3 minute talk to West Northants Council meeting

This is our 3-minute talk to West Northants Council on 2nd December 2021, with the full text and references below.

All of us here would like to see fewer cars on Northampton’s roads:

  1. Firstly, because we declared a climate emergency, and most of our CO2 emissions are from cars.1
  2. Secondly, because we have a totally unacceptable number of deaths and serious injuries on our streets.2
  3. And thirdly because 40% of urban car journeys are less than 2 miles, while 1 in 6 early deaths are caused by a sedentary lifestyle.3

Last year, the Department for Transport produced a new policy:  Gear Change: A bold vision for cycling and walking.  Here’s what it says:

“…this is the most radical change to our cities since the arrival of mass motoring…..2 billion pounds of new funding…that will pay for protected bike lanes, so anyone can ride safely, and low-traffic neighbourhoods, to stop rat-running and make it easier to walk and cycle…”4

It continues:

..Traffic is not a force of nature. It is a product of people’s choices.  If you make it easier and safer to walk and cycle, more people choose to walk and cycle instead of driving, and the traffic falls overall.”5

This approach has been proven to work in towns & cities all over the world, reducing traffic, improving people’s health, and getting bikes and scooters off the pavements.

The Gear Change document talks about setting up the first proper cycle lanes in London:

“It was often difficult and we faced opposition. But when the results of consultations and opinion polls came back, our opponents were often surprised to find themselves in a small minority. People want the radical change we are committing to in this strategy”6

Some final words from the Gear Change document:

“If you are going to oppose these schemes, you must tell us what your alternative is, because trying to squeeze more cars … on the same roads and hoping for the best is not going to work.”7

“….We will reduce [general] funding to councils which do not take active travel seriously, particularly in urban areas…”8

West Northants has received £1.3m for the Billing Road –  Park Avenue – Wellingborough Road cycle route.9 It is supposed to be spent by March 202110.  Let’s show the vision, leadership and ambition of neighbouring cities – Leicester, Coventry, Nottingham, and now Birmingham and make Northampton into a 21st century town that people will want to live in.


  1. UK govt Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2 Feb, 2021 (page 13)
  2. Serious road accident toll in Northants hits eight-year high, Pregnant woman and unborn child killed in crash in Northampton, Pedestrian died at scene after collision with Ford KA in Northampton town centre
  3. Gear Change: a bold vision for cycling and walking (Dept for Transport) p11, p8
  4. Gear Change: a bold vision for cycling and walking (Dept for Transport) p4
  5. Gear Change: One Year On (Dept for Transport) p6
  6. Gear Change: a bold vision for cycling and walking (Dept for Transport) p5
  7. Gear Change, One Year On (Dept for Transport) p7
  8. Gear Change, One Year On (Dept for Transport) p21
  9. Northamptonshire Highways Active Travel Fund
  10. Government guidance p55