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Petitioning Mayor of Bristol Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson and 1 other

Act to protect Bristol's most valuable and fertile food growing land from road building. Help to create a world class urban agriculture hub on Bristol's Blue Finger.

In 2015 Bristol is Green Capital of Europe. It will also be International Year of Soils. Bristol is a UK Sustainable Food City and a member of the 100 Resilient Cities Global Network. BUT the Council is overseeing the building of new roads on its most fertile food growing land - the most valuable soil asset it has within it's boundary - already home to a new and growing movement in urban agriculture.The reasons why we find ourselves in this situaiton are complex, historical and political. The result is a systemic failure that means we are prevented from creating the city we know is possible and the resilient food system we know is necessary. The road is part of the controversial MetroBus scheme.

On 27th August 2014, Bristol's planning committee 'B' chaired by cllr Peter Abrahams voted 6 to 4 in favour of MetroBus. 

Any city that wishes to thrive in an unpredictable future must act now to upscale sustainable food production in ways that directly benefit the health and wellbeing, and the local economy of that city. We should not be designing nor endorsing a public transport system that undermines our ability to do this. 

The area under threat is part of an area known as the Blue Finger (Grade 1 is coded blue on agricultural classification maps). Soil of this quality covers less than 3% of the UK and this is set to diminish as sea levels rise and extremes of climate increase. Therefore it must be a national priority to protect our highest grade soils in order to establish a benchmark for the regeneration of all soils. Locally, it is Stapleton Allotments and Smallholdings that will be affected by road building. This includes Avon Wildlife Trusts award winning community food growing project Feed Bristol, Sims Hill Shared Harvest organic Community Supported Agriculture market garden and the long standing Stapleton Allotments. 

Soil of this quality sequesters large amounts of carbon, it remains productive in very wet or very dry periods unlike lesser quality soils. We cannot afford to lose such an asset to tarmac - the soil quality can never be recovered. 

Bristol is in an unprecedented position right now to pioneer a new approach to soils and lead the way in developing urban agricultural enterprise and this has widespread public support from organisations, bsinesses and the public. 

The proposed road in question, the M32 bus only junction, part of the controversial MetroBus scheme is not even necessary for the scheme to go ahead and acheive it's 3.5 minute time saving goal. The scheme is having negative impacts, not only on the city's finances but on many other green spaces. It is billed as a Sustainable Public Transport scheme but its own figures show that it will only carry less than 300 passengers in peak a.m rush hour in 2016 and beyond.

This has been shown to be a poor value scheme which hill have a significant negative impact on the City's credibility as a Green Capital. It could also undermine the city's long term food productivity. To allow MetroBus to go ahead as planned will be a regressive and costly step and undermine the energy and expertise of hundreds of people across the city who believe Bristol can become a leading green, resilient city. Please take it back to the drawing board and support a world class urban agriculture hub on the Blue Finger. Everything we need depends upon soil. 

This petition was delivered to:
  • Mayor of Bristol
    Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson
  • Assistant Mayor / Sustainable Communities / Green Party
    Gus Hoyt

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