15-minute cities branded 'wonderful' with drivers told 'we need to move away from cars'

The panel were debating net zero

One expert said 15-minute cities were 'wonderful'

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 19/09/2023

- 10:59

Updated: 19/09/2023

- 11:49

One expert said a 'war on cars' was not taking place and urged for changes to urban planning

A heated debate was sparked after an expert claimed 15-minute cities were “wonderful” places to live and that the use of cars needs to be discouraged massively.

On Britain’s Newsroom with Bev Turner and Andrew Pierce, the presenters spoke about London Mayor Sadiq Khan flying to New York to attend climate conferences.

It has been estimated that Sadiq Khan, as well as his deputies and other officials, have racked up a staggering 430,000 air miles since he was elected as Mayor in 2016.

The panel, which included lecturer John Grant and meteorologist Jim Dale, debated whether it was time to pull the plug on net zero.


Net Zero Debate Jim Dale and John Grant

Discussing the impact of Sadiq Khan’s flying habits, Bev Turner asked the guests what they thought of the move towards net zero and whether it was going too far.

She said: “Because it makes me think that we little people are going to be the ones that suffer by travelling less, having out 15-minute cities, not being able to use our cars and eat meat.

“It’s not going to affect the likes of Sadiq Khan, those in power will always have that sort of family.

“Is it realistic? Given the landscape, the topology of this country, the urban sprawl of this country, could you see a time in which we have 15-minute cities?”

John Grant, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Construction and Climate Change at Sheffield Hallam University, praised the use of 15-minute cities.

He said: “We need to move away from cars. You said about the 15-minute cities, I’ve been to 15-minute cities and they are great places to live.

“Please don’t weaponise it and say it’s a horrible place. If you go through Amsterdam and move through their 15-minute cities, they are wonderfully safe, the air quality is good.

“It is not a bad thing, people who need to use cars can use cars.”

15-minute cities are schemes that aim to provide people with all of the major services they require within 15 minutes using active travel options.

These schemes aim to reduce the amount of car usage by drivers and provide them with suitable alternatives to access services like supermarkets, green spaces and their GP.

John Grant continued, saying: “Our infrastructure for the last 50 years pretty much, maybe 70 years, has been designed with the car in mind and that has to stop now.

“People talk about a war on cars, it's not a war on cars, it’s a war in favour of people and their health. The reality is with the number of cars, they’re harming us. They’re harming us.”


A Low Traffic Neighbourhood

John Grant said things need to change for the UK to achieve net zero goals


Bev Turner responded to the support for 15-minute cities, saying a “war on travel” was occurring.

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