It surprises me that the local Conservative party continues to determinedly campaign for the Western ‘bypass’, claiming that it will reduce traffic. They have been told in no uncertain terms by their own consultants that it will not, and will likely increase traffic.

In the 1970s, Thatcher recognised that coal mines were old technology and made the brave decision to close them. Sadly, she did not invest in new technology or training to replace them and give the miners new work in a timely fashion. The current situation reminds me of this, but perhaps in reverse. The party that seems to be the most revered in Herefordshire is desperate to hang on to old technology roads, and battling to save their outdated infrastructure.

That aside, the Conservative government have told us all that we need to be moving to ‘green’ transport. This means more cycling, walking and electric buses. Sadly, national funding has not reflected this mantra.

Hereford needs an estimated £57million to put in a proper safe cycle network. Rishi Sunak has only allocated £175million for the whole country to put in cycle networks.

Meanwhile, big multinationals are buying up out of town car parking spaces all over the country and switching to bicycles for the last mile or so of deliveries. This will rapidly reduce their carbon and pollution footprint, not to mention their costs and congestion. These businesses are going to need a good cycle infrastructure very soon. In town, retail benefits greatly from this infrastructure as it rejuvenates local shopping and tourism.

“And, what about the elderly and disabled?” I hear people cry. Well, safe, well-designed cycle networks enables the elderly, disabled and young people to cycle safely. They are inclusive. Moreover, they take so much traffic off the roads that those people who need to use them have a traffic free experience.

Let’s hope for some local and national enlightenment very soon. We don’t want the Conservatives to be the new Luddites, now do we?

Dr Patricia Ronan

STIMBY (Science and Technology in My Back Yard

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