Carbon cost of contra-flow

DAVID Allcott has asked some pertinent and challenging questions about the cost of the bus lane contra-flow on the Huntingdon Ring Road (Letters, April 2). I can provide some of the answers, as I have been asking the same questions myself in the county co

DAVID Allcott has asked some pertinent and challenging questions about the cost of the bus lane contra-flow on the Huntingdon Ring Road (Letters, April 2). I can provide some of the answers, as I have been asking the same questions myself in the county council.

The 180-metre length of contraflow cost £1.54 million, much more than expected because of complications in the underground services at the George Street junction.

According to the timetables, 42 buses per day use the contraflow with an average passenger load of 6.8.

The purpose of the contraflow is to attract people onto buses and out of cars by shortening the journey round the ring road. The reason for getting people out of cars is to reduce CO2 emissions and save the planet.

The work on the contraflow took nearly nine months, during which time about 2,000 cars per hour stood in traffic jams emitting 125 grammes of CO2 for every minute they stood there.

By taking the shorter route the diesel-powered buses will emit less CO2, about 300 grammes less for each trip.

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I have calculated that it, on present usage, will take 179 years before the extra CO2 emitted by the cars in the jams will be compensated by the savings from the shorter bus journeys. And that is without including the CO2 cost of the road engineering itself.

The irony of all this is that many bus passengers preferred it when the bus went round the ring road because it took them to the doctor's surgery and Sainsbury's which is where they actually wanted to go!

Mr Allcott is quite right to raise the issue of the cost benefit of the proposed bus lane along Hartford Road. The destruction of hedges and trees and the take-up of green space from Riverside Park are an expensive environmental price to pay for a development that might well not achieve the hoped-for carbon emission reductions.

PETER DOWNES

County Councillor for Brampton and Kimbolton

Brampton

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