If you’re local to Brighton you may have noticed a scattering of pale blue bikes popping up around the city centre. This latest project from Brighton (BTN) Bike Share launched on Friday 1st September and had over 1,500 people sign up over its first weekend.
The scheme, aimed at promoting a healthier mode of transport for residents and tourists alike, allows you to ‘rent’ bikes across the city for 3p per minute or (if you’re more dedicated to the greener lifestyle) snap up an annual membership for £72 per year, finding bikes using their app, SoBi. With this cycling frenzy clearly taking the city by storm, it’s clear that the association of Brighton as the UK’s hub of ‘green living’ seems set to continue.
Brighton and Hove has long been deemed one of the greenest cities in Europe; the council’s emphasis on sustainability, the plethora of cafes and shops selling organic produce and even rules surrounding certain properties make a concerted effort to be as eco-friendly as possible. After initially being pioneered in London, an increasing number of new developments in cities such as Brighton & Hove are now labelled as ‘car-free’. Usually these are developments where parking is not provided on site (or there are simply not enough parking spaces on street to cater for residents) and there are restrictions on (or removal of) your ability to obtain a parking permit whilst residing at that property.
We are seeing more of these agreements within planning permission conditions when these new properties are built in and around the city centre, usually in compliance with Brighton & Hove City Council’s HO7 Policy. Although granting of planning permission for car-free housing is subject to the premises having good public transport links and remaining car-free for the long-term, it is an innovative solution to wider environmental issues. In the city centre, these restrictions on residents’ parking seek to help reduce pollution, limit traffic and congestion, decrease pressure for additional parking spaces and also promote a more sustainable lifestyle by urging residents to commute by foot, public transport, car-shares, or bicycle (such as the new BTN BikeShare scheme).
So many of us are reliant on our cars to get us from A-Z, it will be interesting to see what environmental impact these car-free developments will have, and whether we will continue to see a rise in this eco-friendly approach. If you’re looking to buy a house or flat in Brighton & Hove’s city centre and own a vehicle, it might be worth checking whether the building is car-free first!