I am coming to the conclusion that Essex is the least ‘green’ place I have ever lived. Take recycling for instance. As I look out of my window on bin day I can see more houses which have put no recycling out than those that have. In fact I can see 11 wheely bins (normal rubbish) and 2 black boxes (Glass, cans and newspapers). Admittedly if you wander down the road to the bungalows occupied largely by pensioners the situation is better, but the commuting classes care not a jot. The evidence on the ground is borne out by the statistics, where Rochford Borough Council comes No 366 out of 393 authorities in England. That’s worse than the situation in Bristol which Paul wrote about yesterday.
Then there’s cycling. I generally feel too unsafe to cycle locally as the design of the roads from a cyclists perspective are so apalling. (And I am not, I should add, a novice cyclist. I used to race bicycles for the UK’s top sporting university and have the yellow and purple lycra to prove it.) Take Maddie_C’s town, town X. They built it with cycle paths around most of the new housing estates 15 or 20 years ago. A good thing you might think. Not really, because now 20 years later:
- The surfaces on most of the cycle routes are now appalling and unmaintained
- Because there are cycle paths most of the speed limits are 40 or 50 mph on the roads that actually go anywhere (as opposed to the ones within the housing estates), and cars typically go 10mph above the speed limit
- Most drivers have never seen a cyclist and drive accordingly
I went for a cycle ride earlier in the week and had to turn around after a mile and come home again because I reached a large dual cariageway road at which point the cycle paths all stop and there is no way to cross unless you ride on the road which at rush hour would mean probable death.
I’ve no time to say more as I have to complete a huge amount of work today, but it seems almost as if the only thing to do if you are a green-minded person living in Essex is to move somewhere else.