News round-up

With news on: Nick Clegg refusing campaign; York iTravel transport campaign, and; MP’s Optare bus factory visit

Deputy PM Clegg dismisses calls for air pollution inquiry

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has turned down calls for an independent public inquiry into air pollution in the UK on his weekly LBC radio call-in programme.

Last month (March 11), Dave Davies of the Campaign for Air Pollution Public Inquiry spoke to Mr Clegg on the radio show, urging more action to tackle air pollution in the UK and reiterating his calls for a national, independent inquiry into the problem.

However, in response on the show, Mr Clegg said: “I don’t think you need a public enquiry to generate more research or data.”

Mr Clegg added: “I guess I’m just questioning do I think a great big public enquiry which might go on for years and years, cost a lot of money is the best way to get what you and I both want David which his cleaner air to breathe.”

Commenting after the phone-in exchange on LBC, which took place on March 19, Mr Davies said he was disappointed with the Deputy Prime Minister’s response.

Mr Davies said: “I had asked Nick Clegg the same question on LBC two years ago when he wrote to me saying the same thing that he has said today: that he acknowledged that this was a serious issue and was keen to take action. However in the two years since there has been no effective action taken by the Deputy Prime Minister or the government, which means that tens of thousands of people continue to die each year from air pollution.”

York council plots sustainable transport campaign

Actor Andrew Dunn stars in York council's sustainable transport video campaign

Coronation Street actor Andrew Dunn stars in York council’s sustainable transport video campaign

City of York council has launched a new trailer video to promote cycling, car sharing, walking and public transport use ahead of the start of its new sustainable transport campaign this spring.

Written by local Bafta award-winning script writer Jimmy Richards, the video features Coronation Street and Dinnerladies actor Andrew Dunn, who is the face of the council campaign.

According to the council, the teaser-trailer marks the first of a series of light-hearted videos to be released throughout the year aimed at encouraging people against solo-car travel where possible.

The first short video will focus on cycling in and around the city, and will launch fully on the weekend of May 2 to coincide with the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in the city. The teaser trailer can be viewed on the council’s YouTube channel.

David Short, i-Travel York programme manager, said: “We know that even more residents than ever are reconsidering their travel options. In fact, feedback from our recent door-to-door exercise in the north of the city found that 24% of participants overall said they are now using their car less and that the sole reason they reduced their car use and considered modes of transport was because of the i-Travel York programme. We also know from cycle counters across the city that cycle journeys have increased by 35% between 2008 and 2014. We’re delighted to have Andrew front the campaign and hope this will encourage even more residents to consider sustainable modes of transport.”

Andrew Dunn, said: “As a York resident I know it’s not always easy travelling around the city so anything which helps get the message out there that there’s support for people to try cycling or catching the bus more, I’m happy to be a part of.”

MP praises Optare electric buses

(L-R) Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, with Optare chief executive Enrico Vassallo on a recent tour of the Sherburn factory

(L-R) Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty, with Optare chief executive Enrico Vassallo on a recent tour of the Sherburn factory

Bus manufacturer Optare has received praise for its electric vehicles from the MP for Selby and Ainsty, Nigel Adams, following his visit to the firm’s manufacturing facility at Sherburn, Elmet, near Leeds.

There are more than 80 Optare electric buses currently in service across the UK and last month the local Conservative MP toured the facility, which employs more than 400 people, and saw several buses in production.

This included Optare’s fully electric models, six of which are due to go into service at York’s latest Park & Ride later this year.

On his visit, Mr Adams commented: “I was very impressed with the quality and design of the latest electric and low emissions buses manufactured in Sherburn in Elmet. It was a delight to see buses for world markets being made in Yorkshire. It is a very competitive international market and one in which Optare shows engineering excellence.”

Enrico Vassallo, chief executive of Optare plc — which claims to be the UK’s largest supplier of fully electric buses — said: “Nigel Adams MP’s visit to the factory underlines the importance of Optare’s contribution to the local and UK economy. We were particularly delighted to be able to showcase the proven technology of our fully electric vehicles and our newly developed MetroDecker, double deck vehicle.”

Meanwhile, Optare announced yesterday (April 1) that Midlands-based bus operator A&M Group (Flexibus) have added a new Optare Solo bus to their existing fleet of more than seven Optare Solos.

A&M Group have operated in partnership with Warwickshire county council since 1998, and the new Optare Solo will operate on routes around Warwickshire, Worcestershire and West Midlands.

Ian Thompson, Director at A & M, said: “We have run Solos for many years and have been extremely happy with their performance, therefore when it came to buying a new vehicle, the Solo SR was the obvious choice for us.”

It was also revealed last week (March 25) that a custom-built Optare Solo bus has been given to the London Transport Museum for its All Aboard family play zone. The bus was lifted into the upper deck of the area in the museum by a crew of lifting specialists from Allelys using a heavy duty fork lift.


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