A comparison of the ONS Census data for car availability for Epsom and Ewell between 2001 and 2011 shows an increase of 8.8%. Department for Transport statistics show a similar picture with the total number of motor vehicles registered in Epsom and Ewell rising from 42,400 in 2009 to 45,900 in 2019. An increase of 8.3% in 10 years. This has made the roads in our borough busier, with greater parking issues. Air quality is also a concern with the High Street in Ewell exceeding national guidelines for the annual mean concentration of NO2 and new measuring sites at the junction of London Road/Kingston Road are showing levels very close to the target maximum NO2 level. With the dominant source of particulates generated from road transport being tyre and break wear, not exhaust emissions, we really must look for alternative means to travel around the Borough.
It is difficult to find data on cycle ownership and usage, although the Epsom and Ewell Cycling Action Group have carried out an annual Cycle Count since 1999, which shows an interesting trend: "counts have generally shown a significant increase only after a major improvement in the cycling infrastructure". There are many benefits to cycling over using a car: it is better for your health, better for the environment and better for your wallet.
Epsom and Ewell Cycling Action Group
Epsom and Ewell Cycling Action Group are an informal group of cyclists working for better cycling provision in the borough.
You can find a huge amount of information on their website, including: tips for those new to cycling, information about taking bicycles on trains, a map of cycle parking locations in Epsom and Ewell, maps of cycling routes and lots more!
Cycle Shops and Servicing in Epsom and Ewell
We're lucky to have two great independent cycling shops in Epsom and Ewell in addition to a local branch of Halfords. All of these stores sell bikes and parts and are able to service bikes. The Pedlars Cycle Service and Repair primarily offers servicing and repairs but does sometimes have some second hand bikes for sale.
Pound Lane Cycle Service - 29 Pound Lane, Epsom, KT19 8RY
Fudges Cycle Store - 21-23 Upper High St, Epsom KT17 4QY
Halfords - Unit 2, Kiln Lane Epsom , KT17 1EQ
The Pedlars Cycle Service and Repair is a family run business offering servicing and repairs to the community including the recycling of parts for those that wish a sustainable approach where possible.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council have produced a Family Cycle Map to help residents discover some of the beautiful areas the Borough has to offer. Five sites are highlighted: Epsom Common, Horton Country Park and Hogsmill Local Nature Reserves, Nonsuch Park and Epsom Downs. Larger scale maps of these areas can also be found on the Council Cycling webpage.
A Cycling and Walking Map has also been produced which highlights quieter routes for cyclists across the whole Borough.
Surrey County Council Cycle Training information is available here. Currently school cycle training provision has resumed as well as summer holiday Bikeability Level 2 courses.
There are also training courses available for people with disabilities, full details can be found here.
Beginner Bike Rides
If you a lacking confidence riding a bike and would like to gain more experience in the company of experienced cyclists, Cyclists Touring Club South West London offer beginners bike rides every Saturday afternoon from Nonsuch Mansion Cafe. This is free, you just need to bring a bike. All rides leave at 2:00pm, call at another cafe and return before 5:00pm. "Choice of short, easy cycle rides for new (or experienced ) cyclists of any age. Groups are led through green open spaces along quiet roads and byways. Experienced riders ensure slow cyclists are not left behind. " For more details see here. The group also offer other guided cycling sessions for a range of abilities, full details here.
"We should all choose the right vehicle for the right trip to cut the size of our carbon footprint.
"It is right to question if suburban drivers need a car capable of ploughing over rivers, across fields and up steep hills just to pop to the shops."
This is great advice from Steve Gooding, from the RAC Foundation. We should also consider whether the "right vehicle" is a bicycle or simply our legs. This is particularly important when making short journeys as it is the first five minutes of a car journey which expose us to the highest pollution levels.
The Epsom and Ewell Borough Council 2020 Annual Air Quality Status Report found that the High Street in Ewell still exceeds national guidelines for the annual mean concentration of NO2 and new measuring sites at the junction of London Road/Kingston Road are showing levels very close to the target maximum NO2 level.
Here are a couple of other key observations from the report:
"Road transport is identified as the largest contributor to nitrogen dioxide concentrations"
"Of the road transport fleet, diesel vehicles followed by light goods vehicles are the highest contributors to nitrogen dioxide exposure in the Borough."
"Of those particulates generated from road transport, the dominant source is tyre and break wear, not exhaust emissions"
It seems the message is clear, to improve air quality in our Borough we need to look to modes of transport other than cars for the journeys we take, whilst also reducing the journeys required for the transportation of the goods we consume. For example, we could reduce the miles travelled by the foods we eat by buying locally sourced, seasonal items.
It is worth bearing in mind that although electric cars do not produce the harmful NO2 emissions, they will still produce the harmful particulates from tyre and brake wear, so they should not be seen as the perfect solution to local transport issues. Where possible, consider cycling or walking to have the greatest impact.
Electric Car Charging in Epsom & Ewell
A small number of electric vehicle charging points are now available in Epsom, for an up-to-date list of the number and types of chargers available please see here: https://www.zap-map.com/locations/epsom-charging-points/
The Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling (leaving the vehicle's engine running while the vehicle is stationary) contributing to this. Epsom and Ewell Borough Council agreed to adopt anti-idling enforcement powers in October 2021. This means that Council employees are now able to issue fixed penalty notices for stationary idling offences. More information and posters to download can be found on the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council anti-idling webpage.
The Future of Sustainable Transport in Epsom and Ewell
Plans to improve local transport in the Borough are included in a range of different local government documents including:
Surrey County Council's Epsom and Ewell Cycling Plan is no longer available on the Surrey County Council website but an archived version can be found here.
Surrey County Council's Cycle Facility Map shows existing and suggested cycling route infrastructure.
Surrey County Council's Climate Change Strategy
Surrey County Council carried out a Surrey Cycling Strategy Consultation in 2013. Details are available on request from Surrey County Council
Surrey County Council's Local Tranpsort Plan 2022-2032
Surrey County Council's plans to improve walking and cycling are described here. This page also provides details of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans ("LCWIPs"), which are ten-year investment plans for individual localities. Surrey County Council "are working to have LCWIPs for all areas of Surrey in place by the end of 2022".
Surrey County Council's "Improving walking and cycling routes in Surrey" interactive map allows residents to 'pin' a location and leave their comments on how they think walking or cycling could be made easier there.
Surrey County Council's Vehicular and Cycle Parking Guidance document provides details of the recommended number of vehicular and cycle parking spaces for a range of retail and residential units.
You might also find these links to other documents and groups useful:
Mums for Lungs is a group of parents who are seriously concerned about air pollution's impact on children's health. Local groups currently only exist in London but there is a huge amount of information on their webite. Recent Mums for Lungs campaigns have focussed on Idling, School Streets and Wood Burning.
School Streets schemes offer a proactive solution for school communities to tackle air pollution, poor health and road danger reduction. "A School Street is a road outside a school with a temporary restriction on motorised traffic at school drop-off and pick-up times. The restriction applies to school traffic and through traffic. The result is a safer, healthier and pleasant environment for everyone. " For more information about School Streets, the School Streets Initiative website provides a comprehensive summary.
Residents often raise concern about the state of our roads and the number of potholes. There are two ways we can tackle this:
1) Report any potholes you see on the Surrey County Council form for reporting highways issues.
2) Switch to active travel modes for local journeys. Potholes are caused when water penetrates tiny cracks in the road – cracks that are usually caused by traffic. If we could all reduce our car use for local journeys then there would be fewer potholes!