A vision for cycling


Making streets safe and pleasant for cycling and walking is central to our vision for Southwark. This single achievement would address health problems like obesity and air pollution, help with the cost of living when fares and petrol costs are rising, boost trade in local shops, and reduce the number of people injured or killed on our streets. Above all, cycling is fun and friendly – we want more people to be able to enjoy it.

We fully support the Space4Cycling campaign, and Green Party politicians and members have been active in promoting its principles. We would aim for 10% of trips to be made by bike by 2018 and 25% by 2025, with an emphasis on areas with good cycling potential and poor public transport like north Peckham.

We would achieve our aims in Southwark with the following policies:

1. Make active travel and air pollution reduction the borough’s public health priorities.

2. Introduce 20mph speed limits on all streets in Southwark (lobbying TfL where necessary). Engage with the police and communities on enforcement. Develop a public education programme for drivers through council media such as websites, Southwark Life and community meetings.

3. Provide safe, dedicated space for cyclists on main roads, including converting advisory cycle lanes into semi-segregated lanes. Put pressure on TfL to adopt adequate standards for Cycle Superhighways and fix problems on existing routes.

4. Work with TfL and Southwark Cyclists to re-engineer dangerous junctions, reallocating road space from cars and car parking to ensure a safe design that can cope with much higher volumes of cyclists.

5. Apply the ‘filtered permeability’ principle to all transport projects, transforming the borough over the next four years to reduce rat running and provide low-traffic routes for less confident cyclists.

6. Encourage schools to take up the cycle training to which pupils are entitled by publicising the scheme to teachers and governors. Involve parents and help them find good routes to school, shops and friends.

7. Expand on-street cycle parking, taking space from car parking where necessary, to ensure people in flats have somewhere secure and covered to park their bike. Increase the budget for secure cycle parking on housing estates. Simplify the planning process for householders and landlords willing to install front garden cycle lockers and introduce a bulk-buy scheme (similar to that for compost bins and water butts).

8. Create an integrated network across the borough that includes the Quietways, Central London Grid and Cycle Superhighways and roads on the existing London Cycle Network so that cyclists are not limited to specific routes. Set targets for making roads progressively safer so that they can be used by all ages and abilities. Integrate these into the Transport Plan and local planning policy, reinstating policies removed by the current administration.

9. Work with TfL and Network Rail to provide secure parking stands in adequate numbers at stations and bus hubs to allow people to mix and match walking, cycling and public transport.

10. Provide in-kind support to cycling community projects such as those that combine health, cycle training and social rides (e.g. by printing leaflets and providing storage space).

Latest articles about our cycling campaigning

Read on for news about Southwark Green Party's campaigning to make Southwark better for cycling.


We asked Southwark Greens what they've been up to to keep the streets tidy...

What do you do when you see a bike rusting away on the street or on a council estate?
Eleanor: It's sad to see an unloved bike! I do a quick check that it really is abandoned. Rusty chains and missing wheels are a good clue. Then I report abandoned bikes on the Southwark Council website. The council cleaning team puts a note on the bike, giving a week or two for it to be claimed by its owner.


What happens next?
Eleanor: After a further month in storage to allow owners to get in touch, unclaimed bikes are passed on to local charities like the brilliant Bike Project on Champion Hill. They refurbish old bikes and donate them to refugees. Someone gets a bike of their own and the freedom to get around locally. A bike parking space is freed up for other people who need to use it. And we all get rid of a trip hazard and eyesore. It’s win-win-win!


This bike has not been used for a long time!






Southwark Council has received funds from Transport for London to create Quietway 7 from Elephant and Castle to Dulwich. The Quietways are designed to be safe and pleasant for people aged 8-80, of all abilities, for trips to school, work and shops. No lycra required! The changes will also improve the streets for people on foot, including new crossings along the route, and wider pavements outside Brunswick Park on Benhill Road.

But contractors working for Notting Hill Housing on Edmund Street put in two new humps along the Quietway route – and made them the wrong shape!


Southwark Council is consulting on the status of Camberwell Grove. The road goes over the railway via a bridge, just south of the junction with McNeil Road. This bridge has been closed to all motor traffic since October 2016, due to structural failure.

The council website says: 'Repairs to the bridge will soon be completed by Network Rail, which will allow it to be reopened for small motor vehicles (under 3 tonne) with traffic lights allowing alternate one-way flows to cater for both north and south-bound traffic'. The council wants to hear your views before taking a final decision on reopening the bridge. The consultation page is here (closing Monday 30 October).

We encourage Southwark residents to respond. Read on for our comments.

Camberwell_Green_stock_image.jpgOverview: Some of the elements are genuinely useful. We support the new pedestrian crossing between Camberwell Passage and the Green, and the repositioning of the St Giles bus stop, to improve sight-lines.

But the plans offer far too little to improve safety. We cannot see that it is worthwhile doing this 'interim' work at great cost when it offers so little. We urge TfL to withdraw the plans and replace them with plans that consider Camberwell as a town centre with shops and community services, and consider how people actually need to move around it on foot or on bike. This is an essential step in tackling the current dangers of the junction as well as the wider public health emergency of air pollution.

Caroline_R_Eleanor_pointing.jpgTransport for London has published plans for changes to the junction at Camberwell Green. Full details and drawings can be found here.

Some of the proposals are genuinely useful. Much needed changes include: a new pedestrian crossing between Camberwell Passage and the Green, and the repositioning of the St Giles bus stop, setting it a few metres back from Vicarage Grove, to improve sight-lines.

But the plans offer far too little to improve safety.


Southwark Green Party put together a simple document on some of the steps Southwark Council could take to make cycling easier, safer and more attractive for everyone, age 8-80. Download it here. (Image credit: Adam Hypki)

  1. two_coals.jpgWalk or cycle instead of driving – pollution levels can be higher inside a car than on the street because the ventilation intake is close to the exhaust of the cars in front and fumes build up inside a closed car.  And it helps cut emissions too.
  2. Choose a low pollution route. Back routes can have 50% less particulate pollution. Use sites like Breathe London to plan a route
  3. If your workplace or school is near a main road, ask the building supervisors how air pollution is minimised. If there’s air conditioning, are the filters effective ones?
  4. When shopping, close the door – it keeps the heat in and pollution out.
  5. At home, make sure gas boilers and heaters are serviced regularly. If you have fires in an open fireplace, check that you are buying ‘smokeless’ coal, not ‘traditional’ or ‘house’ coal. It’s illegal to burn house coal in London – and it’s bad for the health of people inside the room as well as outside. Check that any woodburners are approved for Smoke Control Areas. It’s also illegal to burn logs on open fires.

Picture: It's illegal to burn 'traditional' House Coal - 'smoke-free' briquettes are a happier choice

cycling_sign.jpgThe strategy acknowledges the severe impact of air pollution on the health of Southwark residents, noting in the introduction that ‘poor air quality disproportionately affects the young, old, ill and poor’ (page 5). But this recognition of the serious public health challenge is not matched by actions.

The plan is not strong or bold enough, and it does not provide enough detail of those actions the council does propose to take. We are dismayed that so many items lack clear targets, timescales, objectives and means of measuring success. This is particularly noticeable in comparison with Southwark’s previous plan which included timescales and indicators for each planned measure (Air Quality Improvement Strategy 2012-2017 and Action Plan 2012-2017 (AQIS 2012)).

Our first thoughts on the plan are below and the full text of our submitted response is here. Below is some text you can borrow and adapt, along with some examples of actions for the council to take.

Traffic on Dog Kennel Hill SE22.jpgAir pollution is a recognised public health emergency. Southwark Council needs to take action. Or rather, actions. There’s no one solution, but the actions taken need to be both immediate and substantial.

Southwark is consulting on its updated air quality plan. Responses need to be in by 31 January. Southwark Green Party will submit a detailed response and publish it here.  But in short – we think the plan talks a lot about meetings and monitoring and not enough about ideas and action!

We encourage you to respond individually. It’s a very simple form - the one question is quite open: ‘What do you have to say about the Air Quality Strategy and Action Plan?’ So why not use this space to explain to the council how air pollution affects you and why you want the council to do more? Please copy your response to us too at contact@southwark.greenparty.org.uk

Read on for some suggestions about what councils can do…

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