Blackpool's Push For Zero Carbon Transport & the Global Green Movement
The images of hundreds of thousands marching today to protest against despoilation of the earth's resources now bringing real threat to a global future - is a wakeup call to all politicians whatever the party label. These are the voters influencing elections tomorrow and for generations ahead. Platitudes and band-aid reactions simply won't work anymore on young generations concerned that their lives are already at risk from environmental damage being done by callous land hungry developers and an indifferent public sector.
Blackpool may be deficient in seeing protests of the scale (or any scale) seen elsewhere today throughout Britain and the wider world. But there is a one local proactive public sector engagement at work to remove polluting emissions from the town's transport vehicles. Blackpool Transport has already put in motion (no pun here) planning to change over to an all-electric bus fleet within five or so years - and as soon as practicably possible.
It is ironic that this town was the FIRST in the UK to introduce electric powered tramcars (in 1885) and importantly to retain their trams in later decades when every other British town and city turned over their streets to diesel buses. The citizens of London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow are paying the price for an industry influenced policy pushed through from the 1930s onwards - until every UK tram and trolleybus system bar one was converted exclusively to motor bus operation. Today these corridors of pollutants emitted in major urban centres are cause of lowering life expectancy for those living, working and attending schools in proximity.
Blackpool Transport's Board and management are deserving of recognition as environmental warriors in an increasingly fraught global crisis. The extension of electric powered trams from Fleetwood to Poulton, from Blackpool to Warton, Lytham and St Annes has to be high on the agenda of our transport planners. As is the need for future vehicle procurement by ALL local councils and public bodies to mandate electric power exclusively with urgent phasing out of current diesel emitting vehicles of any type. Regulation needs to be imposed on the fleet of taxi owners many of whom traverse the town in vehicles well past their shelf life. A requirement for electric powered taxis now needs to be imposed through license fee increases on emission laden transport in the town and the Fylde coast.
Its not surprising that young generations have woken up to the 'business as usual' attitude of politicians and hidden interests seeking to hold back fundamental change to environmental policies. Voting Green today just became a potent force on the political agenda - even if local indifference to these factors is slow to recognise the gravity of threats posed by rising sea levels, plastic laden water courses and beaches, rising emission levels and chemical interference on our lives. A few isolated 'green shoots' give pause to blanket denunciation with the new Layton 'Rec' emerging as new green space, and the solitary row of trees planted in the town centre. Demolishing much of Talbot Road along with Wilkos - to create a green and illuminated corridor from North Station to the sea front would be a start - showing that this Council has smelt the coffee and means business when it comes to global environment challenges. All Politicians take note the young are awake to your inaction.