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Bike storage not needed in most houses? – respond by 24 Dec.

A Scottish Government consultation on ‘Sustainability Labelling’ would allow developers to gain bronze and silver awards for new flats and houses with no bike storage…

Spokes has responded strongly to the government’s Consultation on Sustainability Labelling within Building Standards.   The proposals would grant bronze, silver or gold awards to developments with increasingly high levels of sustainability.  But developers could gain the bronze and silver awards for developments containing zero space for storing even one bicycle!

Given the government’s own much-publicised target that 10% of all trips should be by bike in 2020 this is a clear case of non-joined-up thinking.   With cycling investment running at under 1% of transport spending, and in danger of a severe cut under the current draft 2011-12 budget, the government had claimed it was working towards the target through cross-departmental working:  but even that faint hope looks unlikely if this consultation is an example of how other departments regard everyday cycle use.

The best thing we can say for the proposals is that 2 or 3 years ago they probably wouldn’t have thought about storing a bike at all!

Not only is bike storage seen as unnecessary for a bronze or silver award, but developers can gain a gold award by building a flat which has just enough space for 1 bicycle or 1 pram!   No family cycling, no husband-and-wife cycling, and no cycling at all if you’ve got a baby – but the developer gets a gold award for a sustainable building (they of course also have to meet a range of other non-cycling criteria).

Meanwhile councils such as Edinburgh already have standards requiring a mimimum one bike place per studio flat and 2 places per ordinary flat.   In other words, the developers of every new flat (or house) in Edinburgh would automatically qualify for the government’s bike storage gold standard  without having to put in the slightest extra effort beyond what is demanded by Edinburgh’s basic minimum criteria.

The Spokes submission [pdf 133k] urges that cycle storage should be a basic requirement for every new building.  Also that the sustainability gold standard be used to recognise storage which goes well beyond the acceptable minimum (and including storage management and security where bike storage is communal, such as in new blocks of flats).

IF YOU AGREE, PLEASE MAKE YOUR OWN SUBMISSION TO THE CONSULTATION – by 24 December.

A respondent information form is available on the consultation website, but it is 14-pages, covering a great number of issues.  If you use it, we suggest completing page 1 and then putting your bike storage comments into one or two of the more general boxes such as consultation question 3 or the final ‘Other comments’ box.

Alternatively, send your response as an email to buildingstandards@scotland.gsi.gov.uk saying this is your response to the Consultation on Sustainability Labelling within Building Standards.  In this case, please also state in your email

… that you are responding as an individual (or organisation if appropriate)
… your postal address
… that you are/aren’t willing for your response, name, and/or postal address, to be public (e.g on the consultation responses website)
… that you are/aren’t willing for government departments to contact you about your response.

A brief response is fine, as in the Spokes main points (in bold above) – but if you have time, please give further thoughts and your own bike storage experiences.   If you want to read up on the exact proposals, see the document ‘Section 7 – Domestic Guidance’ on the consultation website.   The Spokes submission tells you which sections to refer to.

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