29m.

'Increasing demand'

The firm's managing director, Mark Hopwood, said the additional carriages would help to reduce overcrowding.

"We've seen an ever increasing demand for travel on our services.

"This investment will deliver thousands of extra seats for customers across our network," he said.

The new carriages will come into service between February and September next year.

Anthony Smith, from passenger watchdog Passenger Focus, said the investment was welcome in the short-term, but he wanted to see "more deals like these from train companies, government and councils".

"This is especially important as fares will rise in the new year and passengers want to see some action on their concerns and a return for the extra money," he said.

"In the longer term, government investment in more carriages, longer trains and improved track capacity is needed."

Cycling to work is the best option - UWE

Press relase from Sus Com member - UWE

Bristol UWE Travel Challenge

Cycling is officially the best way to commute in Bristol according to the UWE Bristol Travel Challenge. A group of four staff from UWE Bristol took part in a race today to find out what mode of transport is the fastest and the most satisfying for the daily commute to work.

Part of the range of activities that the university has been running this week to celebrate Sustainability Week the Travel Challenge saw four competitors each choose a different mode of transport - car, cycle, bus and running shoes.

The cyclist made it to UWE in 17 minutes and the car took 36 minutes more on an average commuter journey today.

The commuters all started from the same point on Gloucester Road, approximately 3.5 miles from the main Frenchay Campus.

Sustainability Week organiser, Vicki Harris said, “We are delighted that the cyclist and the runner came first and second as these two modes of transport produce the lowest carbon footprints of all travel modes. It's also fantastic to have proof that the bus journey overtook the car – a testimony to to the efficacy of bus lanes.”

Steve Ward, UWE Bristol's Transport Planner, cycled the 3.51 miles arriving on Campus at 08:29 in first place in just 17 minutes, at an average of 12.39mph.

Steve Ward describes his journey, “Setting off, I immediately realised I had left my gloves at home – not a great idea on such a cold morning. Leaving the car park Geoff sprinted off like a bullet. About 20 yards later the lights turned red at the junction of Sommerville Road. Not a great start for me!

“Turning off Gloucester Road, up Cricklade Road and onto Kennington Avenue a broken down car blocked the road with steam coming out of the radiator. So the cold snap was causing difficulties for others too. I sailed down Ashley Down Road and Ralph Road, past a queue of stationary traffic along Muller Road then over the new cycle bridge on Petherbridge Way. There was a long, but not very steep climb up Dovercourt Road and this was nice and quiet, with hardly any traffic.

“I continued through the traffic-free path by the Bonnington Walk rugby pitches and round the cycle paths by the MOD. Seeing someone running in the distance ahead of me, I wondered if Geoff had kept up his pace and was about to beat me to the finish line. But the runner wasn't wearing Geoff's trademark Hawaii shorts, so I breathed a sigh of relief.

“I arrived at the cycle park by R2 building not too out of breath, but with very cold hands. Wish I'd remembered the gloves! I had a shower and some coffee and waited for the others to arrive.”

Geoff Andrews ran the 3.24 mile journey in 28 minutes at an average speed of 6.94mph. He said, “I had a very enjoyable and energising run into UWE from Gloucester Road today, and I feel fresh for the day ahead. Regular running has been a very good way for me to keep fit and healthy- and it is free too. I was able cut through bits where the car can't go. Overall - a great journey to work!”

Caroline Bartle, from the Centre for Transport and Society, travelled to work on the bus. The 4.13 mile journey took 39 minutes and the average speed was 6.35mph. Caroline describes her journey, “I don't usually take the bus, I normally cycle, but I did so today for the travel challenge.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the bus experience. Firstly, there were plenty of UWE buses at that time and I let two pass before the start of the challenge (including a free student bus). The U2 bus I used was new and comfortable, and it was full but not over-crowded. We inevitably got stuck in traffic a few times, but the waits were not too long, and a lot of time was saved by the new bus lane between the MoD and UWE.

“I found sitting on the bus a bit boring as I normally cycle, but now I've tried it I see it as a good alternative and will probably use the bus rather than the car on days when cycling is difficult, for example in bad weather or when I have lots of things to carry.”

Billy Clayton drove to work and the 4.13 mile journey took 53 minutes, travelling at an average speed of 4.68mph. He arrived at work at 09:05, over half an hour after the cyclist.

Billy said, “I usually cycle to work so driving in was a bit of an eye opener. I found the journey really frustrating even though I had the radio on. The traffic was chock a block and I literally crawled into work, a journey that would normally take me 12 minutes on my bike. I wouldn't choose to come into work again in the car; normally I arrive feeling energised after a cycle but this was quite the opposite in terms of a travel experience.”

Showcase bus route launch

The West of England Joint Transport Executive Committee and First Bristol, Somerset and Avon, today launched  the next two Greater Bristol Bus Network Showcase routes.

The £78million worth of improvements to the bus network have been funded by Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils, First and the Department for Transport.

The Cribbs Causeway to Bristol via Bradley Stoke and Filton to Emersons Green Showcase routes will improve passenger experience and journey reliability for buses. There has been a significant amount of improvements on these two corridors including 6 bus lanes and 2 priority vehicle lanes, 5 improvements to traffic lights
which now turn green as the bus approaches and over 70 bus stop enhancements.  

For more information go to : http://travelplus.org.uk/showcase

South Gloucestershire Core Strategy Workshops

From South Glos Council

Communities of the Bristol North Fringe

Hosted by South Gloucestershire Council

4th November 2011

UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre

You may be aware that as part of finalising its long-term plan for the District, the South Gloucestershire Core Strategy, the Council is reviewing policies and proposals for the communities of the North Fringe of Bristol urban area. 

We are holding two workshops on 4th November and you are invited to attend. Please note these will be structured workshop sessions and not drop-in events. We would expect participants to commit to attending either or both of the following:

Workshop 1the Cribbs Causeway and Patchway areas - 9.15 - 12.30 

A previous workshop for this area was held in March this year but needs to be repeated to take account of new issues, including BAE Systems announcement to close Filton Airfield at the end of 2012.

The Council is currently consulting on issues arising from the BAE Systems decision and inviting comments to be considered in developing future policy and visions for the area.See:

The workshop will include feedback from that consultation. 

Workshop 2- the area between Filton and the M32 Motorway - 1.15 – 4.30

This will include proposals for, amongst other developments, a new neighbourhood east of Harry Stoke.    The workshop will provide an update on proposals for that area and help to generate a vision and key principles for the new neighbourhood.

Attached to this invitation is a booking form.  Please complete and return this by 21st October.  Whilst you are welcome to attend for the whole day please consider which area is most relevant to you, and indicate on your booking form which area interests you most. If you cannot attend, we are happy for you to suggest an alternative representative. 

A light buffet lunch will be available for those attending all day.

The workshops will help to inform future plans for the area.  There will be a further stage of public consultation on possible changes to the Core Strategy before it is formally considered by the independent Core Strategy Inspector in spring 2012.   

Colleagues are also preparing a third workshop to look specifically at an energy strategy for the area and the potential for heat networks. If you would be interested in attending please also indicate on the attached reply slip.

If developers/landowners would like to bring small displays of their current/emerging proposals we will try to accommodate them. Please indicate on the attached reply slip.

If you have any questions about the proposed workshops please contact Sharon McGee (01454 863648)

For details of the UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre and directions see: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/comingtouwe/campusesmapsandtravel 

Smoother, more reliable and safer journeys on the M4 and M5

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 30 September 2011

Draft Regulations for the scheme that will cut congestion and improve journey times and safety on the M4 and M5 around Bristol have been published today (30 September 2011) for consultation.

In April, the Highways Agency announced it would be starting work this financial year on introducing the managed motorway scheme - variable mandatory speed limits and hard shoulder running - to the M4 between junctions 19 and 20, and the M5 from junction 15 to junction 17.

Introducing variable speed limits and allowing drivers to use the hard shoulder as a traffic lane on a section of motorway requires legislative changes through the drafting of new Regulations. Today the Agency has published these draft Regulations as part of a twelve-week consultation, which will run until 23 December 2011.

Highways Agency project manager, Paul Unwin said:

"The managed motorway system will greatly benefit drivers on this section of the M4/M5. It will provide much needed additional capacity, easing congestion and making journey times more reliable for the more than 140,000 road users - including hauliers and commuters - who use this vital route every day.

"Our experience elsewhere shows that managed motorways deliver significant safety and journey time benefits."

Construction work on the M4/M5 scheme is due to start between January and March 2012, subject to the completion of the statutory process.

Consultation documents have been sent to a range of stakeholders and have been published on the Highways Agency's website at http://www.highways.gov.uk/m4m5 to give interested parties and individuals the opportunity to comment on these plans.

Liftshare Week is coming!!

liftshare Week (3-7 October 2011)

Remember when petrol was 40p a litre? It still can be!

Sharing your car with three other people quarters the cost of the journey. Which means the petrol costs you less than 40p a litre. Who doesn’t need that right now?

Just join for  free at www.2carshare.com and find someone else going your way...

Why should you give car-sharing a try in liftshare Week?

  • The typical commuter who car-shares every day saves around £800 a year
  • It also helps you do your bit for the environment
  • It makes boring solo journeys sociable and fun
  • It’s flexible
  • It reduces stress if you don’t have to drive every day
  • You don't even need a car to sign up to be a car-sharer. Many members are willing to do the driving in return for a contribution to their fuel costs and some friendly company!

What should you do now?

  • Register your journey and find someone to travel with
  • Tell your friends / family and colleagues about liftshare with our Tell a Friend facility
  • Put a car sticker in your back windscreen! The person in the car behind might well be going your way, but have no idea that they could be sharing with you...

Cycle Parking Grants - South Gloucestershire

Do you need to improve the cycle parking at your business or

Do you simply need to expand your cycle parking to accommodate the growing number of cyclists at your workplace, then read on…

South Gloucestershire Council has recently been awarded some money through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund; we want to use some of this funding to improve cycle parking at local businesses. If you would like to apply please forward the below details by the 30th September 2011.

How do companies apply?

Please submit in writing the following information:-

1. Name of company & address

2. Number of employees

3. Description of scheme (including no of cyclists to be accommodated)

4. Total cost of the scheme and timescale for implementation.

5. Level of funding requested and match funding contribution (in kind and/or financial)

6. Send to transport.policy@southglos.gov.uk

The application will be reviewed and the applicant will be notified of the financial contribution from South Gloucestershire Council. The amount authorised will be at the discretion of South Gloucestershire Council. South Gloucestershire Council may wish to visit the premises to view the proposed scheme and feature it in Council publicity. Before funding is released, the applicant is required to commit to the implementation of the scheme within the stated timescale (before March 2012).

If you have any further queries please contact Helen Young Tel. 01454 864597 Email: helen.young@southglos.gov.uk

Bus Service Changes

Following a reduction in government funding, savings have had to be made from Bristol City Council's public transport support budget. This has resulted in a reduction in service frequencies on some First routes that receive financial support from the council, mainly late evening and Sunday services. First Bristol will be operating many journeys that were previously supported by the council on a commercial basis, maintaining service frequencies on the majority of routes.

The council has made changes to the routes and frequencies of many of the ‘stand alone’ routes it provides (services 500, 503, 510, 511, 517, 518, 558, 559, 584, 585, 586, 587) in order to make the necessary savings. Despite the financial pressures the council has been able to maintain services over the majority of existing routes through reductions in frequency and altering routes to best serve passenger demand.

Further information including further changes coming into effect on 18th September can be found at: http://www.travelbristol.org/content/changes-bus-services

UWE Stadium Consultation Update

Consultation Feedback

The feedback received from the July drop-in event has now been analysed. The main issues raised were concerns about transport, traffic and parking and how these would be managed. Bristol Rovers Football Club and the consultant team are considering the feedback received with the aim of developing measures to address concerns.

Re-run of July drop-in event on 25th August 2011

A number of  households and a few businesses/organisations were not included on the invitation list to the first drop-in event about the proposed UWE Stadium on 15th and 16th July 2011. To try and make amends and to allow those who were invited but could not attend, they are holding a re-run of the event.  A Royal Mail drop to invite local residents is being made this week.

The re-run of the event is on 25th August from 3.30-7.30pm at the UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre. There will be no new information available to that given at the July event and neither can they accommodate residents who came previously.  Elected representatives are invited again should they wish to attend.

Following a subsequent drop-in event, probably held next month, a planning application for the new stadium will be submitted in the late autumn. The consultant team said:

“As you know the local area and how you might be affected by the proposals, we would be grateful for input and ideas; for example to the design, the additional uses that could be housed at the stadium and operational aspects. Despite the information in the press, the scheme is not yet fixed and there is the opportunity to influence the eventual planning application.

Our aim at this event is to:

  • Set the context for the stadium proposal;
  • Give information on where we are with the project;
  • Answer questions;
  • Listen to concerns;
  • Identify issues that we need to consider;
  • Receive your feedback.

 Representatives from Bristol Rovers Football Club, UWE and the consultant team will be on hand, so if you did not manage to come to the July event please come along and meet us to give us your considered view and ideas. The web-site for the project gives information and up-dates (including copies of the exhibition boards) and also gives the opportunity to leave feedback: www.UWEstadium.com.”

MOD clinches Commuter Challenge top spot

In June, over 400 people took part in the North Bristol Sus Com Commuter Challenge. Employees from Airbus, GKN, HP and MOD competed by choosing sustainable modes of travel to work during the week long challenge. Points were awarded depending on how sustainable that mode was.  In a close run race, the MOD inched it ahead of Airbus. GKN and HP also scored well.  

The challenge provided a good opportunity for people who normally drive to work alone, to give alternatives a try. At GKN, a number of staff members chose to cycle into work and many have continued to do so since the challenge ended.

To see how the points were scored and the leader boards visit: http://www.swcommuterchallenge.co.uk/default.cfm

 Pictured: Steve Croome and Sue Hordle of the MODís Environmental Team with the Commuter Challenge winnerís award. Behind is one of the new cycle parking facilities that they have recently installed.

Pictured: Steve Croome and Sue Hordle of the MOD’s Environmental Team with the Commuter Challenge winner’s award. Behind is one of the new cycle parking facilities that they have recently installed.

Chargemaster reveals 4,000 electric car charging points

Great article from The Telegraph on a new private sector car charging infrastructure project.


On The Buses - returning after 35 years

Rick Parsons, HP has written a great article about his recent experience of "going back to the buses" for his regular commute into work. If anyone else commuting regularly to the North Fringe wants to share their experiences (good and bad) we'd love to hear from you - contact@northbristolsuscom.org.


https://www.sitesplus.co.uk/user_docs/952/File/On the Buses - by Rick Parsons, HP.pdf

UWE Stadium Consultation Boards available

UWE Stadium team have uploaded the exhibition boards re: their proposed plans - follow this link to find out more http://bit.ly/ptZf1U

UWE Stadium Consultation Begins

Bristol Rovers has set up a new website as part of the consultaiton programme for their proposed stadium development. They are holding a Neighbours Only consultation event on 15th July at the UWE Conference Centre. Timing and further detailscan be found at www.UWEstadium.com.

New Ulink timetable confirmed with new routes

The new Ulink timetable, starting this September, has been confirmed. It includes several new routes around North Bristol (UWE/MOD/Cribbs/Aztec West, etc) and an increase in several routes to be all year round operation.

See http://www.uwe.ac.uk/ulink

Funding Boost for Sustainable Travel

Nearly £5m of government funding has been allocated to West of England councils to encourage "sustainable travel". Regional businesses will be able to tap into the fund.

The government granted £5m to the councils to focus on commuters travelling to work on six "key corridors" that carry about 40 per cent of travel to work trips – which is about 15 per cent of all traffic movements in the West of England area.

The fund will also be used to help companies provide pool bicycles and low emission cars. And it will work with employers and employees on tailored measures for individual businesses.

This additional £5m boost means that more than £11m will be spent on sustainable travel up until March 2013.

Councillor Brian Allinson, chairman of the West of England joint transport executive committee, said: "This £5m is just the start - by the time we add in the £6m of local contributions from the councils, private business and voluntary and not-for-profit organisations, we will be spending just over £11m making life easier for people to get to work.

"The aim is to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce the impact of congestion locally - particularly important during the commuter peak hours."

According to the West of England joint transport executive committee, a business representative from the area's local enterprise partnership board will also work on the project, to help maintain links between the councils and the private sector.

Football on the North Fringe?

Bristol Rovers have announced plans to relocate to a new purpose built stadium in North Bristol. The site is part of UWE's Frenchay campus and will have 20,000 seat cpacity and car parking for 1,270 cars and coaches. Subject to planning permissions the club estimate they could start work on site early next year. For full article go to http://bit.ly/jSf65W.

Greener Car Guide

Diesel? Hybrid? Electric? Petrol?  There are lots of options when it comes to choosing the most environmentally friendly car.

That's why Start (a national initiative by The Prince's Charities Foundation) have created this interactive tool.  It aims to provide a rough guide to the best choices for you - taking into account how much you drive, how far and much more.

To make these calculations, they have had help from Top Gear magazine journalist Paul Horrell, and Mike Berners-Lee, author of the book 'How Bad are Bananas?' which outlines the environmental cost of many everyday items. The original idea for this guide came from a decision tree in Chris Goodall's book 'How to Live a Low-Carbon Life'.

Click on the link below to get started:


New park-and-ride offers Bristol commuters link to railway

A new park-and-ride site to ease traffic congestion on the northern fringe of Bristol is opening today.  The site near Parkway railway station in Stoke Gifford will give commuters a chance to park their cars and travel the rest of their journey by train or bus.  Located off Hunts Ground Road and with 200 car parking spaces, it is the first of its type to be opened by South Gloucestershire Council.  Commuters will be able to walk to Parkway Station to continue their journeys or link to a large number of bus services that stop at Parkway Station on their way to Emersons Green, Thornbury, Yate, Chipping Sodbury, the University of the West of England, and Bristol city centre.  Payment is £5 per day during the week and £3 per day at the weekend and can be made by credit card. A further option to pay using a mobile phone will be available within a few weeks.

The site is a third cheaper than parking a car at Parkway Station, which charges £7.60 Mondays to Fridays, and £4.60 at weekends.  It will be monitored by CCTV cameras with enforcement carried out by council staff.  Cabinet Councillor Brian Allinson, who is in charge of the council's planning and transport department, said: "We are committed to helping commuters get around more efficiently and this new park and ride scheme is the latest in a series of measures we are putting in place to help people do so.  "We're really pleased to be able to provide residents with a safe environment to leave their car within such easy access of the railway station and the local bus network."

This park-and-ride site is on the route of the proposed £102-million North Fringe to Hengrove rapid transit route, which the council is pinning its hopes on to ease traffic chaos on the northern edge of Bristol. The Department for Transport (DfT) will decide in September whether to give funding for the scheme which would provide links to Cribbs Causeway, Aztec West, UWE and Emersons Green, and to Bristol city centre and on to Hengrove.

The DfT has already cut many schemes aimed at reducing congestion throughout the country but this rapid bus network remains in the frame to secure possible funding.  The North Fringe to Hengrove route is one of five bids for money submitted by the West of England Partnership – a body which represents the four councils in the former Avon area. Three other rapid bus routes and improvements in Weston-super-Mare and Bath make up the other bids.  If successful, these rapid transit routes and transport packages are aimed at making a major difference in easing traffic congestion in the greater Bristol area.


Bristol's first bicycle rickshaw business...

Pedal Walla is a brand new company and the first to bring a fleet of pedicabs to Bristol. We’ll be delivering people and stuff, transporting students and festival goers as well as providing a new form of local advertising – all with a furious amount of pedalling. We'll be giving the people in Bristol a greener choice for getting around our fine city.

South West Commuter Challenge Launched

The Commuter Challenge is an online resource that promotes friendly competition between your workplace and other businesses in the South West by encouraging people to travel sustainably. The site allows you to create a personal profile of your daily travel to work, which is used to score points. You enter your method of travelling to work that day, and score points depending on how sustainable that mode was. These points are then added up with your co-worker's points. Your workplace, as a team, will compete against other companies across business sites in the South West to see who can use the most sustainable and healthiest travel over the month. The businesses with the highest scores will claim the honour and privilege of being one of the most sustainable companies in the whole of the South West!

For more details go to the website at http://www.swcommuterchallenge.co.uk/

Major employers in North Bristol are taking a lead in helping tackle the daily commuting congestion in the area which is costing businesses dear, with the publication of a new sustainable community map showing the best options for getting around.

North Bristol commuters are download the new map here.

The maps has been produced byNorth Bristol Sus Com a group of major employers, located along the A4174, who have come together to promote sustainable commuting for their 40,000 employees. 

As well as producing the map, the group are working together to influence and improve local transport provision to combat traffic congestion and reduce the impact upon our environment through a commitment to exploring innovative ways in which the transport problems in North Bristol can be addressed.

Leading local employers involved in North Bristol Sus Com include Airbus, BAE Systems, Friends Life, GKN Aerospace, HP, MOD, National Composites Centre, North Bristol NHS Trust, Rolls Royce, the Bristol and Bath Science Park (SPark) and the University of the West of England.  

Together North Bristol Sus Com is working to help their 40,000 employees choose more sustainable ways to commute to work, and reduce the impact commuting has on congestion in the Southmead, Filton and Emersons Green areas in Bristol.

Work together, the group aim to improve access to their sites in North Bristol for employees, customers, suppliers and visitors through reducing traffic congestion, enabling more desirable and affordable choices of public and shared transport and encouraging more healthy walking and cycling.


FirstGroup gives up SW rail contract

Transport giant FirstGroup has unveiled plans to give up its South West First Great Western rail franchise. The company said this was a "commercial decision".

FirstGroup has passed on its option to extend the franchise beyond March 2013.

The group now plans to rebid for a longer-term contract under the new Greater Western franchise which also comes with government investment.

Tim O’Toole, FirstGroup's chief executive, said: "The government has committed significant investment to transform rail services in the region and we believe that, through our unrivalled expertise and experience, we are best placed to manage these projects and we intend to bid for the new Greater Western franchise.

"We have made the commercial decision not to take up the option to extend the First Great Western franchise for a further three years beyond the initial franchise term to 2013. But we will continue to operate First Great Western until March 2013 and will meet all of our obligations under the franchise agreement."

FirstGroup said the performance of South West First Great Western in 2010 had been affected by infrastructure issues.

In its annual results, FirstGroup also revealed that it had increased rail revenue by 6.5 per cent, to £2.3bn for the year ended March 31. Profits also rose by 23 per cent to £109m.


New tram vision for the future: Bristol streets could see 'Ultra Light Rail' network

A pioneering tram system has been revealed which could provide a key to beating Bristol's daily traffic congestion.  The Ultra Light Rail (ULR) tram would initially run from a park and ride at Ashton Meadows, a derelict brownfield site near the Cumberland Basin, to the new museum at Prince's Wharf.  A second phase would see an extension to Temple Meads and later a loop could be built to Broadmead and Cabot Circus.

This tram system could replace the first route of the "bendy bus" scheme which faces an uncertain future due to public spending cuts.  The bendy buses were intended to run from the Long Ashton park and ride site and around the city centre to Temple Meads.  But the trams tick all the boxes for funding from the Government's Department for Transport because the system is much cheaper to build and very "green" to run.

The trams would only cost an estimated £15 million to set up, less than a third of the estimated £48 million for the bendy buses.  The new trams would take just five minutes to travel between Ashton Meadows and the new museum, using mostly existing rail track. They would take about 11 minutes to reach Temple Meads.  They could take 120 passengers in a two-car tram with the possibility of larger 200-passenger trams within two years. A bendy bus can take up to 120 passengers.

They would run on methane gas to start with but could be adapted in the future to use biomethane, which is produced from recycled waste including gas from landfill, farm waste and sewage.  The trams would run from 6am to midnight each day with a £2 standard single fare, which would produce an estimated £620,000 surplus a year that could be ploughed back into further investment.  As the trams would not use overhead electricity cables, they could run on track which would not have to be insulated and would therefore be cheaper to install.

They would also be much lighter, which means the track could be much shallower and not have to disturb the many pipes and cables which run under the roads.The trams could also run safely on existing roads without being segregated from vehicles – just as they do on the continent.  A further saving would be the ability of the new trams to use the Prince Street swingbridge with only a relatively small amount of strengthening.  Another major advantage would be a link-up with a proposed passenger service on the Portishead railway line, by building a new station at Ashton Gate.

The new park and ride site at Ashton Meadows is seen as complementary to the one at Long Ashton, which mainly serves commuters from North Somerset.  The trams are being promoted by a consortium of Bristol-based and international firms called Sustraco, which is backed by a local pressure group called Trams for Bristol, an off-shoot of the Greater Bristol Transport Alliance.  Sustraco would like to see a not-for-profit company set up by the council, private business and local residents to promote a tram system. This new company would go out to tender and Sustraco would bid for the contracts.

Sustraco has sent its proposals to the city council in the hope that it will receive support and be taken up by the West of England Partnership, a body which represents all councils in the former Avon area and promotes major regional transport schemes to the Government.  Trams for Bristol spokeswoman Pip Sheard said: "We support Sustraco's proposals because we believe that people prefer the idea of a tram system.  "We like the idea of a modest scheme which can be expanded as people grow to like the idea and develop trust in its reliability.  "It's much greener than most other systems and much cheaper to build."

She said that the new trams would provide a "two-to-one" benefit – in other words, the benefits outweigh the costs by two to one.  This is one of the major tests by the Department for Transport in deciding whether to grant funding for new tram or rail projects.  Trams for Bristol is currently lobbying city councillors to support the scheme, in the hope that the West of England Partnership will give it their backing in time for a DfT deadline in September.

The partnership is currently promoting the bendy buses but is revising the scheme to make it cheaper, in the hope of winning DfT funding.  Sustraco and Trams for Bristol want to see the partnership drop the bendy buses and opt for the ULR tram system instead.  Sustraco chairman James Skinner told the Evening Post: "If you look at the transport problems and see how they should be solved, then this scheme is a no-brainer and people will wonder why it has not been done before now. The technology is already there and you've got all the advantages of rail with something which is as cheap as a bus."

The consortium's report says: "It will take many years to wean transport off its dependence on fossil fuels. We need to start now."  A number of European cities, such as Lille and Stockholm, have already successfully pioneered the production and use of biomethane as a public transport fuel. Biomethane-powered engines reduce noise and carbon emissions and minimise toxic emissions.

The Sustraco consortium includes six national and international firms. They are Rotala PLC, which runs buses and coaches in the Bristol area, has an annual turnover of about £40 million and employs nearly 1,000 staff; the Sersa Group, a Swiss-based specialist rail contractor; Dow Hyperlast, a subsidiary of one of the world's largest chemical companies, which specialises in rail technology; TTK Transport, a German-based transport software specialist; the Kilbride Group, a specialist transport development company; and WT Burden Ltd, a Bristol-based civil engineering firm.


West of England bids for 5 million sustainable travel fund

The four West of England authorities have submitted a bid to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund for £5m. The group plans to use the money to improve transport choices.

The bid focuses on six commuter routes and forms the basis of a further bid for up to £35m that will be submitted in June.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is supporting the application which aims to improve travel choices on a number of commuter routes.

The local authorities behind the bid are Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Seven other organisations have also signed up to the project. North Bristol SusCom, the University of the West of England, First Bus, Wessex Connect, Sustrans, the Public Health Directorates of the four primary care trusts, and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Trust will all promote low carbon alternatives to single-occupancy car use.

The Department for Transport (Dft) is expected to notify the successful bidders in June.


Celebrations as 45 million rail improvement for the county are finally approved

Businesses and commuters were given a £45 million boost last night when a long-running campaign for funds to improve the county's railway links ended in success.  Gloucestershire MPs are celebrating the news that the Swindon to Kemble line will be re-dualled to improve journey times and reliability.  Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood said: "This is brilliant news and enormously important. It's very good news for future rail services to Cheltenham. It will hopefully mean more direct trains and a much more reliable service. It's absolutely good news for businesses as well."  Journey times between London and Cheltenham will be cut by 20 minutes by spring 2014.

The work will also ensure extra trains are able to operate on the track, meaning an end to delays caused by slow-running services. The scheme is seen as critical to the county's economy and has been campaigned for by county figures for the past four years.  Mr Horwood paid tribute to the county's other current and former MPs, including Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who he said had worked tirelessly to lobby the Government.  Mr Clifton-Brown said: "This has been a long campaign. Every bit of jigsaw has fit into place. It will be a huge boost economically for the county as a whole.  "Communications are the heart of any economy."  Funding for redoubling had been promised by the previous government but the cost was deemed prohibitive.

However, a recent study recosted the work, which ministers approved yesterday.  The route was built as double track, but was singled between Swindon and Kemble as an economy measure in 1968. Another boost will come in 2017 when timetable improvements planned for the Great Western Main Line introduce hourly services on the London- Gloucester-Cheltenham route.


Bristol to Weston 'showcase' bus route work completed

Work to create a "showcase" bus route, between Bristol and Weston-super-Mare, has been completed.  It is part of a £70m plan to create 10 routes to link Bristol city centre with outlying areas using more reliable bus services and extra bus lanes.  About five miles (8.6km) of the route will feature bus priority lanes while many bus stops have been improved.  Funding for the route came from the Department for Transport, four local authorities and First Bus.  The route begins outside At-Bristol and runs to Weston along the A370.

Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, from North Somerset Council, said he hoped more people might use the service.  "This investment makes the buses more accessible and easier to use for a wide range of people and should encourage more people to give the buses a try."  Tony McNiff from First Bus said the route was the first step to creating "a better quality, more reliable and punctual network".  He added that the firm was already using newer buses on the completed parts of the showcase routes.  "We have invested £20m in a fleet of better buses to use on the showcase routes and these are already on the road delivering real benefits for bus users."  Other routes planned include a link from Bristol to Bath, from Bristol to Cribbs Causeway via Bradley Stoke and Bristol to Portishead.


Hammond disappointed by number of transport bids

The number of bids submitted to the government’s £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund (RGF) for transport projects has been “disappointing”, transport secretary Philip Hammond has told Insider.

He said the Department for Transport has committed a “significant” amount of its budget to the fund, but the number of bids for infrastructure schemes was not as high as he’d hoped for.

“Our regional growth fund will be used to support projects that have significant growth potential and create sustainable private sector employment in areas which have been heavily dependant on the public sector – and that will include transport projects,” he said.

“But transport made a significant contribution to this fund and I had an ambition to see at least as much coming back to transport projects. I have to say on what I’ve seen so far, I’m slightly disappointed that we have not had more transport applications for the first round of the RGF.

“I hope those who are looking at good, worthwhile transport projects without a clear idea of how they should be funded will think about the RGF in future as a potential source of funding.”

Speaking on behalf of the Passenger Transport Executive Group, Neil Scales said he expected there to be more submissions for cash from the second round of RGF money.

“We want transport to get a fair share of the RGF,” he said. “The transport secretary said he was disappointed that there weren’t any schemes coming forward – there will be. The guidance was late and I don’t think transport had originally contributed to the £1bn RGF, which was then raised to £1.4bn.”


Government confirms electrification plan for Great Western Mainline

Bristol and Swindon have received a big economic fillip with the news that the government has pledged to press ahead with the electrification of the Great Western Mainline.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the decision last night.

The government's change of heart – it had appeared to go cool on the project late last year – followed strong lobbying from the leaders of Bristol, Cardiff and Swindon councils, for electrification and the economic benefits it will bring to the Great Western Corridor.

Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke said: "Bristol is one of the UK’s best placed cities to create jobs and drive economic recovery, and investment in good transport links is crucial to maintaining this. This is why today's electrification announcement is vital for the whole of the West and Wales and recognition by the Government of the region's importance to the national economy.

"The three cities of Cardiff, Swindon and Bristol have lobbied hard to make this case, and I look forward to building on these links with much closer collaboration on economic issues in the future."

Cardiff Council leader Rodney Berman said: "For some time now I have been urging the government to press ahead with electrifying the existing Great Western Main Line between London and Cardiff so today’s announcement  is really good news, not only for Cardiff but the Great Western Corridor."

Electrification will speed up the journey between Bristol and London by 12 minutes. The proposed scheme work would see all of the line from London Paddington to Cardiff electrified, taking in Bristol Parkway station, along with the track through Bath to Bristol Temple Meads.

Last year the South West Regional Development Agency estimated that electrification of the London to Swansea rail route could deliver a £120m boost every year to the regional economy, though the latest plan is to electrify the route only as far as Cardiff.

The new electrified lines will also allow for a High Speed Rail system to be introduced at some point in the future running from London to South West England and South Wales as part of a UK-wide HSR network.

Councillor Roderick Bluh, the leader of Swindon Borough Council, added: "This is really excellent news and I’m very pleased the government has listened to our arguments. It is something that will have a very positive effect on Swindon and the whole region. We know that one of the key ways to improve economic development is to improve transport"


Controversial 30m park and ride plan for Bristol may be axed

Plans for a park-and-ride site off the M32 look likely to be shelved – but those campaigning against it have been warned not to start celebrating just yet.

Transport chiefs are suggesting the controversial £30 million scheme should be taken out of the plans for a rapid bus link – known as a bendy bus route – between the northern fringe of the city and Hengrove to save money.

They believe that the scheme is far more likely to win funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) and go ahead if they can keep the cost down.

Plans for a 1,500-space park-and-ride site near Frenchay Park Road angered people in the area because of the loss of allotments and greenbelt land and the fear of extra traffic in residential streets.

Tory Councillor Lesley Alexander, who represents Frome Vale and has led the campaign to save the site from the bulldozer, said: "From our point of view, we just don't want to see some of the best agricultural land in Bristol being concreted over."

Councillors in South Gloucestershire will be discussing the plans for the new bendy bus route at a meeting tomorrow.

They are keen to see the overall project going ahead because of its importance in easing traffic congestion on the northern fringe of Bristol, where commuters often face long delays at peak times.

In fact, South Glos councillors are so keen that they are proposing to pay a bigger share towards the overall cost of £194m.

The revised scheme could see this sum reduced to £102m, of which half would be paid by the DfT. South Gloucestershire would pay £30.5m of the remaining £51m while Bristol would pay £20.5m.

Bristol's transport leader, Lib Dem Cabinet Councillor Gary Hopkins, told the Evening Post that taking out the M32 park-and-ride site from the rapid transit scheme would not mean it wouldn't go ahead.

He said it would probably qualify for funding from another DfT budget because it is seen as a "green" option – encouraging people to swap their cars for an alternative means of transport.

Both Mr Hopkins and South Gloucestershire cabinet councillor Brian Allinson stressed that the councils in the former Avon area were working very closely now in order to get major transport schemes up and running.

In the past, the Bristol area has lost out on Government funding because of unnecessary bickering between councils which sent out the wrong messages to Whitehall, where decisions on which schemes to support are made.

The bendy bus route from the northern fringe to Hengrove would stretch from Cribbs Causeway and Aztec West through Stoke Gifford and down the M32 to Bristol and out to Hengrove Park.

The scheme is now expected to be packaged up with other rapid transit schemes in the Bristol area in order to improve the chances of Government funding.

Rapid transit routes offer commuters an alternative to using their cars to get backwards and forwards to their workplace.

Its supporters point to its ability to offer consistent journey times and frequency of services – however much the roads might be jammed with traffic at peak times.


South West Trains in Network Rail shake-up

National Rail is set to create devolved business units that work independently and South West Trains is at the forefront of these changes. The Wessex route, which comes out of Waterloo and covers parts of Hampshire and Dorset, is one of the first to be devolved.

The changes, due to start in April with the Wessex and Scottish routes, involve the creation of a number of new, devolved business units run by managing directors. Network Rail said the other seven regions would follow once the first two have proved successful.

David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Network Rail has saved money and transformed the railway through central control but to make further improvements in all areas we now need to increase responsiveness at a local level.

"Each new route managing director will, in effect, be running their own infrastructure railway business with significant annual turnover and resources.

"There will continue to be a critical role for a supporting centre that helps make the most of economies of scale. The railway still needs to be planned and operated as a network which operates seamlessly.”


Call to pull transport scheme bids together

Calls have been made to consider merging five major transport schemes for Greater Bristol to stand a better chance of winning crucial Government money.

The West of England Partnership – the body that represents the four local councils – is hoping the government will put £160 million towards £271 million of projects to improve transport in the area.

These are the £50 million Ashton Vale to Temple Meads bendy-bus route; the £102-million north fringe to Hengrove route; the £45-million south Bristol link road; the £59-million package of transport works for Bath and the £15-million Weston-super-Mare scheme.

They will compete with 40 other schemes across the country for a share of a £630-million funding pot from the Department of Transport, but there is not enough money for all of them.

Questions were raised at a partnership meeting on Friday over whether the Government would be more likely to fund one combined scheme for the South West rather than five at the expense of other parts of the country.

Bath and North East Somerset Councillor Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North) said: "If you considered making these five schemes one scheme, would it make the political fallout less?

"Otherwise there would be a lot of people saying, 'why have you got four out of the five schemes?'. Everyone will be saying 'what about us?'"

Chairman of the project board for the schemes, Bob Fowler, explained that the five were interconnected already and they were trying to win funding for them all.

He said: "We've got three of the schemes in the development pool that all have very convincing value for money and now they're being joined by the other two.

"I think we've got a very convincing argument that they should go as one."

Bristol city councillor Steve Comer (Liberal Democrat, Eastville) said the idea of merging the bid worried him.

He said: "I'm nervous about merging them together. It's like creating a favourite in the steeplechase rather than the Derby."

Mr Veal joked that rather than having five one-legged horses, you would have one with five legs.

Mr Fowler explained that in a ranking of the first 22 schemes being considered by Government, the Ashton Vale bendy-bus route was considered the fifth best in terms of value for money. Bath was tenth and Weston-super-Mare was eleventh while the other two schemes had yet to be included in the ranking.

Final funding bids will be submitted in the autumn with a decision by the end of the year. In theory, the councils could repackage them as one scheme.

The other question that remains is the exact use of transport on the route. The current proposal is still for so-called bendy-buses but last year Bristol's executive member for transport, Gary Hopkins, indicated ultra light rail – essentially a tram – could be on the cards.


Bristol transport schemes fast-tracked

The South Bristol Link and the North Fringe to Hengrove Package have been fast-tracked to the final assessment stage. The move comes after The Department of Transport (DfT) identified £45.5m of savings.

A further 23 schemes have also been given the green light to bid for funding from a pot worth around £630m.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond said: “Following the spending review we challenged local authorities to look again at the cost of proposed schemes to ensure we get maximum value for every pound we spend.

"The councils being awarded funding today have met that challenge by achieving a saving to the taxpayer of £45.5m on the original proposed costs. That means more money is now available for other schemes across the country.”

Councillor Gary Hopkins, Bristol City Council's cabinet member for strategic transport, said: "Today's announcement by the government is very good news for Bristol and the west of England. It improves our chances massively of getting the go-ahead from the Government later this year. It really moves our schemes up the pecking order so that we are closer than we've ever been to achieving these vital transport infrastructure improvements.”

Insider Media Ltd - South West


Cycle Parking Grants in South Gloucestershire

Do you need to improve the cycle parking at your business or

Do you simply need to expand your cycle parking to accommodate the growing number of cyclists at your workplace, then read on…

South Gloucestershire Council has recently been awarded some money through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund; we want to use some of this funding to improve cycle parking at local businesses. If you would like to apply please forward the below details by the 30th September 2011.

How do companies apply?

Please submit in writing the following information:-

1. Name of company & address

2. Number of employees

3. Description of scheme (including no of cyclists to be accommodated)

4. Total cost of the scheme and timescale for implementation.

5. Level of funding requested and match funding contribution (in kind and/or financial)

6. Send to transport.policy@southglos.gov.uk

The application will be reviewed and the applicant will be notified of the financial contribution from South Gloucestershire Council. The amount authorised will be at the discretion of South Gloucestershire Council. South Gloucestershire Council may wish to visit the premises to view the proposed scheme and feature it in Council publicity. Before funding is released, the applicant is required to commit to the implementation of the scheme within the stated timescale (before March 2012).

If you have any further queries please contact Helen Young Tel. 01454 864597 Email: helen.young@southglos.gov.uk

News archive



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