International Women’s Day – Dr Mena Fombo

Today’s guest blog comes from Dr Mena Fombo, Bristol International Ambassador and founder of the Black Girl Convention.

As an activist and an intersectional feminist, my gender equality campaigning is all day everyday, on both a local and an international scale. To be explicit, what I mean by that is that I actively work towards ensuring that we live in a world where ALL of us women* and girls have our basic human rights upheld as the minimum standard – and from there we can elevate. For me, International Women’s day is everyday.

That said – I’d like to take the opportunity on this internationally recognised day to reflect, and show love to the women in my life who have inspired me, elevated me, encouraged me, supported me and most importantly loved me.

These women are our mothers, our sisters, our friends and partners. They are our role models, our colleagues, our teachers and leaders.

A recent post went round on social media a few weeks ago, asking people to tag the names of 10 Inspiring women, I didn’t have a chance to do it as work and volunteering for my city often takes priority, but I’m making time now. So, in honour of these women, I say their names out loud, I list them below and I salute them for their contributions either to my life and to society.

  • Florence Fombo
  • Jean Kington
  • Sarah Hurley
  • Gayle Myring
  • Anira Khokhar
  • Aisha Thomas
  • Dot Baker
  • Dr Zainab Khan
  • KiKi team: Linda Devo and Sharifa Whitney James
  • Black Girl Convention 2019 Team: Emilie Harryman, Joyann Boyce Bobbi Ogilvie, Ngaio Anyia, Muneera Pilgrim, Josie Gyasi Janelle John Henry

Okay, I cheated a bit with the group names, but hey!  

As International Women’s day comes around for 2020, I ask you to continue sharing the names of the women around you who challenge and enable you to be better. Or better still, if you’re able to, why not pick up the phone them give them ring?

Happy International Women’s Day #sayitmeanit

Dr Mena Fombo


*anyone who identifies as a woman 

Thanks @Knowlewestmedia and @createwitheight for the video, produced by Stephanie Burnham and made by first time Filmmaker and Junior Digital Producer Mevis Birungi.

Download the full programme for IWD celebrations at City Hall tomorrow Saturday 7 March by clicking the button below.

Attested Development

This morning we had almost 100 developers and builders in City Hall to discuss our vision for the Bristol of the future and the homes we need to build. We could celebrate the sites that we’ve released, but we know we still have more to do.

Bonnington Walk, which we considered at cabinet this afternoon, is held up as a great example of the work we are doing to accelerate delivery.  This site has been allocated for housing for over 23 years and we have now finally brought it forward for 180 new modular homes and a community. It will be the largest amount of council houses built on one site for over 40 years.

This is one of the 43 sites we have made available for new housing since 2016.

From a standing start we have tripled affordable housing delivery. Our house building programme will see 9,175 new homes completed, including 1,619 affordable, over four years to 2021.

Housing has been the cornerstone of my administration and we’ve had fantastic success.  Building homes is the single biggest policy intervention we can make in a person’s life and now we are delivery focused, we will accelerate our home building.

A little before Christmas I was proud to help welcome residents to our new houses at Broomhill in Brislington. As me and Paul Smith put the shiny new keys into the hands of these people, it was a significant moment. Every single indicator in those families lives will have improved – their mental health and life expectancy, their employability, even the academic performance of their children.

This is why building homes and communities is at the heart of what we’re delivering for Bristol and I will continue to drive us and partners such as Homes England to build the homes we need.

Another example is the first development of our council owned housing company, Goram Homes. They are progressing on the Baltic Wharf site on Spike Island for around 165 new homes, around 66 of which will be affordable.

In the south of the city at Hengrove Park– the planning inspector recently approved our plans for the long stalled site. This will include 1,450 homes, which a minimum of 30% will be affordable, as well as improved parks and green spaces.

Four schemes have taken advantage of the Affordable Housing Practice Note since it was agreed by Cabinet in March 2018 delivering 20% affordable housing in the Centre, more are coming through the planning system.

Across the city there are cranes on the horizon and a growing reputation that Bristol is a place to invest and the council a worthy partner in delivering. This means we can continue to drive the number of affordable homes as part of mixed, balanced communities.

Despite all this, we know we cannot fix the broken housing market in this country.

We recently saw the annual rough sleeper count rise, the numbers of van dwellers and their impact on local communities increase and people attempting to get on the housing ladder frustrated.

As Bristol grows and attracts more people we will continue to see these social problems. For this reason, failure to deliver homes people need is not an option. We have to give everyone the home they need to flourish. We are committed to working with those that want to build the Bristol of the future and we will deliver.

Budget 2020/21: Craig’s List

Today’s blog comes from Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Finance, Governance and Performance, and is taken from his speech to present this year’s budget to Full Council on 25th February.

Yesterday, I was proud to take my fourth budget to Full Council. Yet again, we are able to present a balanced but ambitious financial plan for Bristol, setting out our priorities for the coming year and driving us towards a more inclusive and sustainable city.

It establishes a solid and resilient financial base to meet the future challenges that will result from the uncertain financial, social, economic and environmental climate facing us.

Although we continue to face significant financial uncertainty as we await reforms to the system of business rates retention, the fair funding review and the Spending Review, we have a solid financial platform supported by strong city relationships.

In the face of these challenges, and in contrast to so many other councils, we are presenting effectively a no cuts budget again.

After three and a half years we continue to prioritise and protect all life and limb services, keeping all of our children centres and libraries open and maintaining the council tax reduction scheme for the most vulnerable citizens in the city.

A significant proportion of this investment is focused on large infrastructure that will support long term regeneration across the city, such as our programme of new housing building and the development the Temple Quarter site.

This is balanced against investment which will support improvements in our increasingly stretched core Council offer, including our Social Care and Education services.

Our capital investment programme begins to address our ambition of making Bristol a more equal, aspirational and resilient city. Below are just some of the areas we will be investing in:

  • £35million will go towards providing quality school places for a growing population;
  • More than £42million is to be invested in additional special educational needs provision;
  • More than £15.5 million has been made available to support adults with disabilities to live more independently and remain in their own homes wherever possible;
  • Over £1 million has been allocated to investment in sports schemes, improving the health and wellbeing of our citizens;
  • Almost £4.5million will be invested in parks and green spaces across the city, improving access no matter where you live;
  • More than £40million has been allocated to developing the area around Temple Meads;
  • More than half a million will be available for investment in our city’s libraries;
  • More than £6.5million has been set aside to build a third household waste recycling and reuse centre at Hartcliffe Way, transforming our city’s relationship with waste;
  • More than £35million will be available for the redevelopment of Colston Hall, improving our city’s cultural offer;
  • More than £72million is allocated for our housing delivery programme, with an additional £56million set aside to implement a new housing delivery vehicle and a further £60million for projects related to the Council’s Housing Infrastructure fund;
  • Almost £8.5million will go towards improving the sustainability of our transport system, recognising the climate emergency that faces us;
  • More than £23million will be invested in expanding Bristol’s Heat Networks, ensuring more people can heat their homes affordably with minimal carbon cost.

I would like to thank the finance team, the council’s corporate leadership board, the Mayor, cabinet and all staff and councillors for their work on this budget. I’d also like to extend a special thank you to the scrutiny task and finish group. For me this group is the exemplar for how task and finish groups can be hugely effective in pre-decision scrutiny.  We welcome more of this type of contribution.

It’s an ambitious budget that prioritises frontline services, recognising our responsibility in building a better future for everyone in the city, regardless of their background. I’m proud that it so clearly reflects our vision of creating a true city of hope where everyone can share in its success.

Labour Leadership: Getting Stuff Done

Yesterday and today, I have been at Labour’s local government conference in Nottingham – discussing the future of local government and how we can work together for the best interests of our citizens in Boris Johnson’s post Brexit world.

I took some time out to look at Nottingham’s famed tram network and a bus service which runs every seven minutes. One service even stops in Nottingham’s very own “Clifton”. Compare this to the decades of absent vision and failed delivery for transport in Bristol that have left our city woefully underserved. And we are dealing with consequences of that failure with disconnected communities, economic exclusion, and car dependency.

Nottingham is a case-in-point of the ambition which I and my colleagues here have for our communities. Nottingham is proof what can happen when a council aligns vision with a commitment and ability to deliver.

Bristol is now a city with that ambition and is getting stuff done. The cranes across the city scape, new homes, the opening of Channel 4 Bristol, a city able to end period poverty and  organise with no national government funding to supply and distribute 55,000 meals to tackle holiday hunger, and a Bristol at the heart of the Western Gateway, the UK’s latest regional powerhouse.

We have taken this vision and delivery into transport through our work on the Bristol Bus Deal and our plans for a long overdue mass transit system. The Bus Deal is already seeing investment to double the frequency of bus services and make them more reliable. This chapter change comes alongside the arrival of the UK’s biggest order of bio-gas eco buses here in Bristol, cleaning up our air at the same time as cutting congestion.

It’s often said that the best time to plant a tree was forty years ago, and that the second best time is today. Transport networks, like trees, don’t appear overnight.  Transport networks need time, planning, and finance.

Nottingham’s tram network, for example, was first talked about in the 1980s. Thanks to investment from the Labour Government, the first phase was then completed between 1998-2004; the second in 2015. Like Nottingham, Bristol should have understood the challenge, set the vision and put the foundations in a place decades ago. But it didn’t. And so we have been doing so for four years. We have to start from where we are, rather than where we wish we were.

In a video which I posted from the conference, I said that we have to get past the nay-sayers: the people who call progress a pipe-dream, who deride serious plans as pie-in-the-sky. Instead of being guided by what Bristolians need, they let the city’s historic non-delivery and their own lack of ambition and confidence limit our future. Newcastle, Liverpool, and Glasgow have all proved that’s it’s possible to deliver an underground outside of the capital. These are all cities with similar metro-region populations to Bristol. Now, with Bristol uniting around delivering mass transit, after the youth mayors and youth council chose to make it a city priority for 2020, there is real hope for the future for us too.

On Track – Putting Temple Meads Station at the heart of Bristol’s future

Today’s guest blog comes from Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair of Network Rail.

SPH Routemaster bio headshotIt’s a crucial time for Temple Meads station. Investment in a new rail fleet is creating extra train capacity and faster connections between Bristol, London and elsewhere, and passenger numbers passing through Brunel’s masterpiece are expected to reach 22 million a year by 2030.

We’ve wanted to improve Temple Meads station for passengers and people passing through the area for a long time.

We haven’t had the resources to do this on our own, so we’ve grasped a once-in–a-lifetime opportunity to work with Bristol City Council, WECA, Homes England and the University of Bristol to put Temple Meads at the heart of a new urban quarter helping to unlock new homes, jobs, opportunities and connectivity.

Improvements to the station will make it a 21st century transport hub by doubling its passenger capacity and linking to public transport improvements that will reduce congestion, reduce carbon use and make it easier to travel to and around the city.

As part of the Temple Quarter masterplan work we plan to:

  • •Make it easier for passengers to move around in the station itself, create new platforms and improve existing ones.
  • •Transform the northern gateway (by the Friary) creating a new concourse with improved retail, ticket office and passenger facilities.  The gateway will open up to a new transport hub on the Friary with easy connections for pedestrians, cyclists and the local and citywide bus network.
  • •Create a new eastern entrance from the station subway opening onto the University of Bristol’s Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus and the east of the city.

We’re excited and proud to see Temple Meads at the centre of this harmonious, co-ordinated plan to create a thriving new quarter in the centre of the city that will help boost the city economy and open up opportunities for people and businesses.

Succeeding in this needs a shared ambition so we really value the support and collaboration from our fellow partners both to create something unique for Bristol, its citizens and economy, and, as we should, putting passengers first on our railway.

Temple Meads pic

Bristol City Council is presenting an overview of the work in Temple Quarter, and an update on how future proposals for the area are progressing, to the Growth and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee next week. You can view the presentation here and here.

We Are Bristol

As Westminster readies itself to be lit up in red, white and blue, and Brexit Party MEPs frantically wave their Union Jacks, I am looking to Bristol and our citizens.

What does leaving the EU mean for our city? And most importantly, what does it mean for our people?

From tomorrow we won’t notice an immediate difference; travel will at first remain the same, trade will continue without additional checks, and freedom of movement will still be allowed. But tomorrow is the first day of a long journey that we have numerous hurdles to overcome.

This is not a time for gloating. There are no winners or losers. It now doesn’t matter how you voted. What is important is that as a city, and as a country, we pull together. Brexit hasn’t caused divisions, they were there already and have been years in the making. But Brexit has given opportunity for divisions to deepen and given voice to those who use the guise of democracy to propagate hate speech.

Please know this: If you are an EU citizen that has chosen Bristol as your home, then we are honoured. You are welcome, you are valued, and you are as much of a Bristolian as those who were born here.

If you are not a UK citizen and you haven’t already, then please make sure your future rights are protected by applying for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). We offer support with this at the Customer Services Point on Temple Street.

Look to your neighbours, friends and family. If you know someone who is an EU citizen and may be feeling vulnerable or might need help applying for the EUSS then please step up and help them.

We can all play our part. Bristol can lead the way by showing the UK how kindness can bring the country back together.

CAZ Update

Poor air quality in the UK has an effect equivalent to 40,000 deaths a year, and is the largest environmental risk to public health in our country. Research by Centre for Cities estimated that air pollution causes over six million sick days a year, it is a contributing factor to heart disease and impairs lung development in children. In Bristol round 300 deaths each year  can be attributed to exposure to nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

Earlier in the week I spoke at the launch of Centre for Cities 2020 Cities Outlook, their annual health check on the state of the UK’s largest cities and towns. The 2020 edition had a special focus on air quality in cities. The invite specifically highlighted that “Bristol is leading the way when it comes to cities taking the tough decisions needed to tackle air pollution.”

I understand that many people across the city are keen to get an update on how we are progressing with the clean air plans. Let me reassure them that we are making good progress on refining the plans and hope to be able to flesh out more of the details in the next couple of months.

We know that the menu of options made available to us by government don’t give us much flexibility, but our plans for a charging zone for non-compliant commercial vehicles and a small area ban for privately owned diesel cars 7am-3pm meant that we could meet the Government directive of achieving compliance quickest but also having the least impact on low-income households.

This is a very complex project and we are working with Government because it’s vital that we get it right. This will take time, but ultimately the priority for us is to meet the legal direction of delivering air quality compliance over the shortest period of time.

Following the submission of the Outline Business Case (OBC) in November last year, the team has been working hard on further developing the plans to go into the Full Business Case (FBC). They have been in regular discussion with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), but we are still waiting for their formal direction on the next stage of our plans. We will hopefully get this in the next few weeks.

An important part of the refinement has been discussions with key stakeholders across the city about how best to minimise the impact of the plans. These discussions have led to us making some adjustments to the diesel ban area. This includes:

  • Adjusting to allow for diesel cars to travel from A370 to A4

The planned boundary of the Diesel Ban area cut off a route for people who wanted to skirt round the zone from the south to the north, and vice versa. We have therefore altered the boundary giving access via Plimsoll Bridge and Portway.

  • Adjusting to allow access to Cabot Circus for diesel cars

A challenge was put to us that the planned boundary of the Diesel Ban area would restrict access to Cabot Circus and result in shoppers potentially going to Cribbs, negatively affecting Bristol’s economy. We have worked with Cabot Circus and have amended the boundary so the car park can be accessed by those who want to drive and shop.

  • Removal of the plans for a weight restriction on Marlborough Street and Upper Maudlin Street

Following extensive modelling it was agreed to remove the weight restrictions because this didn’t contribute to achieving compliance any sooner than if a weight restriction was applied.

We made clear when we first revealed the plans in the Outline Business Case that the boundaries of the two areas will be subject to change as things progress, and as this is an ongoing process, it will be some time before we can provide the final street by street information.

CAZ boundaries updated

Many people are asking about exemptions and of course, we are acutely aware of the need to help vulnerable groups across the city. A key reason for this taking time is to ensure that these plans didn’t unfairly impact on lower earners. Discussions about this form a large chunk of the ongoing work, but unfortunately it’s not a simple process, as it all needs to be worked through. Sadly it’s not as easy as just granting exemptions, as every change to the plans need to be analysed in detail to check it doesn’t impact on the overall compliance.

We are now very close to agreeing a package of exemptions and mitigation measures that we feel will help lessen the impact. This is likely to include, amongst others:

  • exemptions for disabled passenger vehicles and blue badge holders
  • exemptions for low income households
  • exemptions for patients needing to access the hospital

We are exploring replacing the proposed scrappage scheme with a grant and loan system. Other councils are doing  a lot of work in this area and we are going to consider a number of potential options.

We continue to work with the government to secure the powers for a diesel ban, but this is part of our conversation about getting the best result for Bristol.

We have a moral, environmental and legal duty to clean Bristol’s air. We have been clear from the start that we want to do this in a way that looks after Bristol’s poorest and most vulnerable people while doing so in the fastest possible time, as directed by Government. In a city with many competing issues and priorities we recognise that actions can have unintended consequences. Within our work to develop the mitigations we go a step further.

Making Inroads

Today, 15th January 2020 is the sixth National Pothole day, where campaigners raise the need for funding and resources to make sure Britain’s roads are up to scratch.

It’s appropriate for us in Bristol today as we had to warn residents that a section of Bishport Avenue in Hartcliffe was closed to resurface a section damaged by the recent poor weather.

Potholes and poor road surfaces are a frustration for motorists and cause serious damage to cars. They can also be especially dangerous for cyclists and motorbikes. We also know that the repair works themselves can be frustrating – causing delays on our network and inconvenience while our teams and contractors repair road surfaces.

It’s a huge challenge for councils across the country and Bristol is no different. In fact, here we repair over 5,000 potholes every year. Our highway network is the largest and most visible publicly owned asset in the city – it covers over 1,100km of carriageway, as well as our popular cycle routes and pedestrian footways. It is used daily by the travelling public for commuting, business, social and leisure activities.

Although it might be taken for granted until it goes wrong, our network is fundamental to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of local communities and to the prosperity of the city as a whole. This is why we will robustly monitor the conditions and always look to ensure the safety of our staff, contractors and the general public through the active promotion of a positive health and safety culture.

The ongoing upkeep of our highways never stops and we are continuing with preventative work such as surface dressing and repairing defects before they cause potholes. It is key that we get ahead and take action early. Anyone who spots a pothole can report it online here or by calling 0117 922 2100.

This month also means the start of a new way to manage road works and reduce the amount of time our network is disrupted. A new system of streetworks permits will reduce traffic congestion and enhance air quality by introducing conditions on the times during which work can take place, helping to improve people flow and reduce congestion. It will also allow us to take action against companies who take too long to complete their works. This is part of our active roadworks approach to make sure roadworks are as efficient as possible.

Last year I saw some Bristol based innovation with plastic waste tarmac roads at the new housing development Ashton Rise. Willmott Dixon were incorporating tarmac roads into Ashton Rise’s development by replacing carbon intensive bitumen found in Tarmac with non-recyclable waste plastic.

Waste plastic was collected from Ashton Rise’s construction site through the waste management company ETM and processed it into a plastic polymer to replace the need for bitumen in the asphalt mix of tarmac roads, creating a ‘circular economy’ for plastic waste. By repurposing non-recyclable plastic that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration, Ashton Rise has prevented 1.3 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere or the equivalent of 146, 262 plastic bags being produced.

Although we’ll continue to prioritise early intervention and innovation for our network, we are hopeful that the Government’s promised National Infrastructure Strategy will include a pothole filling programme to help support stretched council budgets to maintain this important infrastructure.

Temple Island – The Future

Today’s guest blog comes from Pete Gladwell, Head of Public Sector Partnerships at Legal and General.

Today is a big day for Legal & General’s work in Bristol.  I’m very excited to have reached this key point in drawing up proposals for the redevelopment of the landmark Temple Island site.  A lot has happened since we started speaking to the Council nearly five years ago about working more closely for the good of the city, and Temple Quarter in particular.  The University Innovation Campus and commitment by all parties including the Council, Network Rail, and Homes England to work together to reconfigured and refurbished Temple Meads Station has given huge impetus to the development of the rest of Temple Quarter. We have appointed a full design team, including world-renowned architects, and have agreed a draft working protocol with the Council.

If you’d like to find out more about our vision for this historic site, here’s a preview of the development principles we’ll be adopting if the Council’s Cabinet agree to dispose of the site to us. We’re looking forward to presenting these to the Council’s Scrutiny Committee this evening and engaging proactively and positively with the local community over the coming months to shape the scheme.

Legal & General is a long term investor, who will have a long term stake in seeing Temple Quarter become a thriving place that both we and the city can be proud to call our own.  We’re determined this place will be an exemplar of sustainable development, putting the climate and ecological emergency we are facing at its heart, whilst providing the affordable housing that the city desperately needs.  It will be an iconic and vibrant place to live, work and do business; incorporating conferencing, a hotel, and quality public space. Legal & General has 116,000 customers in Bristol – many of whom have entrusted their savings and pensions to us.  This is about enabling them to have a positive impact, by investing back into their city.

We are looking forward to receiving the views of the Scrutiny Committee later on today.  Equally importantly, if this is to be a really inclusive place, we’ll need the help of people and community groups locally to welcome the new residents to the area.  They will be from a whole range of demographics and backgrounds, thanks to the mix of affordability points that Temple Island will offer.  We’re looking forward to speaking to people locally to understand how we can shape something that serves their priorities and to help us bring forward a truly exciting scheme for the city.

09.01.2020-Proposal for Temple Island_LG-FINAL

The E-Bike Challenge

I recently had the pleasure of riding an electric bike, loaned to me by Volt Bikes UK, for the ‘Mayor’s e-bike challenge’. The challenge was for me and a member of my team to use e-bikes to travel to as many of my appointments around Bristol as possible.

In any given day, I might have to travel to destinations as far apart as Whitchurch and Avonmouth, so it’s easier said than done to ditch the car to get to my engagements on time. A member of my team always accompanies me to my appointments, to take actions and follow up with the people I meet, so this adds another caveat – we have to get to our destination in time, looking tidy and in one piece.

Apart from a couple of trips on my mum’s, I haven’t ridden an electric bike before. I must say, it was great.

My first long trip was from City Hall to Brislington trading estate to visit Hamilton Litestat. It was a breeze. Enough effort to feel good about moving but not so much required that you end up covered in sweat. It’s a great feeling when you peddle and the power kicks in, pushing you along at a gentle 15mph.

cycling 3You have to get on top of the battery charging. It’s a liberating feeling when its fully charged, but there was a day I had plugged it in without realising the socket had not been switched on. I put the battery back into the bike later that day, full of confidence and optimism for my ride home. The power died a couple of minutes in. That was a heavy ride, all up hill. But that was down to me. The e-bike was great.

Let me take a little space here to share that one of the best features of the bike wasn’t actually the tech. It was the fixed mudguards. I’d never had mud guards before – leaving me trying to avoid puddles on those wet days or falling prey to the brown mud line up the back and the splashed socks and trousers. I have tried those fix yourself rear mud guards but never managed to get on top of how you stop them eventually spinning out of place, sticking out to the side of the bike. In the end, I always just take them off.

cycling 2I did come across a situation that disappointed me. I was on the railway path around school home time and a father was standing on the side with his two children waiting to cross. He had an arm stretched across their chests. People just rode past. I stopped to let them cross, and someone behind me gave me a mouthful about stopping on the railway path. I advised the chap to ride a little slower and anticipate he might have to stop, especially in a shared space, especially when there are primary aged school children or other vulnerable children in that shared space.

I had some interesting feedback on social media. Some suspected that like the 1969 moon landing, my e-bike challenge had been faked. They cited evidence such as my wearing work shoes – apparently it’s too difficult to ride with work shoes. Someone pointed out it wouldn’t be possible to fit my black jacket over a suit jacket. One person attempted to lead people to conclude that my engaging in the e-bike challenge was evidence I don’t ride a bike any other time. I don’t often directly engage with online conspiracies but this one has the potential to get out of control so I want to put on the record – I did ride the e-bike and it wasn’t the only time I have cycled.

Other feedback criticised me for the clothing I was wearing, or not wearing. There were occasions I’d worn a black jacket (the same black jacket that could not fit over a suit jacket) and on a couple of occasions I hadn’t had a helmet on – to be honest this also makes my wife a little irritated although she just told me rather than taking to social media.

cycling 1This question of kit is an issue. We want more people on bikes. One of the challenges is to get to a point where people can feel welcomed to ride bikes without having to become fully fledged cyclists. It means that for most people, a bike will be a means of transport. I had a chat with someone from Sustrans about this the other day. It’s a quick statement, but it is important. And probably a discussion for another occasion.

I know that e-bikes are not for everyone. They’re significantly heavier than regular bikes, can be bulky to store inside small terraced houses or flats and charging can be tricky depending on the way the battery is stored. This has been a real challenge for my mum who is now in her 70s. They’re also expensive, meaning they can be out of reach for those on lower incomes.

Fortunately, in Bristol we have an e-bike loan scheme so you can give one a try without the commitment. Better By Bike loaned 180 bikes in the Bristol area last year, including e-bikes. They do require a £250 deposit, but there is no charge for being loaned the e-bike itself.

We will be exploring more avenues of making e-bikes more accessible because with all of our city’s hills, they will be a key part of our future transport solution.