Green Transport Pressure Group Bids to Make National Trust Properties Off Limit to Drivers
A motion to restrict access by car to National Trust properties is due to be debated at the AGM of that organisation on Saturday 12 November, in Brighton.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-agm2005-agm_papers.pdf [pdf 429k]
According to the rules of the National Trust, motions of this kind must be publicly proposed by five members and supported by at least fifty.
All five of the NT members (1) proposing this motion are leading members of an environmental transport group called Sustrans, whose founder John Grimshaw has argued that traffic jams should be deliberately made worse (2) as a means of forcing people to use their cars less.
"It is clearly not in the best interests of the National Trust to pass this anti car motion. It will hurt both their organisation and their members," said ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries. "We are also very concerned that an organisation such as the National Trust is being infiltrated and subverted to serve the agenda of a pressure group."
Many National Trust properties are located in rural areas, and most visitors make long one off journeys, usually in family or friends' groups, to visit them. Such journey patterns are the worst suited to public transport — they are what cars were made for.
Sustrans has created the National Cycle Network, supported and used by many ABD members. But the ABD believes it is counter-productive to penalise cars in an attempt to promote cycling. NT visitors need a free choice from a range of transport options — not simply to be penalised for using their cars.
"Sustrans are shooting themselves in the foot by opposing better roads and better motoring facilities. When 92% of journeys are made by car, then it's the majority car drivers who are bound to benefit from the lions share of any transport funding. By blocking transport investment, all Sustrans are doing is reducing the size of the pot, with less for cycling too — they're cutting off their noses to spite their faces," says a frustrated Nigel Humphries.
The ABD strongly backs better cycle facilities at NT properties and the promotion of cycling, but urges the National Trust to vote against the negative Sustrans motion. We would also encourage Sustrans to support road improvement schemes in exchange for better funding for its cycle network.
(1) The Five NT members proposing the motion are:
Rupert Douglas; the Liaison Ranger for the Eden Rangers of the National Cycle Network, created by Sustrans.
Gill Harrison; SUSTRANS Press and PR Manager.
Jenny Sheriff; SUSTRANS listed under Key Staff: Supporters.
Tim Snowdon; SUSTRANS listed under Key Staff: Companies.
Link as above.
John Thraves; SUSTRANS listed under Other Rides on the Network: Dorset.
(2) Grimshaw Quote
"We can't change the roads, much as I would like to halve the width of roads and reduce the space for traffic. I'm a great believer in permanent congestion, but less of it, if you know what I mean."
John Grimshaw of Sustrans, a guest on the Radio 4 'Midweek' programme, 14/9/2005