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Opinion & Analysis

Sustainable ideas for transport

By Paul Balban

Climate change is now a climate emergency, as we declared in Gibraltar earlier this year. One of the strands of our strategy on the environment is the issue of traffic and transport.

Gibraltarians have always been heavily dependent on the use of cars for transport but I believe we are starting to see a shift in the local mindset.

As the Sustainable Transport, Traffic and Parking Plan (STTPP) concluded, cycling is a real option for travel in Gibraltar which we are taking seriously. We continued the policy of charging no import duty for bicycles in Gibraltar and we have also introduced incentives for the purchase of e-bikes, a phenomenon taking Europe by storm. We plan to further incentivise the acquisition and use of these vehicles through a variety of measures.

Just recently we have also launched Pedal Ready, a three stage, cycling training programme designed to make more people safe and confident on bicycles in Gibraltar, and we will continue, if elected into Government for four more years, to explore further initiatives to make cycling a key component of the transport ecosystem in Gibraltar.

The STTPP also produced the Residential Parking Zone Scheme. It is true that it has taken some time, some review and some tweaking but it quickly started to prove its worth. All change is challenging of course, and I know that this has tested the patience of many of you. In order to build on the value of the STTPP and this scheme, we will continue to monitor usage trends in the various different areas with a view to adjusting the number of various parking space types available and, accordingly, responding to changing needs.

It was the GSLP Liberals too that provided new buses during its first term of office and, as we seek to consolidate the value of the STTPP, we are now looking at an enhancement/replacement programme which includes a review of electric/hybrid options in the fleet. We explored this some years ago and failed to find a solution for the Gibraltar challenge of electric buses - with tweaks and a new ‘outside the box’ approach, I am confident we can deliver.

More cycling on our great new roads, more walking in our cleaner Gibraltar and more trips by bus are just the start of the big changes we are making to our quality of life. In time, I believe that the challenges these changes represent will come to be seen by mere bumps on the road to a cleaner, healthier and happier Gibraltar.

On October 17th, I urge you to give me the opportunity to continue to work for you as part of the GSLP Liberals team. I believe, as does the rest of the TEAM, that this is not a time for novices or has beens. Now is not the time for political experiments or political spent forces.

On October 17th vote for all TEN GSLP Liberal candidates. We will not let you down! I will not let you down!

Paul Balban is a GSLP/Liberal candidate at the forthcoming election.

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