Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A Cyclist Apologises

As a cyclist I wish to apologise, not for cycling through red lights (which I often do), not for cycling on pavements (which I sometimes do) and not for cycling the wrong way down one-way streets (which I occasionally do) but for this, or rather what this portends when it drops through your letter box.

This leaflet in itself is, like Our City, just another waste of time and money which will help the Council meet it's targets for paper recycling, but if you can bear to read it, it warns that you should expect a visit from a cycling advisor in the next few days. And that's the default position. If you don't want to have a visit from a cycling advisor, thank you very much, then YOU had better phone the Council to beg them not to send one (although as a special concession to the modern age, you are cordially invited to exercise the option of cancelling your forthcoming visit by a cycling advisor online or by email).

So this is how the extra £11 million of Cycling City money will be spent? Unsolicited interference in people's private lives, cold-calling to 'encourage' people to cycle to help the Council meet another misguided and wildly ambitious target, that of doubling the number of cyclists in just a couple of years? It's one thing to offer' free' advice to those who actually request it (although I don't see why it should necessarily be 'free' to the consumer when it clearly is no such thing to the supplier), but to doorstep, to call uninvited at people's homes 'offering' this advice to all and sundry can hardly be ethical or cost effective.

In fact I find it difficult to think of anything more likely to further alienate the majority of people who choose not to cycle from considering the option. Can you see the masses taking up cycling because a woman/man from the Council said what a good idea it would be? Is it not more likely that they will resent the intrusion, resent the waste of (their tax) money and resent the poor judgement of the Council in expecting such doorstepping to work.

How much is this costing? Naturally we are told nothing of this. But the web site referred to on the leaflet is hosted by consultants steer davies gleave, the same consultants who thought that running BRT down the Railway Path was such a good idea (no sense of irony, these bureaucrats?). The likes of sdg don't come cheap, not because the poor chaps and chappesses trudging around Bristol's forgotten housing estates will be paid anything to shout about, but because the senior partners take such a fat cut to fuel their lavish, BMW driving, international jet setting lifestyles.

So I extend my apologies, and I suspect those of a good proportion of Bristol's cyclists, to all those of you who find the quiet enjoyment of your homes interrupted by a visit from a cycling advisor. Please remember, this is not done to benefit mere cyclists but to further the vital process of transferring taxpayers funds into the pockets of fat cat consultants.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Cycling City - Constructive Suggestion #2

Last week's constructive suggestion seemed to get a good response, although nothing officially from the Council, so I'll roll out a few more. As noted Cycling City lacks any truly significant 'new infrastructure' projects, the sort of things that will make cyclists feel that it's making a real difference to their lives. So here's what could be called a 'new cycle route', although it's basically an upgrade of existing paths so possible to use now but known to very few.

View Avon Gorge - Blaise Estate in a larger map

The route starts with a detour away from the existing Portway cycle track which uses the wide footway. It suffers from being next to a busy road and the sense of being constantly blasted by the noise of passing traffic. But there is a little used pathway along the river bank a few metres away which is decidedly quieter and opens up splendid views along the river Avon. Such a contrast.

The river Avon at Sea Mills

At Sea Mills my route turns north-east to follow the Trym up to the Blaise Castle Estate at Combe Dingle where the estate paths have recently been upgraded (pic below) and now provide a excellent routes for cyclists, subject of course to the need to slow down and give way to walkers. I suggest that the route from the Avon Gorge and along the Trym valley be upgraded to a similar standard.

Existing paths in Blaise castle estate.

The proposed route would complete a continuous off-road largely traffic free route from central Bristol to Blaise Castle Estate, one of the landscape gems of Bristol. Links at the Cumberland basin could provide links of a similar quality to south Bristol and Ashton Court. The tourism and leisure potential could be outstanding. Does Cycling City have the vision to grasp such an opportunity?

Dingle Road passes over the Trym on a fine bridge.

This delightful route (and more) will be explored next Sunday with a bike ride starting from the Arnolfini at 10am. All welcome, just email me (chrisdothuttattalktalkdotnet) for details.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Prince Street Bridge - At Last The Truth

Following my post yesterday morning about continuing evasion on the part of the West of England Partnership over their plans for Bus Rapid Transit and Prince Street Bridge a series of comments by Executive Member Jon Rogers has revealed the truth. As pointed out here repeatedly over the last 6 months and contrary to the claims of WoEP, the intention is to use Prince Street Bridge as it is, subject only to strengthening to take the heavy (30 tonne) bendy buses.

The comments, which give a detailed account of email exchanges with senior officers, can be read in full and in context here but the salient points posted by Cllr Jon Rogers are as follows -
In summary, Officer A disputed that the partnership had (1) "seemed most anxious to scotch our suggestion that the BRT buses would use Princes Street Bridge" and (2) "quietly published the BRT plans".

Officer A concluded,

"I understand that, following amendments to the scheme as a result of consultations, consequent cost pressures resulted in necessary revisions to certain aspects of the RT Scheme. This included retaining and modifying the Prince Street Bridge rather than financing the cost of a replacement bridge and associated harbour wall modifications. Before finalising the change in the case of the bridge, an independent surveyor's report was also obtained to assist in costing the bid.

Whilst the cost pressures and cash limited funding means there is unlikely to be finance to change this proposal I understand the general traffic management issues could be further considered as part of developing the Transport and Works Act Order which is to be submitted by December 2009."

To which I (Jon Rogers) replied,

"The plans have clearly changed.

"The plans have changed without alerting the Executive Members to the major impact on the Prince Street Bridge, which is known to be politically controversial.

"(1) The Nov 2008 press release said unambiguously, "The current bridge is not suitable for rapid transit." This was despite the repeated questions at that time "will the BRT cross the Prince Street bridge". I cannot be surprised that people don't believe what we say.

"(2) "On 2nd April 2009 you (and others) received an email from Officer E referring you to the bid on the Partnership's website." - This is not the same as letting the general public know. They discovered it perhaps a week or so later. Why didn't we press release the publication on the web (or better still "twitter" it)?"

Officer A responded yesterday with

"(1) The November press release did say "The current bridge is not suitable for rapid transit". This meant that the current bridge would at the very least need to be strengthened and the Programme Entry bid costings provide for this.

"(2) I take your point; our February press release couldn't go that far because the bid was not finalised. When Officer E wrote to some 45 stakeholders, plus Councillors and MPs a further press statement would have been appropriate."

The definitive response from Officer D said

"Further to the correspondence last week, following a briefing this morning from Partnership officers and the opportunity to read your correspondence and the response you received last Tuesday from Officer A my observations are as follows:-

The statement that the current bridge is not suitable for rapid transit remains true. The proposals as shown for Programme Entry require the existing bridge to be rebuilt to accommodate the increased loading from BRT vehicles. Heritage considerations would mean, however, that the rebuilt bridge would look very much like the old one.

For BRT and Prince Street Bridge, three options were considered:-

· Rebuild the existing bridge to accommodate additional loads (this could include or exclude general traffic).

· Replace existing bridge with a wider bridge to provide segregation for BRT whilst allowing for general traffic.

· Install separate bridge for BRT alongside existing structure.

Following consultation and a review of costs, the first of these options was chosen and subsequently agreed by the Rapid Transit Project Board when approving the Programme Entry Bid.

I accept that it would have been helpful to have shared the revised plans with members. Unfortunately, the pressure of the bid deadline and also the change in administration reduced the opportunity to do this.

Having said that, Officer A is right to refer to the further public consultation that will be necessary as part of securing the Transport and Works Act order which authorises the powers (including planning issues) to implement the scheme. This provides further opportunities to review what is set out in the plan in the bid.

Any such changes that are considered will need to take account of their impact on the overall scheme objectives including their impact on adjacent parts of the network. In other words, additional or different engineering solutions at the bridge or in nearby locations may need to be considered.

There is a wider point. I would expect Programme Entry bids to be as near final as possible, but detailed design work and public consultation in the period up to conditional approval does provide the opportunity for change. In this case, that would be against the backcloth of serious cost pressures and the further value engineering that is envisaged.
So there we have it. Prince street Bridge will be used by the BRT bendy-buses, as first reported here back in October! I'll leave it to you to decide whether the obvious need to strengthen the bridge justifies the claim in WoEP's November Press Release that "The current bridge is not suitable for rapid transit. We may need to build a new bridge instead, either for the rapid transit, or for other vehicles as well as cyclists and pedestrians."

The WoEP officers continue to be evasive about the need to close Prince Street Bridge completely to general traffic, as well they might in the run up to the elections in June. Conservative leader Richard Eddy is already pledged to oppose any plans to close the bridge to cars and it is very likely to become an election issue.

The plan is to have BRT bendy buses passing over the single lane bridge at 2 minute intervals, to accommodate two BRT platforms just to the north of the bridge and to keep the area of Wapping Road by the Museum of Bristol clear for access to the busway running behind the museum, plus to accommodate heavy flows of cyclists and pedestrians. All that is simply incompatible with the continuing use of Prince Street Bridge by general traffic. For a start where could traffic queues be accommodated if the whole area from the Grove junction to the back of the museum needs to be kept clear for bendy-bus movements?

Here's another comment just posted by Cllr Mark Wright (Cabot) which is very pertinent.

Interesting that WoE seem to think that removing Redcliffe roundabout and moving Redcliffe Way is compatible with closing PSB to cars, as this seems to contradict the results of a piece of work by Halcrow on Temple Circus Gyratory and Portwall Lane.

Maybe they've managed to square the circle, in which case great - but I haven't been told that despite all the relevant officers knowing that I have an interest in the area...
Finally let's consider the comment posted by Bristol Dave on 11th April.
I have it on very good authority (and am waiting for proof to publish on my blog) that the designs for BRT over Prince Street bridge, from the very start in 2007, have always been to run the BRT over the existing bridge and these plans have never changed, despite WoEP press releases. There have also been no official plans or designs drawn up for a seperate bridge - despite what they said they were never even toying with the idea.
He hasn't published his "proof" yet but doesn't it ring true, considering all that has now been revealed? Let's remember whose watch all this happened under and note the commendable efforts of Cllr. Jon Rogers to change the culture in favour of openness and honesty.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Prince Street Bridge - More Evasion

At last the Bristol Evening Post has picked up on the story about the proposed closure of Prince Street Bridge to cars as part of the Bus Rapid Transit plans of the West of England Partnership. Despite the obvious evidence of their own published plans the West of England Partnership are still trying to pretend that nothing has been decided with this extraordinary comment from spokesperson Julia Dean-
"The idea is at a very early stage. Just because this idea has been put forward does not mean it will happen. We don't work out all the details before putting a bid in because you would never put in a bid."
So here we are with details published and a bid submitted for Government funding with the prospect of construction within a few years and they actually expect us to believe that it's still just a rough, back-of-the-envelope idea and they haven't even decided on such a key element and major cost item as whether a new bridge will be required at Prince Street.

Fellow blogger Stockwoodpete has also looked into this same issue in his more thorough and painstaking way and highlighted the contradictory position of the Conservatives on this issue. Their leader Richard Eddy has been a prominent opponent of the closure of Prince Street Bridge to cars over many years and confirmed for the Post -
"I would strongly oppose any design solution that would banish private traffic from using Prince Street Bridge."
Yet his Conservative colleague Cllr Barbara Lewis cancelled the Scrutiny Committee of the West of England Partnership which was due to sit yesterday and which could have asked pertinent questions.

The truth of course is that there is absolutely no chance of a new bridge at Prince Street and the BRT bendy-buses will have to use the existing bridge, possibly with some strengthening to take the weight and with the east side footway removed but otherwise unmodified. To allow BRT buses relatively free movement on the approaches to Prince Street Bridge, including stops on the north side and egress from the planned busway behind the new Museum of Bristol, requires that most other traffic is displaced. But of course in true Bristol Fashion that simple truth must be kept from the public for as long as possible, especially in the run up to local elections.

Later edit (12 noon) - Mark Bradshaw has kindly supplied a link to the report to Bristol City Council on 2nd February, item 7, which gives the general background, although on Prince Street Bridge it says little more than "the existing bridge will need to be modified or replaced to provide a crossing for Rapid Transit whilst retaining local access".

However the report on the initial consultation refers to concern expressed over the impact on Prince Street Bridge by English Heritage, Redcliffe Community Forum, Bristol Urban Design Forum, the City Urban Design Team (BCC Planning), the Harbour Master and an assortment of 'Environment Goups'. In addition the Broadmead Board favoured the removal of traffic from along The Cut and Prince Street Bridge.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Cycling City - a Constructive Suggestion

Just for a change I'm going to try making some constructive suggestions for Cycling City, which by its own admission lacks the "wow" factor that is considered so essential in today's image obsessed world. It seems that for all the money being thrown at Cycling City and the elapse of over 9 months Bristol City Council still can't seem to find anyone with vision and imagination to work on the project. The best they seem to be able to manage is to recycle long established cycle routes as new ones on the basis of some minor improvements.

What the project needs is some infrastructure developments that create new links that make cyclists' journeys quicker, pleasanter and more convenient. So here is a first of what may be a series of constructive suggestions for such links. I'm not expecting to get any credit for this, even less any payment (I wouldn't want to deprive all those parasitic consultants of their life blood). I do it, against my better judgement, because I just can't suppress my innate enthusiasm for cycling.

View Ashton Gate routes in a larger map

Let's start with the Sustrans Connect2 project (now part of Cycling City and shown in yellow above), which seems to be bogged down in futile attempts to establish a new or improved crossing of the Docks Entrance Lock by Brunel's old swivel bridge, despite the fact that the alignment bears little relationship to the 'desire line' of the majority of potential users and seems to be founded as a John Grimshaw vanity project to link his name to that of Brunel, comparisons with whom he is rather fond.

The 'desire line' for a route from Ashton Court, Long Ashton and points west to the city centre is, like most desire lines, an approximation of a straight line. The route needs to cross the River Avon and then the Cumberland Basin to feed into Hotwells, Cliftonwood and north Harbourside. The River Avon crossing is long established via the old Ashton Avenue Bridge (pictured below) so the question is which end of the Cumberland Basin to cross - the west Entrance Lock end (Brunel's bridge) or the east Junction Lock end (Merchants Road)?

If you're not an employee of Sustrans or the City Council it won't be too difficult to see that the Junction Lock end gives a route that much more closely approximates a straight line than the Entrance Lock end. So what we need is a direct link from the Ashton Avenue bridge to the Junction Lock. Fortunately there is a section of disused railway passing under Cumberland Road that does precisely that, as shown above in red and pictured below. All that is then required is a section of contraflow cycle route on Merchants Road to link up to Clifton and away we go.

My direct route is less than half the distance of the Sustrans Connect2 route and avoids the expense of a new/upgraded crossing of the Entrance Lock gates, using instead the existing swing bridge which will need some traffic management to achieve an appropriate standard for cyclists and an improved traffic environment in the vicinity of the Nova Scotia and Avon Crescent by diverting through traffic onto the Brunel Way flyover system, where it should be.

The redundant railway route through to Avon Crescent

It seems such an obvious link to make, yet both Sustrans and the City Council have become fixated on getting a new link over the entrance lock by the Brunel bridge which offers little advantage for most cyclists. Even the small proportion heading for the Portway from Ashton Avenue Bridge will find the distance via the junction Lock crossing less than 200 metres longer, well under a minute of cycling. One has to ask why such a basic analysis of the options seems to be beyond the wit of the so-called professionals.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Infrastructure or Old Rope?

Old habits die hard in Bristol City Council. Despite pledges from the new Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Jon Rogers, for a more open and honest regime, we find the stream of misleading press releases remains unabated. Take this simple report in today's Evening Post (which we must presume to be based on a Council Press release although nothing is shown at the time of posting on their site) under the headline "Plans for new Bristol cycle route"-
Views are being sought on plans to create a cycle link between Muller Road and Constable Road in Horfield. Bristol City Council is building a cycle route from the city centre to the north of the city as part of its £22.8-million Cycling City project. Work to build a path between St Werburgh’s and Muller Road has begun and the council has drawn up proposals for the route from Muller Road, through Petherbridge Way, along Dovercourt Road and into Constable Road.
Innocent sounding enough, but totally misleading. The cycle route "being built" by the City Council to the north of the city is not "new" at all but has existed and been in use by cyclists for decades. For the most part the work consists of improvements such as path widening and surface upgrades. Generally welcome stuff but hardly justification for claiming a "new cycle route". Even the "link" being "created" is not "between Muller Road and Constable Road" as claimed but is just 100 metres from Petherbridge Way (B&Q access) to Dovercourt Road. All the rest of the 1.2 km from Muller Road to Constable Road already exists.

Granted this short link at the bottom of Dovercourt Road could be useful if well designed (a big 'if'). It will save about 100 metres (about 30 seconds of travel time) compared to the nearest available existing route and may link more easily into the upgraded path from St Werburghs. The Council's own background paper gives a perfectly reasonable outline of the proposal so why not just announce it as a useful link rather than pretend it constitutes some major new route?

Sadly most of the proposed Cycling City infrastructure is of the same nature. A sprinkling of more or less useful links, new or upgraded, along existing cycle routes but talked up into being completely new cycle routes. How does this wilful misrepresentation fit with Jon Rogers' call for openness and honesty? Someone somewhere just isn't getting the message.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Prince Street Bridge - More Lies Confirmed

Way back in October of last year I suggested that the traffic restrictions on Prince Street Bridge were really being driven by the need to pave the way for its use by bendy-buses using the proposed BRT route from Ashton Vale To Temple Meads, saying that the BRT promoters, the West of England Partnership (alias Bristol City Council for practical purposes), had "let slip that they intend to remove one of the two footways in order to allow buses to cross".

In November Bristol Cycle Campaign, annoyed at cyclists being set up to take the flak for the bridge traffic restrictions when cyclists were not in fact benefiting, issued a Press Release which duly appeared in the Evening Post saying "The council have sneakily presented this bridge plan as something for cyclists, so that motorists will blame people on bikes for their loss of road space rather than the planned 'bendy-bus' route".

As reported on this blog at the time, The West of England Partnership retaliated with its own Press Release prompting an Evening Post headline "New harbour bridge for Bristol's rapid transit bus route" and a story suggesting that the buses would use a new bridge alongside the existing one. They seemed most anxious to scotch our suggestion that the BRT buses would use Prince Street Bridge. Even as recently as February this year the Evening Post were still reporting, at the behest of WoEP, that a new bridge would be provided for BRT or at least the existing bridge would be widened.

But WoEP have now quietly published their BRT plans. And guess what - they're going to use the eastern half of Prince Street Bridge for two-way bus traffic, inevitably removing the footway and diverting pedestrians onto the exclusively pedestrian west side, just as we said they would all those months ago (and contrary to their claims that a new bridge would be built). The detailed plan is here. Now the whole thing makes sense - the shuttle signals, the closure of one side to traffic, the bizarre arrangements for cyclists - all to accommodate BRT but paid for out of the Cycling City budget.

As for cyclists it looks as if we may lose out big time. According to the plan we will be confined to sharing the eastern half with the buses and therefore controlled by the traffic signals in both directions. Bus movements are expected to occur on average every 6 minutes in each direction so interruptions to cycle flows could be frequent. There is also the question of the safety of cyclists forced to share with long bendy-buses in the narrow confines of the bridge approaches and the likelihood of cyclists using the pedestrian side to avoid delays and conflict with the bendy-buses.

Thanks to Forest Pines for tipping me off to the published info and whose own comments are worth a read.

Also try here to envisage a bendy-bus on the bridge!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

My Council .... tells Porkies

"My Council" (that's that lot at the Council House) have been really generous in paying for free bus travel for our senior citizens. At least that's what you would might have thought if you saw this poster displayed prominently in our streets a couple of months ago.

But doesn't the Government pay for the bulk of the cost of the bus passes? In which case wasn't it a bit disingenuous of "Our city" to refer to "Our free bus pass" when the funding comes via central government? This was put out under Labour so perhaps they thought that the Labour controlled City Council could legitimately claim credit for the actions of the Labour government.

The poster seems to have disappeared from circulation now that the Lib-Dems are in charge so perhaps somebody thought that the spurious justification no longer applied. I wonder if the Advertising Standards Authority would be interested in adjudicating on whether the Council was guilty of transgressing the CAP code (honesty) - " Marketeers should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers."

As an aside, on March 10th I asked the Council's Public Transport Team what contribution the Council made towards the overall cost of free bus passes. A simple enough question with a simple answer, one might think. But my request was referred to an accountant, who failed to supply any information (or even to reply despite reminders). It seems that Councillor Jon Rogers' new policy of openness and honesty has not permeated down to the Public Transport Team, who appear still to be living in the "we know best - mind your own business" era of NuLabour.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Salami Tactics Triumph

With yesterday's decision to grant Planning Permission to the redevelopment of the Chocolate Factory in Greenbank the long-running "Red Trousergate" saga appears to be drawing to a close, much to the relief of George Ferguson. All that remains is the decision by the Council to sell the "completely pointless" strip of Railway Path land to the developer, Squarepeg. Despite the expensive public consultation exercise which demonstrated popular opposition to the sale that decision to sell must now be a mere formality.

Geoge Ferguson - red trousered egotist?

So it is perhaps timely to recap and ask what lessons are to be learnt from this saga. The Railway Path through East Bristol occupies some prime development land, not only because the land is a linear strip suitable for transport uses. Even relatively small slices can be added to other adjacent land holdings to make sufficient space for a terrace of houses, as George Ferguson has so ably demonstrated.

Being George, he likes to make out that these narrow terraces are some new concept, but all he's done is copied what was done a few years earlier just up the road on the narrow strip between the Path and Greenbank Road. Only he took it a stage further by dispensing with the need to provide land for even the modest gardens of the Greenbank Road houses, using the Railway Path itself as a kind of communal garden instead.

So what was conceived by the desire to squeeze as much housing and car parking as possible into the margins of the site was subsequently born as "cycle houses", narrow and tall terraces with integral garages but without gardens, space for cars taking priority over space for people as ever. Even the the supposedly innovative idea of the houses facing two ways (a natural for George?) was borrowed from the 1960s Radburn housing of nearby Yate.

Insensitive development has already been allowed at other locations including Clay Bottom and Fishponds. More will be in the pipeline as pressure to urbanise every scrap of green space in our city increases. But the "cycle houses" up the ante since they give developers the pretext to encroach on the Railway Path in way that wouldn't otherwise have been feasible. Anywhere with road access on one side and the Path on the other is now vulnerable, even if the land in between is an embankment slope. There are many such locations in east Bristol.

Green space or development potential?

The lesson seems to be that the ever present threat to the integrity of the Railway Path can manifest itself as lots of small cuts, salami tactics, gradually urbanising the Path, subtly changing it from the linear country park that it is today. These threats need to be challenged just as energetically as the more obvious threats from grandiose rapid transit schemes. The present saga has shown very clearly that we cannot rely on the City Council or even quangos like Sustrans to protect the Path from such threats.

Airport Expansion under the Spotlight

At last night's full Council meeting of Bristol City Council the following motion, tabled by Bristol's only Green Councillor Charlie Bolton, was debated.
This Council does not believe that expansion of Bristol International Airport is necessary for the economic success of Bristol, nor does it believe it is compatible with the target of 80% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions introduced by the Climate Change Act 2008.....

As expected the motion was supported by the Lib-Dems but then defeated by a Labour 'wrecking amendment' which was voted through with Conservative support. A familiar pattern, mirroring the events of exactly one year ago when Charlie's motion to 'save the Railway Path' was supported by the Lib-Dems and then defeated by a Labour wrecking amendment supported by the Tories.

However these debates are by no means a waste of time. On each occasion the overall agenda moves forward a few more inches. The Green Party position gains credibility, the Lib-Dems move towards a greener agenda, the Labour Party are exposed as fundamentally anti-environmental (clumsy word that) and the Conservatives are shown to be largely bereft of environmental awareness despite Cameron's efforts.

Whether such inching forward will lead us to a sustainable model of social and economic organisation in time to avert the worst effects of Climate Change is doubtful, but change for the most part consists of such modest adjustments. We either support it, ignore it or oppose it. So let's give credit to those who have supported change in this case, to Charlie Bolton for tabling the motion and to the Lib-Dems for supporting it.

I was planning to continue this post with an exploration of the issues, but they are too complex to be touched on lightly. Don't underestimate the difficulty of this issue for politicians, especially those appealing for support from a broader constituency than the Green Party. Few of us have not taken advantage of the opportunities for cheap and fast travel afforded by Bristol Airport and many of us regard it as our gateway to the wider world. The contradictions with sustainability cannot any longer be brushed aside.