Community-Led Campaign In Bingley Rural Encourages Visitors To Leave The Car And Go Green

Visitors and residents in the Bingley Rural area are being encouraged to ditch the car when they can, and explore and enjoy the area’s green spaces and hidden gems by walking, cycling and public transport instead. The Bingley Rural Green Travel Project, led by local councils and volunteers, is launching a new community-created map of the area, encouraging and inspiring greener travel, to cut traffic, pollution and noise, and help tackle the climate emergency.

The Bingley Rural Green Travel Map, thought to be the first of its kind, covers the area south west of Bingley, including St Ives Estate, Harden, Cullingworth, Wilsden and Denholme, and the countryside and villages in between. It shows 10 special places to enjoy, local bus routes, and some of the area’s lovely walking and cycling routes, as well as directing to more detailed information, and giving reasons to reduce car use to keep Bingley Rural green. It will be distributed for free in local venues and shops and online.

The launch of the map, just ahead of Bradford’s Clean Air Zone being rolled out, is the culmination of a year-long initiative to get people thinking and talking about green travel. This brought local communities together in response to growing concerns about rising traffic in the area, and associated pollution and road safety issues – and aimed to demonstrate the contribution that smaller rural communities can make to taking climate action.

As well as encouraging residents and visitors to consider the alternatives to driving, the project collected views from hundreds of people on how public transport, walking and cycling might be made more convenient and appealing for local people and the area’s thousands of visitors. This is being considered by the local councils and discussed with Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority as part of the wider push to clean up our air, and cut carbon from transport, now the biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Project’s ‘roadshows’, online survey and interactive mapping workshops found:

  • Two-thirds of people in the Bingley Rural area (63%) drive most days, while nearly half (46%) never use the bus;
  • The vast majority of visitors to the St Ives Estate (93%) travelled by car;
  • A lot of survey respondents (31%) weren’t sure about public transport in the area;
  • People say they would use green travel options more if there were safer walking and cycling routes and lower traffic speeds, and with improved regularity, reliability and coordination of local buses;
  • Locals and visitors were positive about the idea of using green travel more, and enthusiastic about the enjoyment and benefits (for individuals and local places) of exploring Bingley Rural sustainably.

People can continue to feed in ideas and experiences of green travel using the Project’s interactive online map: https://bingleyrural.communitymaps.org.uk/welcome

The Bingley Rural Green Travel Project is run by Cullingworth Village Council, Denholme Town Council, Harden Village Council and Wilsden Parish Council, working with the charity Sustrans and social enterprise Mapping for Change to run local engagement activities.

Cllr Jools Townsend, Harden Village Council, said: “The Bingley Rural Green Travel Project aimed to get people thinking, talking and airing their views on green travel, and exploring how we can help more people to get around and visit this beautiful area without adding to traffic and pollution. It’s been fantastic hearing people responding positively; there are clearly many opportunities for encouraging and enabling greener, healthier journeys by public transport, walking and cycling. The mode of transport we use is, understandably, not often at the forefront of people’s minds, but cutting car use and using the alternatives whenever possible is one of the best ways we can tackle the climate emergency, improve our health and local environments, and counter rising fuel costs. We hope our new green travel map will inspire more people to explore Bingley Rural by foot, bike, bus and train.”