Sheffield City Council object to 60mph on M1 in opposition to official policy

Sheffield City Council’s response to the DfT consultation goes against officially stated council policy of supporting lower speed limits on the M1. Their opposition to lower speed limits cited concerns about the economic impact, public reaction, enforcement and investor perception of Sheffield.

M1MMWe have air quality problems in Sheffield. We have an air quality action plan that calls out the M1 double decker viaduct as a problem. The area around the M1 is called Tinsley and the air quality is notoriously bad and breaches EU limits for NO2 for most of the year.

The DfT decided that they’d like to add an extra lane to the motorway and a consultation was launched to find out if people think reducing the speed limit to 60mph is something we should do to offset the damage. Sheffield Council submitted a response that was summed up as.

Unitary, county and district authorities… responded with detailed comments on the proposal, but all except Nottinghamshire County Council were ultimately opposed to the proposal.

Jack Scott, cabinet member for the environment disagreed that this was the response, he said that SCC wanted lower speed limits, will continue to lobby DfT for lower speed limits and planned to write to the DfT because they had misrepresented SCCs response. These tweets have now been deleted from Jack Scott’s Twitter feed. I couldn’t agree more with his views and the council’s policy on this, they’ve got it right.

Jack ScottWrite to DfT

The Sheffield Star newspaper has covered reactions to the decision. Jack Scott is quoted as “We have been let down massively – lives are being put at risk” and Sheffield MP Clive Betts said “The Government is showing complete disregard for the health and welfare of my constituents in Tinsley.”

The Sheffield Air Quality Action Plan includes policy to support lower speed limits yet Sheffield City Council’s consultation response objected to lower speed limits. Quoting from their response makes grim reading.

I think it’s disgraceful that there are still people in Sheffield City Council who trade off the lives of people against the perception of Sheffield to investors.

The City Council is concerned about the economic impact on the Sheffield City Region of the reduced speed limit on the 32 mile stretch of the M1 for an indeterminable time period. The Highways Agency has not modelled or made clear what the full impact of the proposed speed limit on the [sic] will have on the surrounding road network, the local economy and the development aspirations of South Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region.

Sheffield City Region, along with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority (who have responded separately to this Consultation) would therefore, like the Highways Agency to further clarify and provide appropriate evidence on the potential economic impact of the Smart Motorway proposal operating at a maximum 60mph speed limit.

It is unclear how the speed limit will be enforced (and how the public will react) to ensure the claimed effect of mitigating the impact, particularly on air quality.

There is also an unresolved issue of ‘perception’ which is likely to affect the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Sheffield City Region in our desire to seek much needed inward investment. Such investment may be deterred if it is perceived that the sub-region required such onerous measures to deal with existing or likely future problems whereas others do not (in part at least through previous investment in national infrastructure).

It’s very clear that there is strong support for lower speed limits from the top of Sheffield City Council, it’s supported by cabinet members and council policy, however we need to find out why the official council response opposed lower speed limits.

Sheffield City Council’s official response to this consultation can be found here.

South Yorkshire Local Sustainable Transport Fund 2015/16 – ‘Inmotion! altogether better travel’

LSTF Cycling part

The DfT have released the winning bids for the latest round of LSTF to cover 2015/16. This grant only covers revenue (ongoing costs), capital expenditure has been wrapped up in the Local Growth Fund. In South Yorkshire the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) submitted the bid along with the Passenger Transport Executive, Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Total project cost of £6.325 million, with £1.479 million from local contribution and £4.811 million from the LSTF grant.

The cycling element makes up 35% of the total scheme and consists of supporting 2-3 cycle hubs in each district (presumably Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley) which will have a shop, parking, bike hire, cafe, showers, training, repairs etc. The Cycle Boost scheme looks to continue, and I think a Sheffield Sky Ride event will come from this budget.

The benefit cost ratio is calculated as 3.9 but I think most of this comes from the mass participation Sky Ride event, the stated benefits of which seem to be a little dubious!

In addition, to capitalise on the Tour de France, a mass participation event is planned for Sheffield attracting 10,000 cyclists leading to almost 500,000 car kms saved in the first year.

Part LSTF Contribution Local Contribution Total
Total LSTF Scheme £4,811,000 £1,479,000 £6,325,000
Cycling Element: Cycle Boost Hubs £1,593,597 £568,148 £2,196,205 (35%)
LSTF Cycling part

LSTF Cycle Boost Hubs


A note on the costs of LSTF. The local and LSTF contributions to the Cycle Boost Hubs don’t add up to the total cost, £34,000 is missing! The total LSTF project cost when adding up the schemes come to £442k less than the stated full scheme cost, where is this almost half a million pounds going?

LSTF Project Costs not adding up?

LSTF Project Costs not adding up?

On another note, transparency surrounding this application has been very poor. I had to submit an FOI request to a local authority to get a copy. It has been published on the internet, but at an unpublished url of which isn’t included in the sites sitemap or linked to any news article or press release!

On yet another note, the DfT originally stated that they would provide £78.5m to LSTF projects, but only £64m has been allocated! Where is this missing £14.5m?

Institution of Civil Engineers – State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 – Active Travel

BnLJfhP3Today the Institution of Civil Engineers has released their State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 report and it calls on the UK government to embrace cycling as a mainstream travel choice. It is well worth reading the section on Local Transport Networks, it makes rather depressing reading.

Well done ICE for highlighting and supporting these issues.

Both walking and cycling have an important role in shorter trips for joining up public transport journeys, alongside associated health and well-being benefits. Traditionally most of the benefits of transport infrastructure projects have been associated with reductions in travel time; however, studies suggest that active travel should be considered as a positive aspect in infrastructure appraisals.

Walking is often neglected in transport debates yet still accounts for around one-quarter of trips and is the second most common mode of commuting. Environments that are attractive to pedestrians are often also attractive places to live, work, shop and socialise. ICE would like to see walking promoted through better streetscape management, including wider, better-lit and better-maintained pavements and public realm. There should also be a reduction in unnecessary street furniture, traffic-calming and other measures to make existing environments more pedestrian-friendly.

The UK ranks 24th in the EU for the percentage of its population cycling daily, yet cycling could make a much greater contribution to our travel. It reduces pressure on road space and the need for parking, and improves public health; but despite a relatively high public profile and encouraging words from Government, there has been much less meaningful action. ICE recommends that transport policy should embrace cycling as a mainstream travel choice and address the barriers to achieving this by:
Committing to clear national objectives and targets
Increasing funding to ensure development of high quality networks in major urban areas
Taking action to improve cycle safety and perceptions of safety

Government bans use of CCTV ‘spy cars’ for on-street parking

Use of closed circuit television spy cars on their own to enforce on-street parking made illegal.
In a victory for drivers and shoppers, the government will make it illegal to use closed circuit television (CCTV) ‘spy cars’ alone to enforce on-street parking ending the plague of parking tickets by post, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (21 June 2014). press release

We’ve been campaigning for tougher enforcement of parking offenses for a long time. Banning the use of CCTV, discounts for appeals and freezing penalty notice fees reduces our ability to protect infrastructure designed to enable people to use a bike.

Illegal parking on Asline Road cycle track

Coaches blocking Asline Road cycle track in Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police directed these coaches to park here

Illegal parking on Clarkhouse Road cycle lane

Illegal parking on Castle Street cycle lane.

Blocked - The taxi drivers use the cycle lane as an extension of the taxi rank

Blocked – The taxi drivers use the cycle lane as an extension of the taxi rank

The Sheffield Cycling Inquiry

P1050814.resizedThis will be the first in a series of posts about the Sheffield Cycling Inquiry held in 2013/14.

In 2013 CycleSheffield asked Sheffield City Council to hold a Cycling Inquiry which mirrored the process from the national All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling Inquiry. The aim was to

review what we are doing in Sheffield and what we can do better, in order to improve the opportunities for cycling

The final report is available here however I’ve started with a review of the process about how we’ve got here.

The Economic and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee started the inquiry based on some terms of reference.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Terms of Reference (MS Word/PDF)

In September 2013 the inquiry received reports about cycling from various parts of the council.

  • John Bann, Head of Transport, Traffic and Parking Services
  • Dawn Lockley, Health Improvement Principal, Place Public Health Team
  • Maria Duffy, Interim Head of Planning

A summary of the discussions is available on the web here.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Council Reports (PDF)

The inquiry asked for views from the public via a call for evidence via a webform or by writing in.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Call For Evidence (MS Word/PDF)

260 responses were received, they have been summarised and will be released in full in the future.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Written Evidence Summary (MS Word/PDF)

The council produced a document called “Cycling in Sheffield 2008 – 2013″ which outlines the various projects that have/haven’t been done for cycling in Sheffield since 2008.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling in Sheffield 2008 – 2013 (PDF)

The inquiry asked for oral evidence from a group of people including Sustrans, IAM, CycleSheffield, Stagecoach and Supertram.

They discussed these three questions:

  • ‘How do we make people feel safer cycling on roads?’
  • ‘Do we need to integrate cycling with public transport?’
  • ‘How do we get more people to cycle in Sheffield?’

And the discussions are documented on the web here.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Oral Evidence Report (PDF)

In February draft recommendations were presented to the comittee, who then presented them to Sheffield City Council Cabinet who have asked Leigh Bramall (Cabinet Member for Business, Skills & Development – Including transport) to provide a response in July 2014.

KEY DOCUMENT – Cycling Inquiry Final Report(PDF)

I’ve heard that the response from Leigh Bramall is on track, we’ll find out what is response is at the Cabinet Meeting in July.

Hundreds Get On Their Bikes to Demand #Space4Cycling in Sheffield

CycleSheffield #space4cycling ride - Photo credit: @geckobike

CycleSheffield #space4cycling ride – Photo credit: @geckobike

Hundreds of people turned out for The Sheffield Space for Cycling Big Ride on Saturday. Over 240 people, young and old alike joined in to call for Space for Cycling.

Hundreds of people came to the #space4cycling ride

Hundreds of people came to the #space4cycling ride

People decorated their bikes, towed trailers, played music and came with their children.


#space4cycling - Freedom for families in Sheffield

#space4cycling – Freedom for families in Sheffield

Matt's #space4cycling bike trailer with in built sound system

Matt’s #space4cycling bike trailer with in built sound system

Emma Metcalfe from CycleSheffield said “The weather was glorious, and the atmosphere relaxed and happy, with smiling faces as people rode to a soundtrack of music and the ringing of bicycle bells. I think everyone really enjoyed the opportunity to cycle safely with their families“

Emma Metcalfe in her #space4cycling head-dress. Celebrating after the ride with a pint of Coke. Credit - Paul Truin

Emma Metcalfe in her #space4cycling head-dress. Celebrating after the ride with a pint of Coke. Photo Credit – Paul Truin

Riders were answering Cycle Sheffield’s rallying call to demonstrate their hunger to see Sheffield become a cycling city, where riding a bike is safe and accessible for everyone, and for Sheffield’s councillors to commit to making space for cycling. The day was full of personal stories. One lady said that she didn’t own a bike because she was too scared to ride on the road on her own, but had heard about the campaign and borrowed a bike especially to join in! One of the smallest riders wore a poignant placard saying ‘I want to cycle safely in Sheffield’.

"I want to cycle safely in Sheffield" - Photo credit Lucy Harper

“I want to ride safely in Sheffield” – Photo credit Lucy Harper

The Space for Cycling campaign calls for protected space for cyclists on main roads and through junctions, improved conditions on residential roads through reducing through motor traffic & ‘rat running’, safe segregated routes in the city centre & beyond, and for all Sheffield children to be able to cycle to school along safe routes.

#space4cycling so that everyone has the freedom to ride a bike in Sheffield

#space4cycling so that everyone has the freedom to ride a bike in Sheffield

Mick Nott, Chair of Cycle Sheffield says “Our Big Ride may well be the biggest bike ride in Sheffield this year and it will certainly be the happiest! For 240 people to turn up and have a joyful time riding through our city together sends a message to councillors that cycling is something that many more people would do if they felt the roads were designed and built better and space and transport planning put the needs of vulnerable road users first.”

“We received so much support from people on the streets and in cars and buses that it shows that cycling in Sheffield will be popular. This is our mandate to say that Sheffielders want Sheffield to be a cycling city NOW; so, Sheffield City Council just do it! The campaign goes on, so join us!”

#space4cycling Sheffield , Sharrow Vale Road

#space4cycling Sheffield , Sharrow Vale Road

Stay in touch via Twitter or Facebook


We need Space For Cycling

Space for cycling logo and 6 demands

Going to the shops, taking the kids to school, visiting friends. These are things we all do regularly, but how about on a bike?

There’s just no way I’d cycle in the city centre, and there’s no way I’d let my kids cycle there either. It’s Too dangerous. (Sandra, Leeds, Understanding walking and cycling)

Our streets are dominated by cars and people are too afraid to travel by bike. People love riding bikes with their friends and family (just look at the success of Centre Parks), however most people are not happy mixing with motor traffic on our roads and fear for their safety.

I just wish I had the courage to use my bike again, but sadly in this wacky town of crazy infrastructure that is in bad condition, and the crazy riders/motorists arguing and bickering about who cut who up I will keep the bike, regretfully in the shed. (aubreyboyce, Sheffield Forum)

We need to change how we think about our roads and transform them into inviting places where people feel safe cycling. By creating space for cycling we can improve our towns and cities, making the places we live less reliant on motor traffic and creating more space for people to enjoy.

I got my cycle out this summer to cycle to the Gym & back after 3 trips I found it too terrifying. Cycle paths start & finish anywhere. I cant understand the cycle path on Saxon road the back of Virgin Gym. (Woodyspatch, Sheffield Forum)

To do this the 6 core demands of Space for Cycling need to be delivered.

  1. Slowing traffic through the introduction of 20mph limits
  2. Removing through motor traffic from streets
  3. Protected space on main roads to keep people away from fast and heavy traffic
  4. Cycle routes in green spaces to give people shorter/quieter/alternative routes
  5. Space for children to cycle to school without their parents or teachers fearing for their safety
  6. Cycle friendly town centres, removing noisy motor traffic and creating attractive destinations



To help make this a reality please come along with your friends and family to one of the rides in 2 weeks time on 17th May. Details for the Sheffield event are here. Please take part.

You can also send a message to your councillors asked them to support by filling in this form.

Leigh Bramall’s Standard Reply to Cycling Contacts

I’m just posting this here for the record!

In Sheffield, including the implementation of new 20mph areas, we are spending over £1m in the coming year making improvements to our cycle infrastructure.

We have set out a policy that will ultimately see all suitable residential areas have a 20 mph speed limit, and the Streets Ahead programme to bring all our pavements and roads up to a good standard will make the cycle offer easier, as well as offering the opportunity for further improvements to our cycling infrastructure.  In addition, we are developing plans for a network of Green Routes that will provide off road cycling routes using our green spaces and parks to provide safe cycling paths along key corridors for commuting and leisure uses.

We have also recently facilitated a Scrutiny Committee investigation into how cycling can be improved in the city.   From this, we aim to identify a single strategic cycle network using both on-street  and off-road routes that will work together to offer safe cycling conditions for all types of cyclist.  Links to the report are below.  The Cabinet of Sheffield City Council has received the report and will be considering the recommendations prior to commenting on the report in July this year.  The Labour Council is committed to continuing to look at this and other ways of improving the city to make cycling an attractive option.

“The [bikeability] course is not aimed at encouraging children to cycle to school alone”

Freedom for families

Freedom for families – Postcard courtesy of Cycle Embassy of Great Britain

Bikeability training is due to start later this month at Dobcroft Junior School in Sheffield. A letter was sent to parents of children taking part which includes advice on allowing children to cycle to school alone.

Please note that the course is not aimed at encouraging children to cycle to school alone. Because of the heavy traffic conditions and parking problems surrounding our school, we expect parents to accompany their children who may wish to cycle to school in future.

It is the responsibility of our MPs and Local Councillors to change these conditions so that children can cycle to school alone safely. Sheffield Council’s current programs for improving conditions for cycling are woefully inadequate and this letter shows how far we still have to go. By investing in training children to how to cycle, but failing to provide the infrastructure necessary to support them we are simply wasting our time.

We need to transform Sheffield into a place where people of all ages are free to walk or ride a bike without being fearful. We can do this by changing the way we think about designing our roads, by prioritising the needs of people rather than allowing the car to become the only realistic choice.

Thanks to Edale Skyline on Twitter for sharing this.

Letter to parents from Dobcroft Junior School in Sheffield, Please note that the course is not aimed at encouraging children to cycle to school alone. Because of the heavy traffic conditions and parking problems surrounding our school, we expect parents to accompany their children who may wish to cycle to school in future.

Letter to parents from Dobcroft Junior School in Sheffield, Please note that the course is not aimed at encouraging children to cycle to school alone. Because of the heavy traffic conditions and parking problems surrounding our school, we expect parents to accompany their children who may wish to cycle to school in future. Courtesy of Edale Skyline

South Yorkshire Police repeatedly parking coaches on segregated cycle track on Asline Road in Sheffield

If you feel strongly about this, please join me in taking direct action as part of a protest on 22nd March. Facebook event here.

When a football match takes place in Sheffield at Bramall Lane, coaches carrying fans need somewhere to park. This task is managed by South Yorkshire Police who direct them to park along Asline Road cycle track. This is part of the Sheaf Valley Route and is one of the few safe ways to avoid cycling along the terrifying Queens Road or London Road.

Coaches blocking Asline Road cycle track in Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police directed these coaches to park here

Chris Rust has written about the issue on his blog here as well as CycleSheffield pressuring both Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police without much progress. South Yorkshire Police don’t have a very good reputation for respecting cycle infrastructure.

South Yorkshire Police need to stop directing coaches to park on Asline Road cycle track.

Official Twitter feeds have stated that the cycle track subject to a road closure order (it is not), and that they will try to park the coaches somewhere else (they haven’t) and that it is for public safety (presumably excluding people on bikes).



Whoever posts on this Twitter account on behalf of South Yorkshire Police needs to stop talking rubbish and making stuff up!


The Inspector with responsibility for the South Yorkshire Police Operational Planning Unit has written to me about this. You can write to him too, he’s on Twitter.

the twitter feed you refer to was an error of understanding in terms of the road closure order, this does not actually cover Alsine[sic] Road. You are quite right to point out that the parking of the coaches in that location is inappropriate.

Parking of coaches on Asline Road has been custom and practice for many years however I appreciate that this doesn’t make it right to block the cycle path. As a result of recent contacts I am aware that some of my team have been working with Sheffield United to resolve this issue and I have been seeking the considerations of the safety advisory group.

I will be able to update you further in the near future but for now please be assured that we are working on this and will seek a solution that does not compromise the cycle path.

Neil Mutch – South Yorkshire Police (my emphasis)

This letter was back on the 6th Feb. One month on, the police are still directing visiting coaches to park on Asline Road cycle track. This video shows that the coaches are given a police motorbike escort from the football ground to the cycle track.

So, my question to Neil Mutch, Operational Planning Unit Inspector, when will your operational plans comply with the law and stop endangering people who ride bikes?

Sheffield City Council have the responsibility for enforcing parking, will Sheffield City Council stand up to South Yorkshire Police and issue parking tickets to dangerously/illegally parked vehicles? Do they have the guts to ask them to stop abusing Sheffield’s cycle infrastructure? Will they ask South Yorkshire Police to behave responsibly?

I doubt South Yorkshire Police will change their ways any time soon, or that Sheffield City Council will step up to the mark and prevent South Yorkshire Police from breaking the law. If the authorities won’t act then we must take a stand. This weekend – Saturday 22nd March – we will protest against the abuse of Asline Road cycle track. The cycle track will be occupied by cyclists and will not be available for parking coaches. We will ensure that it remains open for people to cycle on. It’s insane that these extreme measures are necessary to ensure that a cycle track remains unobstructed, but it seems that this is all we have left.

If you wish to join me and take a stand then join the Facebook event here