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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Act fast on climate

Latest News

Locals question placing homes in areas of inundation risk

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Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads The people of Mullumbimby would be aware that Byron Shire Council (BSC) intends to hand over...

Beth Shelley, Booerie Creek

I’d like to thank our wonderful community who attended the recent climate-change rally. Everyone there understood the urgency of the crisis that is happening right now.

Never have we needed to act more quickly. Once a government is committed to action it can move fast. We’re not seeing this from our state and federal leaders and we hear they’re controlled by big corporations.

If they were free to react for the good of the country we would see large-scale renewable energy projects, rapid reforestation and reinstatement of railways. Not everyone understands that transport emissions have become the biggest cause of emissions in the world.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. I think most people are well aware that transport accounts for a significant contributor to emissions. However some people – like TOOTS and NRRAG – make the unevidenced assumption that reinstating rail services will make a contribution to reducing emission.
    Work by public transport academics like Lenzen of University of Sydney show that rail and bus have similar whole of life energy use, and are comparable with modern cars with just one extra passenger. Planes to Coolangatta and Ballina are similarly efficient with their usual high levels of occupancy. Commuter trains can be very efficient and economic but only when carrying more than 5,000 per hour. Any suggestion that commuter rail here would achieve such high numbers of passengers that it would be more energy efficient than cars is ludicrous. RailCorp in its submissions to the Legislative Committee inquiry, Arup in its corridor review and Sustain Northern Rivers Transport Survey 2013 on public transport explicitly confirmed what the general literature would suggest: in an area with our dispersed population and health, education, employment and retail centres you should not expect rail to attract high levels of patronage and shift people from car use. Further the recent availability and relatively lower cost of electric buses means they can provide 100% renewable public transport and at far less cost than an electric rail service.
    The best gains in powered transport efficiency in our region can be garnered by encouraging multi-use of vehicles and, by fleet renewal. The 2016 census shows the Byron and Lismore LGAs have significantly older cars, and casual observation shows many are heavy 4wd type vehicles. A comprehensive improvement of the roads in our area would enable people to use lighter more efficient vehicles as is common in rural areas in Europe and Japan.
    The other significant improvement would be a shift to cycling or walking for local journeys. Beth will be relieved I am not here pushing the rail trail. Although it certainly will provide safe sustainable commuting for some people, it is tourist focussed and funded. There are many other routes in our area that can be improved by better infrastructure and reduced vehicle speeds ; the Byron Council’s current PAMP consultations provide an opportunity for residents there to tell Council what cycle routes will encourage them to cycle instead of driving.

  2. I agree we are way too car centric in this country. I have just been to Amsterdam where most commutes are done by bike – including old people and kids. We need to turn things around in this country quick smart!

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