Cycle ride in Leek 2020Although The MCA Travel and Transport group has not had any formal meetings, some MCA members have been active behind the scenes. In particular attending the meetings of the SMDC Travel and Transport Subcommittee, which has been set up to feed ideas to the main SMDC Climate Emergency Committee (CEC). The SMDC Travel and Transport sub-Committee is chaired by Councillor Keith Flunder and has been attended by mainly Conservative councillors, along with Cllr Garry Bentley (Cheadle West, Independent) Cllr Ian Waite (Horton Parish, Green) and usually with 2 or 3 members of MCA. Interestingly, according to my notes, no Labour or Lib Dem Councillors have attended any of the meetings! This has meant that the committee is dominated by Conservative councillors which can make it difficult to get our views across.

The chair, Cllr Keith Flunder, has been pushing an ongoing SMDC mapping exercise, which is mainly aimed at linking leisure routes from town to country. All well and good but with very little impact on the climate emergency. Cllr Garry Bentley has been working on improving an old piece of railway track in Cheadle to allow better walking and cycling access to the local school and reduce traffic in Cheadle High Street.

The only other topic which has gained any traction with the conservative majority is around EV charging; however the main responsibility for moving forward on this has now been passed over to the SMDC Energy working group (see our campaign to encourage councillor support). Other topics have been raised by MCA, such as encouraging active travel, improving cycle commuting routes and reducing some speed limits in urban areas. The next meeting in February will focus on improvements in bus design and public transport. If you wish to attend these meetings they are open to all on MS Teams and occur on the 2nd Monday of the month at 19:00. For an invitation and a Teams link, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Other good news: 20 is Plenty is starting to campaign in Staffordshire and we at MCA have been in touch with them and offered our support. Cllr Ben Emery (Leek West Conservative) seems interested in reducing speed limits and making roads safer for walkers and cyclists, so we may now be able to get this taken more seriously at the SMDC Travel and Transport subcommittee.

There are a few actions that MCA members could take on their own initiative; one that has been mentioned is setting up a car share or car pooling scheme. Across the country, car share/pooling schemes have been growing rapidly over the last few years. Having been mainly London- and big city-based, they are now spreading into small towns and communities. Would it be possible to set up a scheme in Leek, Cheadle or Biddulph? Or maybe all three?

In summary, MCA has several very active groups but sadly Transport is not one of them. To make things happen on the transport front we need volunteers to run and/or support the Transport group. If you can help please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

James Firkins, February 2021