26 September 2022

Investing for good growth, health and sustainability

Investing for good growth, health and sustainability

At Central District Alliance, we work to strengthen the foundations for good growth, health and sustainability, echoing the shared priorities of our business community and our Local Authority partners. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted how important walking, cycling and spending time outdoors every day is to our quality of life, and to our physical and mental health. This year, the summer heatwaves underlined the need to also work on helping streets and shared spaces stay comfortable under climate change pressures. Especially as the cost of living crisis makes active travel a necessity as well as a choice.

Accessing the physical and mental health benefits of staying active is much easier to do if physical activity is embedded into everyday life. So safe, comfortable and welcoming walking and cycling routes are key, especially when supported by clear wayfinding and cycle parking. With support for non-standard cycles and seats to stop and rest, walking and cycling is something that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. This is reflected in the Healthy Streets approach championed by TfL, by the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy, and in the policies of our partners at Camden and Islington Councils.

To help everyone keep walking or cycling comfortably as our climate gets hotter and wetter, investment into trees and plants along walking and cycling routes will be crucial. Street trees provide the shade that lowers summer temperatures and the wind breaks that reduce winter heat loss from buildings, as well as helping absorb carbon and reduce particulate air pollution. Both rain gardens and tree pits soak up excess water from heavy rain, reducing the risk of surface flooding.

Investing in the green routes that connect our neighbourhoods, and our green and open spaces

We are already investing in improvements to streets and shared spaces that reduce the impact of vehicles, create greener and more comfortable conditions, and therefore encourage more people to walk, cycle and spend time outdoors. This summer we helped Camden Council deliver the Red Lion and Dane Street Safe and Healthy Street Scheme, enhancing a crucial link in the north-south pedestrian and cycle route that connects Holborn and King’s Cross.

Looking ahead, we want to help everyone comfortably walk or cycle between their home or office, and our parks, squares or cafes. To do this, we have mapped out a network of quiet, low pollution routes across our BID footprint. Investment here will enhance the walking and cycling connections that linking together green spaces, open spaces and neighbourhood social meeting spots. We are working to bring sustainable permanent planting across this green route network wherever possible, including trees and rain gardens, supported by improved pedestrian wayfinding. This investment aims to capture and maximise those positive benefits to health and wellbeing we all value, and support Central London’s climate resilience.

Lucy Minyo

Central District Alliance / Principal Consultant, Momentum Transport

lucy@centraldistrictalliance.com

 

References

NHS England, 2018. Putting Health into Place

Sam Margolis, Strategic Lead for Transport Planning, Camden Council, 2022. Presentation to Camden Cyclists

Islington Council, 2020. Vision 2030: Building a Net Zero Carbon Islington by 2030

Transport for London, 2017. Guide to the Healthy Streets Indicators: Delivering the Healthy Streets Approach.

Camden Council, 2019. Camden Transport Strategy

Greater London Authority, 2018. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy

Islington Council, 2020. Islington Transport Strategy 2020 to 2041

Camden Council, 2021. Red Lion Street and Dane Street Safe and Healthy Street Scheme

Greater London Authority and Bloomberg Associates, 2020. Climate Risk Mapping

Camden Council, 2020. Camden Tree Planting Strategy

Camden and Islington Councils, 2022. Parks for Health Strategy 2022-2030

Greater London Authority, 2022. Mayor pledges £3.1m for tree planting in response to the heatwave

Greater London Authority, 2022. Mayor launches four new London Nature Trails, walking routes to connect natural spaces in the city’s most built up areas