Cardiff Friends of the Earth Newsletter - Summer 2007

Ely Bridge Campaign

Cardiff FoE is actively involved in campaigning for a pedestrian and cycle bridge to link Penarth and Cardiff. The bridge would provide vital access to the massive International Sports Village (ISV) Development, which at present really only caters for car users. The Cogan Rail station – only 500 yards or so away from the site – would allow people from all over Wales to get to the ISV via public transport, but at present access is impossible, because pedestrians are banned from using the Cogan Spur dual carriageway.

The Cogan Spur and Penarth Road – both very busy and heavy traffic routes – are the only ways in and out of Penarth towards Cardiff, and thus carry all the commuter traffic. They also happen to be the only cycle routes, which makes cycling not only very unpleasant but also unsafe. With the dedicated Ely Bridge however, Penarthians could cycle through the ISV, and then along a traffic-free route on Windsor Quay, which eventually leads to the Taff Trail, going all the way to the City Centre. This would obviously encourage would-be cyclists to leave the car at home and switch to pedal power.

The campaign for the bridge has gained substantial momentum in the last 12 months. After our 400-strong demo in April, Sustrans announced that the Ely Bridge would be part of their national Connect2 project – a bid for lottery money to implement sustainable transport solutions throughout the country. The outcome of the bid will be decided in December via Television Vote.

In the meantime, we have lobbied both Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Councils to support the Ely Bridge even if the bid for Connect2 money fails. Both Councils were very positive and saw the need for the bridge. In addition, both authorities agreed to actively search for funding for the bridge, from monies arising via Section 106 agreement from the massive developments on both sides of the Ely, to Assembly grants, and even the capital programme.

In a nutshell, things are looking good, but we need to keep the momentum going and help raise the profile of Connect2, to make sure that as many people as possible vote for Connect2.

Transition Town Project

A new project has kicked off in Cardiff based on a dissertation by Rob Hopkins. The premise is that the supply of oil will run out in the near future. It is therefore about looking at solutions at a local level, Lampeter has already started down this route. The project in Cardiff is in its formative stages and is seeking interested stake-holders. The premises include making people behave in a more sustainable way; cycling instead of driving, growing your own produce instead of relying on imports etc. Much of their vision is in line with Cardiff Friends of the Earth and the group is about sharing resourses between like minded groups. Proposed organisational strategies include dividing Cardiff into ‘villages’ so that each area can run according to their needs and resources.

Cardiff FoE Stalls

In June, we were very busy with stalls at various local events. A stall was held at the Los Campesinos gig at The Point. A tremendously successful stall was present at The Fete of The Earth . Another was present at the Cardiff Friends of Earth sponsored Bike Week and a further one at the museum showing of an Inconvenient Truth. As a result over 300 Big Ask postcards have been filled in and will be going to MPs to show support for a stronger Climate Change Bill.

Not another Tesco store

Tesco has obtained both retail permission and an alcohol licence for a premises on City Road. The new Tesco store will be within 5 minutes walking distance of two other Tesco stores. Public consultation was extremely restricted. Friends of the Earth objects to this store for the following reasons; Tesco is too dominant in the food sector, Tesco is purely profit oriented, Tesco offers no diversity, Tesco profits do not feed back to the local community except via PR campaigns.

Local people have protested against the opening of the store on City road, local shopkeepers and the group have already collected a 1000 signatures protesting at yet another Tesco store.

Visit the Tescopoly website for more reasons why Tesco you should boycot Tesco.

Ban Plastic Bags in Wales

Cardiff Friends of the Earth encourage the Welsh Assembly to go for a ban of plastic bags. This will reduce needless waste going into landfill and will stop plastic escaping into the environment killing wildlife in horrific ways. This would a definite step in the direction of a more sustainable Wales.

Resource guzzling incinerator or appropriate waste solutions

Two companies have announced plans to build a massive incinerator in Cardiff Bay to dispose of our rubbish and generate energy.

If approved, it would:

  • be capable of burning three times as much rubbish as Cardiff sends to landfill sites every year
  • take waste from across south Wales
  • discourage more efforts to increase recycling and composting.

Cardiff Friends of the Earth believes that:

  • incineration is not the best way of dealing with waste: it means burning paper and plastics that should be recycled
  • it is not a renewable way of generating energy because so much of the 'fuel' comes from plastics which are made from oil
  • We need to do better at recycling and composting before we start building incinerators
  • Rather than sending waste trucks around south Wales we should deal with waste as near as possible to where it's produced
  • Non-incineration options such as anaerobic digestion should be explored to deal with "residual" waste - when all the recyclables have been taken out.

Did you know?

  • In 2005/06 Cardiff Council only recycled and composted 12 percent of our rubbish
  • In Powys they already manage 35 percent
  • In Flanders they recycle and compost over 70 percent.