GBCP NEWSLETTER (18:17) – 22nd April 2017 Special on Waste and Street Scene

GBCP and others have been talking for sometime to Bristol City Council about the need for them to sharpen up their policies on Recycling, Waste Collection and the Street Scene. They are beginning to do that and attached is a draft of their proposed policy Waste Management Policies 22 March 17 KJ update with TM. It has two main themes:

  1. their general approach to recycling, waste minimization and collection;
  2. proposals about enforcement. These sections, more or less, have been highlighted in red.

Both elements are welcome and you are invited to send any comments that you have to kurt.james@bristol.gov.uk .

Street Scene and Walkability
For several years GBCP and many of our community partners have been concerned about the street scene and its impact upon the walkability of the area. Indeed, we ran the Green Capital funded Let’s Walk Bedminster project. Walkability has been linked to issues of equality and social isolation where, for example, people with disabilities have been discouraged from venturing into the community where it may be perceived as dangerous or, at least, unwelcoming. Children have also been discriminated against and there is lots of evidence that today’s children are much less able to move freely around their community than was the case for children of the same age 20 or 50 years ago. A hostile environment is also much more likely to encourage people to hop into their car for short journeys, thus increasing air pollution of various sorts.

GBCP’s Policy to Enhance Walkability has been based on three general principles

  1. Make Positive Interventions: this has included supporting BCC to introduce measures such as 20mph, additional street crossings and dropped curbs; promoting community gardens, orchards, plant boxes and front garden awards; adding benches, signage and art work to retail and residential streets; moves to increase safety around schools; publishing a toilet map; supporting street markets, street parties and Playing Out so that streets could be, once more, seen as social spaces for human interaction rather than just car parks.
  2. Reduce Negative Features: This has included pressing BCC to repair broken pavements and combatting the three Neighbourhood Negatives.
    Overhanging planting that blocks the footway.
    Clutter on the Pavement. This includes recycling bins of all sorts. This is the main issue that seems to be being addressed in the new BCC policy.
    Discourage Cars from Parking on the Footway. See below for more details about this.
  3. Enforcement: Although our main thrust, for example during the Let’s Walk Bedminster project, has always been to raise awareness and cooperation, this does not work in a minority of cases. For these, enforcement is necessary. The new BCC policy seeks to address this issue. That’s why it’s necessary to get the policy right and then, actually do something about it.

Please share your thoughts with Kurt James and with GBCP Newsletter. We hope that the new regulations will become official in a few months time.

Proposed Pilot in Central Bedminster
Cars parked on pavements is much less of a problem than it used to be in the areas of GBCP that are within the Residents Parking Zones, but much worse in other parts of GBCP due to displacement of parking. The law is very unclear about pavement parking, except in London and a few other cities where it is clearly illegal, except with special permission. Through the Bristol Walking Alliance we are having conversations with the Department of Transport in London and the Avon & Somerset Constabulary, but we do not expect any legal changes for quite a while, if at all.

More productively, we are developing a new education campaign on pavement parking (and clutter and overhanging plants) in central Bedminster. We are looking at to start with the area bounded by North Street, West Street and South Street. We are working on this with the Neighbourhood Police Team, Bristol Waste Company, Kurt James, RNIB and several community organisations based in central Bedminster. If this project succeeds, we will move to other areas in Greater Bedminster and also more widely and do it again.

We are still working on the plan, but the general ideas is that people living in the area will talk to their neighbours, deliver letters etc to raise peoples’ awareness. People often say things like ‘sorry, I didn’t mean to block the footway, can you lend me some shears?’ Experiences elsewhere suggest that, once people are alerted, much of the problem goes away. But, it only takes one abandoned bin to trip up a blind person or stop a wheelchair. This is where the Police and Waste Company and the new regulations come in. We hope that they will visit premises where either the residents refuse to be cooperative and helpful or, as is often the case, there are real practical problems about the storage of bins or the parking of cars. For example, we don’t really know whether local pockets of parked cars are down to residents, commuters or other reasons. We hope to find out.

There are several active residents and community based groups in or near the area shown on the maps. We’ll be getting in touch with you, but it would save time if you contacted us and offered your help.

We had thought we would start this campaign in mid-May once the metro-mayor was sorted, but it now looks as if it may be mid-June. More info later.

Special GBCP NEWSLETTERS
If you are interested in preparing a Special GBCP NEWSLETTER around a topic that is of importance to you or your organisation, contact news@gbcp.org.uk for a chat.

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