Monday 25th June 2018, 7.30pm – 9.00pm
Lopping Hall – The Willingale Room, 189 High Road, Loughton, IG10 4LF.
- Committee – Dave Plummer, George Lund, Chris Lord
- 9 members of the public, including Chris Hunn (EOS buses) and Loughton Town Councillor Philip Abraham , who gave apologies on behalf of other Councillors unable to attend because of an urgent council meeting
- Stephen Chambers of the Campaign for Better Transport (guest speaker)
George Lund introduced the meeting:
- EFTAG had come a long way, and had made impacts on local bus services and cycling, but because progress was painfully slow the group has decided to become properly constituted for two main reasons:
- To involve more local people as helpers, activists and campaigners
- To enable access to grants and generally gain greater recognition
Bus campaign report
Dave Plummer outlined:
- the problems with evening services to and from Waltham Abbey, Harlow and Epping. He welcomed Chris Hunn to the meeting – Chris runs EOS buses and has been a great help.
- the new service to St. John’s School in Epping: a good example of how campaigning can work. Passenger-demand and good communication with the operator helped achieve this.
Cycle campaign report, including ECC grants
George Lund reported on our cycle campaigns:
- 10% of journeys in Epping Forest were <2km, and yet the area was near the bottom in Essex in terms of cycle usage. The main reason for this was that people need to feel safe. There need to be measures to slow traffic down and keep bikes separated – we already accept this for pedestrians.
- The County are committed to increasing cycling – George had attended a very promising conference with Ringway Jacobs (the contractors who manage Essex Highways), and Nick Hill (Sustainable Travel Planning Advisor, Transportation, Planning and Development) is very keen to get into schools and help local groups like ours.
- The problems are lack of funding and some lack of awareness from councillors. It’s vital to engage councillors, especially the Local Highways Panel, and get them on board to achieve change.
- We have made detailed comments on Essex County Council’s draft local cycling plan, but more of this kind of scrutiny of highway plans is needed – the new retail park in Debden went through with no consideration of cycling.
Chris Lord then explained:
- How much more we could achieve for local cycling if we had a more stable structure and more hands on deck.
- That there were plenty of sources of grants and funding (e.g. Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council, Cycle UK), but these were available only to recognised, formally constituted, bodies.
Dave Plummer outlined that we have so far been using a Paypal account, but will now move to a bank account. Income has been about £150 over three years, mainly from a few supporters’ monthly standing orders. Expenditure has been mainly printing of leaflets and flyers, Facebook advertising and web-hosting.
Adoption of constitution
The constitution was displayed, and, after adding ‘including pavements’ after ‘highways’, adopted. This would enable us to receive more donations, apply for grants, and generally be listened to more.
Election of roles to the committee
- Soribe Ezugha
- Chris Hunn
- Linda Johnson-Laird (Treasurer)
- Chris Lord (Secretary)
- George Lund
- Dave Plummer (Chair)
- Steve Walker (Membership secretary)
Agree membership rates
- £5 minimum (£3 concessions)
Steve Chambers from Campaign for Better Transport
followed by discussion about local issues
Steve Chambers introduced the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT):
- CBT goes back to 1973
- Local campaigning is vital, and it’s good to see that EFTAG is not single-issue
- CBT have found a gradual cutting of council spend, now reflected in service cuts
- In their experience, campaigners DO save routes
- ‘Buses in crisis’ report out Monday
- There’s no national strategy for buses – the only form of transport without one
- CBT have produced a report on helping councils use their powers to make things better, under the Bus Services Act 2017, which is:
- an attempt to correct the poor 1986 deregulation legislation
- an act which enables councils to bring in London-style franchising
- ‘Network expansion is on the table’: prepare for when the money’s there!
- The ‘Easier fares’ consultation – important to get involved
- Contactless on all buses would make things much easier. Chris Hunn said the equipment was too expensive, so there followed some discussion of whether iZettel (or similar) would be affordable, perhaps in a pilot? The other problem was getting drivers to operate such equipment reliably, on the low wages currently being paid.
- Cornwall Council have just paid for contactless readers across the county: Steve kindly said he’d inform us more about this scheme.
Cycling: could there be a cycle track up the A121 from Buckhurst Hill to Loughton?
- George said that we had put this in our response to the local cycling plan.
Philip Abraham invited EFTAG to come and make proposals to the whole town council.
How can you get more involved?
- Researching and responding to council initiatives – eg. planning applications, highways panel projects
- Social events – bike rides, BBQ’s