The Work

A combination of green legislation and entrepreneurial spirit has brought about some radical changes to the way people travel in Brighton & Hove.

One of the most visible examples is the Big Lemon, a community interest bus company whose fleet is powered by recycled chip fat oil.
It’s a shining beacon for sustainable transport in a city well known for its green credentials. The term sustainable transport refers to any means of travel that provides an alternative to comparatively high polluting petrol or diesel-fuelled vehicles: cycling, skating, walking, and the use of trains, electric vans, car share schemes. Even working from home can be included on this list.

While the Big Lemon is well known locally for being a sustainable mode of transport, less known is that bus travel in the city is second only to London in terms of passenger numbers per head of population. Buses are a success story that contribute to keeping car ownership to a minimum, as evidenced by the constant stream of bustling double deckers seen either side of Brighton’s central corridor, and extensively throughout the conurbation.

The city’s buses are going greener too. The main operator, Brighton and Hove Buses was recently awarded a grant of £700K to retrofit vehicles in order to reduce emissions.

Clearly one of the most environmentally friendly ways of traveling in any city is by cycling, and Brighton & Hove City Council is encouraging bikes more than ever through a series of measures. Lengthy bike lanes, floating bus stops and even shower facilities for Council employees have all been installed. One spectacular cycle route runs the length of the coast from Shoreham in the west to the high cliffs in Rottingdean in the east. Another that goes up to the Universities and football stadium has a series of modern Dutch-inspired bus stops, designed to “float” on islands in order to prevent vehicle collisions.

Brighton train station in summer clearly indicates the city’s enduring appeal. Waves of day-trippers, language students, stags and hens flood the concourse daily. Last year 16 million passengers passed through the station, about a third more than six years ago, prompting operators to recently double the amount of electronic gates.



This photo essay is generously sponsored by Southern Rail.


  • Catching sight of Baker Street Bikes’ owner Chris Balchin is a daily occurrence for Brighton residents. His eight mile round trip to work provokes smiles, quizzical looks and even appreciative cheers.
  • The Council is to introduce a low emissions zone in the city to improve air quality from January next year. The proposed zone from Western Road to Castle Square would require buses to meet the minimum emissions standards.
  • Children, parents and staff of Mouslecoomb Primary are all encouraged to use bikes when travelling to school. Incentives such as free maintenance, park excursions, and smoothies upon arrival are all offered to those that ride in.
  • One of the best skate and BMX parks in the country was opened in summer 2013, and has been in almost constant use since. There is a selection of ramps and boxes for pretty much all abilities and styles here.
  • The annual naked bike ride this year attracted over 700 cyclists. For Paul (pictured) “it was a great avenue to express the vulnerability of cyclists on the roads. Being naked certainly makes much more of an impact and raises the awareness level.”
  • ReCharge Cargo - some of the traffic clogging up the streets of Brighton & Hove is caused by scores of delivery vans. The solution put forward by Sam Keam, an environmental consultant, is a courier service operated by electric-assisted bikes.
  • Big Lemon Festival Coach. The Big Lemon is owned by the people of Brighton and Hove through a share scheme, and because it’s a Community Interest Company, any profits made go straight back into the service.
  • The Sussex Downs is blessed with great cycling routes providing rolling hills and quaint villages. East of Brighton lie the famous white cliffs, with landmarks such as the much-loved Rottingdean Windmill dotted along the horizon.
  • Hidden behind a metal shutter somewhere in Kemptown, there exists a space dedicated to the maintenance of bikes - Cranks DIY workshop. It’s a volunteer-led project which enables cyclists to use tools and gain advice, in order to make repairs to their own bikes.
  • Velo Cafe: drinking coffee whilst waiting for a mechanic to fix your bike, that’s the concept behind this cycle-themed cafe. It also serves as a community hub, providing a place for cyclists to meet before and after rides.
  • A park and ride scheme operates for Brighton and Hove Albion’s home matches, enabling supporters to leave their cars at one of three destinations on the edge of town, before hopping on a bus to the game.
  • A big part of what makes a city special is its distinctive architecture. Constructed in about 1926, these grade II listed bus stops are all that remains of an elegant tram system that operated in the city during the early 1900s.

    Located next to the flamboyant Pavilion, the three original buildings are all still in use today.

  • When conditions are right, the sky above Devil’s Dyke is filled with colourful kites, gliding peacefully over the hills. It is a popular walking destination too, made accessible by one of three bus routes from Brighton, which link the city with some of its most popular countryside destinations in the South Downs National Park.
  • Skating along the Seafront. Alex commutes two miles to work in the summer on a longboard. “It’s nice to be active and in the elements, rather than squashed in a bus. It’s also soothing for the soul.”
  • Street cars like those run by City Car Club are hired by the hour or day. The scheme therefore ensures drivers have considered other options of travel before automatically deciding to take out a car, thereby reducing the amount of traffic on the road.

    I was privileged to catch up with 13-year-old Aidan, an internationally renowned Hula Hooper, on his way to an event.

  • Every Tuesday evening in summer, a group of enthusiastic rollerbladers gather for a fastpaced ride around town. With several participants offering different styles of music, a joyful party mood is created.
  • The Council’s fleet of three electric vans is seen as a much cleaner alternative to diesel. Intended for use by supervisors for site visits, they are able to fulfill all their daily duties if left to charge overnight.
    Residents who own an electric vehicle can park for free at any of the available charging posts around town.
  • Research suggests that walking is possibly the single most effective and accessible form of physical activity. The local authority has put in place an initiative called Healthwalks, excursions led by volunteers that are free and accessible by public transport.
  • A colourful queue snaking its way around the Old Steine culminates in a security bag check. When finally passengers were able to board one of the buses destined for Shakedown Festival, their excitement was palpable.
  • Some organisations encourage working from home, when appropriate. Not only can it free up desk space, but it reduces traffic and can be beneficial for productivity.

    Reuben Turner, a Creative Director in London, endures an almost daily commute from Preston Park. “Home working is beneficial from a human perspective. It enables us to continue doing what we do, better, for longer.”

  • Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station
  • Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station
  • Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station
  • Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station Jonathan Goldberg: Sustainable Transport at Brighton station
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The Photographer

Jonathan Goldberg

Born in 1973, I am a London based Portrait and Documentary photographer. My personal work addresses themes around sustainable living and alternative lifestyles.

Most recently I have been completing a series of photos depicting Grow Heathrow, a community garden located next to Britain’s busiest airport. Occupied by approximately 15 squatters, my project documents the lives of determined individuals, who choose to question accepted conventions of society by living in an off-grid commune.

I have been paying regular visits to the site for over three years. Portraits of Sustainability is a project that I have been working on alongside Grow Heathrow. It depicts people who, between work commitments, are involved in projects with a sustainability theme. The initiatives I’ve focused on have mostly been initiated by Transition Towns, a growing grass-roots movement engaging people on a local level.

Photographs featured portray: community gardens, jam-making workshops, a local currency initiative and so on.

In 2013 I won Best Video at the Environmental Photographer of the Year competition. Shaking the Tree portrays one man’s mission to prevent tons of fruit gong to waste in suburban NW London. I have been shortlisted for Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year (2014), Environmental Photographer of the Year (2013), Vignette Award (2013). Recent exhibition selections have been at Photofusion Salon (2013), London Independent Photographers Annual Exhibition (2013) and the Foto8 Summer Show (2012).

When I’m not working on personal projects, my commissions are from a range of magazines undertaking environmental portraits, news and school & college prospectuses. I have been working as a photographer for 18 years since graduating from Brighton University, where I studied Editorial Photography (BA Hons).

Photographer Approach

Such is the wealth of sustainable transport initiatives taking place in Brighton & Hove, that I initially felt overwhelmed at the task of doing justice to this theme in the allotted time.

Online research led me to meetings with people behind some of the better-known projects, such as the Big Lemon. But I was surprised at how much of my knowledge about local projects, especially cycling, came about through word of mouth. Cranks Workshop, for example, is a treasure trove of bike parts enabling self-repair, but its unassuming presence meant I would never have stumbled upon it any other way.

A large number of my photographs came about unplanned as I was researching destinations or en route to a separate shoot. Having said that, it was important for me to employ a range of recognisable backdrops in this visually rich city, so I spent a fair amount of time hanging around certain landmarks, just waiting for the moment (or for a mode of transport).

My initial decision to employ a medium format camera for this project was questioned by the critical friend I was assigned. The consensus was that the slow meditative quality associated with film was perhaps not the best tool to capture images highlighting movement. I switched to using a digital SLR, reluctantly at first, then with increasing conviction.

My subjects were an inspiration to me: entrepreneurs prompting positive societal change through risk-taking, determination and dedication, as well as individuals considering the environment in a small but equally meaningful way.

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The exhibition

Exhibition Info

Dates: 01/10/2014 - 31/07/2015
Times: During station operating hours
Address: Brighton Railway Station, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XP
Link: Link

Brighton Railway Station

Southern Railway is helping customers make their journeys more sustainable with a strategy inspired by One Planet principles.

Thousands of cycle and car spaces have been added to Southern stations to encourage people to switch their journey to train travel and at Brighton Station a new cycle hub with secure storage and changing rooms will enable passengers to refresh themselves after their cycle to the station. We are also installing Electric Vehicle Charging Points at Brighton Station and across the network.

These improvements are in addition to reducing the energy used by our trains through the installation of Regenerative Braking and more recently on-train metering, which helps us monitor and manage energy consumption.

Around 80% of waste normally sent to landfill is recycled and where possible the remainder is sent to an Energy from Waste plant. In 2014/2015 we are aiming to send zero waste to landfill at Brighton Station through improved separation of biodegradable items such as food and floristry waste to enable composting.

At stations in the greater Brighton area we are inspiring responsible planting to encourage bees, birds, butterflies and bats with our Making a B-Line for Sussex project to contribute to biodiversity. We have also connected with the recently accredited Brighton Biosphere to align this work with the landscape in which we operate.
We are conscious that we only have One Planet and aim to ensure that our work reflects this.

Access Information

How to get there:

Train station: Brighton

Buses: 6, 7, 12, 13,14, 14A, 14B, 14C, 18, 27, 37, 37A, 37B, 38A, 47, 48, 50, 52, 57, 59, 77, 78, 79 769

Cycle: racks available

Car: station car park


One Planet City: Professional Commissions

Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.