Lunch with Leon episode 32 - SPECIAL - Sara Sloman

Mar 12, 07:36 AM
The many questions about how we reach net-zero

In a special edition, Leon Daniels swaps notes with Sara Sloman, who hosts sister-ITT Hub podcast Talking Net Zero

In a wide-ranging, engaging and lively chat we discover Sara’s ‘all-time gripe’ about ‘all-things-green and sustainable’, but they start by talking about a bottle of wine, before moving onto the controversial residents’ parking scheme in Bristol. 

Designed to encourage people out of their cars, rather than driving to within a mile of the city centre and then parking on residential streets the scheme’s introduction was the source of much angst. 

This question gives rise to the topic of forcing people to change their travel behaviour.

It seems that whatever you do in transport, it’s often just ‘shunting the problem’, reckons Sara: “It’s coastal erosion with cars!”

Local politics come into play and the challenge that metro-mayors face of four-year terms – and having to rely on a second term, and being at the mercy of shifts of change in public opinion – means that four years is not long enough to do anything in the transport sector, we discover.

Leon recalls advice he gave to London Mayor Boris Johnson, and asks if mayors are ready to make really tough decisions within the first few weeks of taking office.

This leads to a discussion about the ‘short term of everything’, the need for consistency and why ‘engineers are biting their nails’ when announcements are made.

Are we too hung up on on-street charging and is the on-street charging issue overblown, Leon asks Sara, before they chat about micro-mobility and why people on eScooters are happy. “You never see a jogger smiling,” observes Leon, while Sara explains the importance of how travel makes you feel. “Does it put a smile on your face?”

She explains the enjoyment of a journey, how underrated bus travel is for the ‘pleasure of the journey’ and why sustainable travel ‘gives you your life back’.

Is the solution for certain occasional travel car clubs? Sara and Leon swap tales about their car club experiences which include an egg, rubber gloves and an underground car park….