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Discussion Forum - Environment Matters - Transport to events

Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Fri 5th Oct 2012, 14:50
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Yes - car sharing is useful, but for most of us outside of London and the South-East, public transport is nigh on useless. I lived in North Yorks for my latter career and had to commute to Sheffield - some 200ml round trip - now what would public transport have done for me! Probably restricted me to a 2-hr working day! Pious politicians living in London don't need to have cars, needn't even get public transport some of them with their ministerial cars, and the Tube will get them around. This little island won't effect Global warming or greenhouse gas to any great extent in the future compared with the explosion of the middle-classes and their anticipated lifestyle in China, India, Russia etc. Just mindless posturing by our Greens and I don't see why a non-political organisation like LDWA should even get involved.
Author: John Phillips
Posted: Mon 1st Oct 2012, 20:02
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Michael, I appreciate your sentiments regarding the environment and living in the London area does give you the opportunity of being able to use public transport to get to events. In our region, outside the major connurbations , there is very little in the way of public transport and even the major connurbations struggle to get anyone around before 11am at a weekend. I acknowledge we should try and where possible we do start group walks from railway stations. The reality is that very few people want to start walks in a city centre like Manchester or Liverpool and the LDWA aim is to further long distance walking in predominantly RURAL areas. The only solution left for most of us is to use the car to get to walks. Car sharing is used frequently. Any crusade to use public transport only works where public transport exists.
Posted: Sun 30th Sep 2012, 17:15
John, thanks for the suggestion, but I'm trying not to think solely of myself here, more in general terms - do event organisers do enough to encourage walkers to use public transport or car share, and if not, should they be? I know I'm not the only person to travel to and from events by train, but I am in a minority - there were half a dozen or so walkers waiting at Deal station the morning after the White Cliffs Challenge, which is a pretty small proportion of the total number participating in the event. I've no idea how many of the remainder were car sharing, but if a significant number were the sole occupants of their cars, then clearly the event had a greater environmental impact than necessary. What could/should the LDWA as an organisation be doing about this? It seems incongruous that an event with 501 people is excluded from being listed in Strider because of the impact of 501 pairs of feet on the land, but one with 500 may be included regardless of the potential 500 car exhausts clogging up the atmosphere. This will become particularly relevant in the case of next year's Hundred - many members wouldn't bother entering a 20 or 30 mile walk outside their own area, but most people who'd want to enter a 100 at all would do so regardless of where it was being held. With the 2013 event being in one of the furthest-flung parts of the country, members living in the north of England will be travelling 400+ miles each way, and I'd say that the LDWA has some sort of responsibility to ensure that as few people as possible make such journeys as the sole occupant of a car. Teignmouth has a station; Wadebridge doesn't, but is served by buses, so those of us seeking to use public transport to and from the event will be able to do so.

Re car sharing - one possible way to facilitate it would be to have a box on entry forms to tick either "I can offer X people lifts" or "I would like a lift" and pair up people coming from the same area, but this has the obvious drawback of imposing yet another burden on event organisers who have enough on their plates already. It would probably be better to find some way of doing it which doesn't involve the organisers - either doing it through local groups or having a dedicated forum for lift offers/requests on here would be possible, along with a note in the event information encouraging participants to use it.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Sun 30th Sep 2012, 14:04
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Michael - suggest you post on Forum when you fancy a particular walk, and tell folks you will share fuel expenses. Also you could speak to your Group Secretary for news of any locals attending the relevant walk. Of course if you can give plenty of notice that would help.
Author: Armorel Young
Posted: Thu 20th Sep 2012, 22:10
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Sherwood
Another angle on this would be to find a way of positively encouraging car-sharing - both to reduce the number of cars driving to events and to assist those people who don't have cars.
Author: Forum Moderator
Posted: Wed 19th Sep 2012, 8:57
Moved to the Environment topic...
Posted: Wed 19th Sep 2012, 1:11
I've just been reading the "Whither the LDWA?" section in the special edition of Strider, and noticed the point "Should we be concerned about the environmental effect of many members driving hundreds of miles to take part in 20 or 30 mile events?". Thought I'd offer a few thoughts on this question:

I don't have a car, and thus after the obvious questions of if I'm free that weekend, how interesting the description of the walk sounds and whether I think I'm capable of it, my next question when deciding whether to enter a walk is: can I get to it? To take a couple of examples, the Games 100 and Birmingham Canal Canter were among the easiest: the starting points for both were only a few hundred yards from the nearest station. Most others have also been easily accessible. Some have been trickier - no public transport goes to Burley at weekends, so for the New Forest Marathon I had to walk from Sway station (with a section of the A35 involved, not a pleasant experience); ditto Much Wenlock - to get to the start of the WOW I had to take a taxi from the nearest youth hostel. On both events I relied on the generosity of the organisers in giving me a lift to the nearest station afterwards to be able to get home. In some cases it hasn't been the existence of public transport links, but the timing of them, which has been the problem: the start time for the Oxon 40 was 7.00 but the first train of the day reached Henley at 7.09, so I ended up starting twenty minutes late on an event where I knew I was already going to be pushed to finish within the allocated time. Once or twice I've been prevented from entering an event I might have liked to by being unable to get there at all.

So if we wish to reduce the environmental impact of LDWA events, should we be endeavouring to ensure that it is possible for walkers to participate in events if they either don't possess a car, or wish to avoid using one? Should the guidelines for events include a recommendation that the start venue and time be selected to enable participants to reach it by public transport?

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