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.
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).
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.
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.
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 2014 - 2015
Ten photo essays responding to the ten sustainability principles of One Planet Living with ten site-specific installations in public spaces across Brighton & Hove.