It comes alongside a fresh consultation to “understand public opinion”.
The pedestrianisation of the city centre’s major thoroughfare has long been the subject of debate, especially after the Council declared a ‘climate emergency’ in July 2019.
But the conversation was brought to the forefront after a section of the road between Blackfriars Street and King Street was closed to vehicles back in May 2020 to help with social distancing and support the economic recovery of the city after the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Since the road was first temporarily closed, Manchester City Council says that support has “remained strong” for these changes to be made permanent.
Council leaders now say they are keen to build on that support “in the best way”.
Currently, Deansgate is closed to general traffic yet open one way for buses and taxis only. Going forward, the Council is proposing to keep these current restrictions in place, while still allowing some access to these vital transport methods – but the authority is keen to hear the thoughts of Mancunians.
Do you think Deansgate should be closed to general traffic for good?
You can now have your say up until 26 July 2021.
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment, said: “The Council as part of the City Centre Transport Strategy has for over 10 years sought to make real and lasting change in the city centre, altering the way so many of us travel in our day to day lives.
“We have been listening and will continue to do so as this consultation progresses as we want a city centre that works for all of our residents, visitors and businesses.
“The Council has bold ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2038, and radically increase the number of people walking and cycling or using public transport to travel to the city centre – 90% of peak morning journeys by 2040.
“Changes like this to Deansgate will lay the foundation we need to achieve these goals.
“I’d urge as many people as possible to take part in this consultation, and have your voice on Deansgate heard.”
What changes are being proposed?
Some of the permanent changes being proposed by Manchester City Council in this latest round of consultation include access to the section of Deansgate between Blackfriars Street and King Street will be limited, except for open one-way travel in a southbound direction for buses, taxis and cycles.
Measures will be in place to improve pedestrian and cyclist usage and safety.
King Street to Quay Street will become permanently one-way only for all traffic, in a southbound direction with the northbound carriageway closed. A contraflow cycle lane will run for the length of Deansgate from Quay Street to Blackfriars Street in the closed off northbound carriageway.
St. Mary’s Parsonage will remain closed to traffic at its northern end to prevent traffic from diverting around the closed section of Deansgate.
A bus gate will be created on Bridge Street after its junction at Left Bank, meaning that only buses, cycles and taxis will be able to drive out of the city centre across the River Irwell into Salford via this route – but traffic coming into the city is unaffected.
Gartside Street between New College Street and Bridge Street will be one-way northbound with a segregated cycle route in a southbound direction.
Buses will be permitted to travel northwards on Cross Street, and general traffic will not be able to proceed any further than the junction with New Market.
You can have your say on the proposed plans via the Manchester City Council website here.
Featured Image – Geograph (David Dixon)
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.
GMP officers in the Bolton district are keen to hear from anyone with information that could lead to the suspects described above.
Detective Inspector, Stuart Woodhead of Bolton’s CID said: “We understand this will be a worrying incident for those in the local area, but rest assured we are working hard to identify the two suspects and continue to increase patrols as a result to offer visible reassurance.
“This happened in broad daylight in a public place, so we would urge anyone with details either of the incident or who may know who the two suspects are to come forward in confidence as our investigation continues and we look at all possible lines of enquiry.”
The GMP statement added: “If anyone has any information they are urged to ring the district direct on 0161 856 5757. Alternatively details can be shared via the LiveChat portal on gmp.police.uk or anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”