2025, not 2027: Accelerating delivery with a games mindset

Filed under: Campaign

Update: Since sending this letter this morning, it has been confirmed that a child cyclist was killed yesterday. Raising the number of recent fatalities to four – two of which were children.

Councillor John Cotton,
Council Leader, Birmingham City Council

Deborah Cadman,
Chief Executive Officer, Birmingham City Council

Cc: Councillor Liz Clements,
Cabinet Member for Transport, Birmingham City Council

Craig Cooper, Paul Kitson, Dr Justin Varney and Richard Brooks,
Directors on the Management team, Birmingham City Council

9 June 2023

2025, not 2027: Accelerating delivery with a games mindset

Dear all,

We are writing following more incidences of road violence with two cyclists and a four-year-old child being killed, as well as two other cyclists being seriously injured.

We know that preventing road violence and improving air quality requires better cycling and walking infrastructure. This must happen concurrently with the vision for fewer cars.

In recent years, consultations have been and gone with a response time of years. For example, the Bradford Street scheme, Bristol Road (Selly Oak) enhancement scheme, and Places for People schemes are all now overdue for delivery. When updates are shared, the schemes have barely moved forward. We need an urgent and robust assessment of the Council’s delivery capacity, including for small measures such as Transport Regulation Orders.

We cannot afford to wait for new infrastructure. They are critical interventions.

We share the widespread concern that the delivery of funded schemes is not quick enough. We have listened to the capacity issues, but can no longer accept this as an excuse for delay.

While the Council has published several laudable and ambitious strategies and visions for a low-traffic future, we have seen that there is a severe operational constraint within transport project teams and their consultancy partners.

The Council was able to deliver collaboratively with partners before and during the Commonwealth Games. This Games mindset needs to be harnessed again for the delivery of our shared transport ambitions.

We cannot view funding delivery deadlines as implementation dates: they must be worst-case scenarios. Schemes must be delivered by 2025, not 2027.

We challenge you, your officers and your project teams to accelerate the delivery of currently-funded schemes to 2025 at the latest.

We have three initial proposals for how timescales can be reduced:

  1. Empower the Council’s transport project teams to be robust with consultancy partners when designing and implementing schemes, especially when defining timescales.
  2. Produce consultation reports faster. They can take six months to produce. This can and must be shorter. Consultations are an important part of scheme development, however, they can be made more efficient.

    The London Cycling Campaign published a report that provides alternatives to current long-loop, summative consultations, which could further reduce timescales.
  3. Review internal council processes to improve efficiency. We were encouraged to hear at the Birmingham Transport Plan Delivery Plan launch that business cases will be combined into one Cabinet submission.

The Department for Transport’s ‘Once in a Programme’ rebaselining provides an opportunity to bring forward delivery timelines on City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) schemes and their associated spending profiles. This is outlined in section 10 of a report at today’s WMCA Board and needs to be completed ahead of September’s WMCA Board meeting.

Finally, we are writing separately to the Chair of the Sustainability and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee to request the inclusion of active travel schemes within the Committee’s work programme. This will increase transparency and provide more comprehensive updates on the progress of schemes and, ultimately, the Birmingham Transport Plan.

We continue to advocate for the Birmingham Transport Plan and have been impressed by future visions, schemes and strategies. However, this must rapidly translate to delivery.

We need our funded schemes delivered by 2025, not 2027.

Kind regards

Martin Price and Mat MacDonald, Co-chairs, Better Streets for Birmingham

David Cox, Chair, Pushbikes – The Birmingham Cycle Campaign

Denis Murphy, Birmingham Group Living Streets

Shivaji Shiva, Cycling Works Birmingham

Birgit Kehrer, ChangeKitchen CIC

Naomi Fisher, ROAM

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Birmingham

Michael Bryant, Moseley Missiles Cycling Club

Fabio Henriques, Biclas B12

Rob Anderson, More Than A Cyclist

Tim Wall, Cycling UK Local Representative for Sutton Coldfield and Erdington

Libby Harris, Birmingham Friends of the Earth

David Isgrove, Chair and Radley Russell, Vice Chair, Moseley Forum

Steve Halliday, Chair, Better Streets for Moseley

Huw Davies, Chair, Better Streets for North Moseley

Kevin Carmody, Chair, Better Streets for Harborne and Quinton

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Better Streets for Birmingham

Better Streets for Birmingham is a community group which campaigns for changes to our travel and planning infrastructure to improve the sustainability, efficiency and safety of our streets. We believe that through connecting Birmingham to reduce car dependency, we will make it a more pleasant place to work, live and play.