The Great Big 'Consultation Watch' Roundup

This week's roundup continues our theme of 'something a bit different' for the last weekend in the month - this time we're focusing on current consultations, both national and local.

What I've found in compiling this week's blog is that - at least as far as cycling is concerned - there isn't really a lot going on at the moment. Even in London, where perhaps the biggest and most visible changes are being made to redesign streets for cycling, it's still pretty quiet. And there's very little money going on cycling outside of London; that's partly reflected in this roundup, where there's a reasonable amount of activity in the capital, but not much going on elsewhere.

Maybe this is a slow period for consultations and for improvements, but even so it's certainly a little worrying, given the scale of the task required, at a national level. Change is desperately needed, but there isn't much of it happening, and certainly not a huge amount of great significance.

National consultations

Anyway, at a national level (and on a topic making the headlines at the moment) the government (in the form of Defra) is currently running a consultation on air quality and how to improve it, which closes on the 6th November. Respondents might like to point out that, as road transport is the dominant source of pollution in areas of the country where NO2 levels are being exceeded, the consultation document has very little to say (if anything at all) about improving the urban environment to enable cycling. (Scotland have a parallel consultation on reducing NO2 levels).

Also nationally, the Department for Transport have an open consultation on changes to the use of tactile paving, which closes a week later on the 13th November. Not strictly related to cycling, this one, but may prove to be controversial for one of its recommendations, namely -

Introduce a universal requirement for the boundary between carriageway and footway to be demarcated with tactile paving wherever they are at the same level

... which may have implications for designs like continuous footways across junction mouths, for instance, as well as requiring tactile paving at every single location there is a 'flush' meeting of footway and carriageway (at dropped kerbs, for instance).

The Scottish Parliament's Local Government Committee is consulting on a bill to outlaw pavement parking completely, and, finally, the DfT are also consulting on some further changes to The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (or TSRGD), which closes quite soon, on the 6th October. There isn't anything particularly significant in these minor changes, however, at least as far as cycling is concerned.


Perhaps the most high-profile consultation in London is of course the Superhighway running past Buckingham Palace - this closes on the 4th October. This is the design that was thwarted for so long by The Royal Parks, only for their problems to disappear with the appointment of a new Chief Executive. This is an important location, and while the proposals are not perfect, they are worth supporting as they form an important link between central London and the green space of Hyde Park. Respondents might point out the absence of cycling improvements connecting to this route, however.

Camden continue to push things forward in their borough - they are currently consulting on major changes to an important east-west route for cycling which will connect with Royal College Street. In general the plan is to continue restricting motor traffic to one-way flow, but to reallocate much of the street space to two-way cycling. Again, these plans aren't perfect, but it is definitely worth making a supportive response, and pointing out improvements that can be made.

Further north, Enfield may not be as in the news as Waltham Forest (here is a nice summary of the actions and benefits in that borough), but they are also a mini-Holland borough, and are proposing changes to the A105 - this consultation closes on the 9th October. At first glance these plans need improvement; while some of the scheme has cycleways properly separated from the carriageway, much of the rest of it appears to be cycle lanes on the outside of parking bays, with only 'armadillos' as protection. There's also an intriguing-sounding 'Dutch-style shared space roundabout with informal crossings and priority'. Constructive responses required here, pointing out how this scheme could be much better.

Enfield will also be consulting on a number of other mini-Holland schemes - their proposals for Enfield Town Centre are now live, and involve two options being proposed. These definitely look worth getting behind; the consultation closes in December.

Westminster have finally unveiled some very disappointing Quietway plans connecting Bloomsbury with the river, which present a bus lane as 'cycle provision', and assume painting big cycle symbols on the road makes a 'quietway.' About the best that can be said for these proposals is that they (finally) ban parking on the cycle lane on Waterloo Bridge. Westminster's Quietway plans from Edgware Road to Fitzrovia are equally disappointing.

Meanwhile in more 'Quietway news', Lambeth have released plans for the Quietway from Waterloo to Croydon (closes Sunday 4th October) - see here for a detailed overview from Kennington People on Bikes - and Southwark are consulting on plans for Quietway 7, from Elephant & Castle to Crystal Palace (closes 23rd October).

Hounslow are consulting on what could be described as 'mixed bag' proposals for Staines Road (stepped track in one direction, but dicey junctions and only 'armadillos' in the other direction, while Islington are consulting on ideas for improving Central Street - respondents might suggest closing this street to through motor traffic.

Finally, TfL are proposing some minor changes to this junction on the south circular - the removal of a parking bay, and some paint across the junction - but as for filing under 'you might as well not bother, really', there is some more ineffectual tinkering at Henlys Corner.


Glasgow have released a new strategic plan for cycling, which is open for consultation until the 30th September (next Wednesday!) - see both Car Sick Glasgow and Darkerside for some background opinion. The city is also gathering views on different ways of 'delivering' segregated cycle provision.

In Edinburgh Spokes have a handy list of consultation items, including a drop-in consultation on (final?) changes to George Street - this is the street where some good cycle provision was abandoned.

Both Essex and Tunbridge Wells are consulting on their own new cycle strategies - perhaps worth asking local campaigns for their tips on responding here - while Milton Keynes look to be examining ways to improve and expand their 'Redways' network.

Manchester are tinkering with some shared use footway, Sheffield are proposing some advisory cycle lanes (that motorists can of course park in) on Chesterfield Road and Birmingham have plans to improve towpaths for cycling in the city.

Finally, in Wales, Neath Port Talbot are consulting on new 'Active Travel Routes', while the CTC are campaigning on Trails for Wales, to improve access to the countryside, and a coalition of campaigners is arguing that Barmouth Bridge should be kept open, rather than closed due to council cost-cutting.


If you have any views on any of these consultations - or there are any I've missed - please add them in the comments below, and/or add them to the Consultation Watch thread on the Forum.