On Wednesday 7th December from 10.30am Chris gave evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee. This was a public session in The Thatcher Room, Portculllis House, it was live streamed and is still available to watch on Parliament Live. As part of their current Inquiry into Disability and the Built Environment the Committee has asked: “to what extent do shared space schemes in roads and highways cause barriers for disabled people and how can these be resolved? A major advocate of shared space in the UK, Ben Hamilton Baillie also gave evidence.
Surveyor Transport Network were in the audience and reported on the Chartered Institution of Highway Engineers (CIHT) announcement that they believed there was still much to be done by government to improve the situation.
Chris is delighted to be appointed as non-executive director at Channel 4. During his time as Director at London 2012 he worked closely with Channel 4 on the paralympic broadcast deal and memorably on the award winning “Meet the Superhumans” Campaign. He has spoken powerfully about the importance of that campaign in delivering one of the most enduring legacies of the London Paralympics in raising awareness, connecting with people and ultimately changing attitudes to people with disabilities.
Chris said “I feel passionately about the power of Channel 4s public service remit which encompasses a commitment to being innovative and distinctive, reflecting cultural diversity, championing alternative points of view and inspiring change in people’s lives and am honoured to play a part in such an important and beloved cultural institution.”
Chris welcomes reports that the government are looking at ways to end the unfair system of unpaid internships. Internships are often offered to recent graduates as a way of gaining valuable work experience but clearly exclude those unable to work for free. Alec Shelbrooke MP has campaigned on this issue and is set to introduce his second Private Members Bill aiming to ban the practice by introducing an explicit four week limit to unpaid work experience. Chris introduced the same Private Members Bill to the House of Lords in June 2016.
The Economist, Unpaid Internships are coming under fire in Britain.
The Mail Online, Theresa May is set to ban internships in latest Cameron snub.
Chris welcomes the Women and Equalities Committee’s decision to conduct an inquiry into disability and the built environment. The inquiry will ask whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces. In particular they ask whether shared space schemes in roads and highways cause barriers for disabled people and how can these be resolved. Chris did some filming with BBC Breakfast in Sloane Square and they also sent cameras to Poynton to draw attention to the inquiry. You can see Chris’s evidence here and follow the inquiry through the committee’s website.
The terms of reference for the inquiry include:
Design and management of the public realm
- Are the needs of all groups given adequate consideration in the design of streets, highways, parks and publicly accessible open spaces and in the provision of services such as public toilets?
- To what extent do shared space schemes in roads and highways cause barriers for disabled people and how can these be resolved?
- What opportunities are there for delivering greater accessibility and inclusivity alongside more age-friendly towns and cities, including liaison with the NHS?
The Times, “Shared spaces for drivers and pedestrians ‘are causing chaos'”, October 24th 2016.
Evening Standard, “Roads shared by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers ’cause chaos’, government report finds”, October 24th 2016.
Chris joined transport bosses in Manchester to formally launch new equipment on the city’s free Metroshuttle service. Chris was delighted to support the launch observing that the improvements are a fantastic way of ensuring the city’s transport network is more accessible.
The Department for Transport’s Green Bus Fund and Transport for Greater Manchester funded the 20 Optare low carbon buses that operate on the Manchester Metroshuttle routes. Transport for Greater Manchester paid for them to be retrofitted with brand new passenger information screens, making travel easier for passengers with visual or hearing impairments.
The 19-inch high-resolution screens provide automatic audio and visual announcements for passengers on aspects of the journey such as the route plan and the next stop, as well as places of interest and nearby businesses. The technology was fitted by contractors McKenna Brothers working with the charity Guide Dogs UK.
Chris was given a guided trip on one of the buses to experience the new technology for himself and he was delighted to congratulate Transport for Greater Manchester for the initiative which will mean people living with visual or hearing impairments can feel more confident in travelling independently. Chris has spoken in Parliament on the importance of talking buses during debates on the Bus Services Bill.
Just over two weeks before the Rio Paralympics began I wrote in The Times that “the Rio 2016 organising committee in Brazil has given a flagrant two-finger salute to the Paralympics. The Games will, sadly, be remembered for abject failure — save for the sensational performances of the athletes, no doubt, who will be forced to compete in adversity with venues closed and service levels slashed.” Was my prediction correct?
Presenting a medal to Oliver Hynd MBE
Presenting a medal to Ellie Simmonds
In Channel 4 studio
On air with Libby Clegg and Clare Balding