Ban on Petrol and Diesel cars will impact Disabled drivers

The UK Government are planning to ban selling new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. This is good for the planet but we need them to look at how it could impact on the community of Disabled people. Research shows that Disabled motorists are not aware of the coming changes and not ready for the change to electric vehicles. Many think it won’t affect them and that an electric vehicle is not suitable for their needs.

For many Disabled drivers their cars provide freedom, mobility and help to make things fairer. Disabled drivers are familiar with their local petrol stations and work out how to fuel up efficiently. Many electric vehicle charging points are currently inaccessible. There is not enough space for wheelchair users around the charge point and the have heavy cables. 40% of households will not have the access at their homes to have a charging point put in.

The government needs to consult Disabled people about the change to electric vehicles so that it does not stop their ability to travel freely by car. They also need to make public transport and pavements accessible.

Dan White, DR UK Policy and Campaigns Officer, said:

“We would also like to see manufacturers and conversion companies work together, so that workable and inclusive environmental solutions can be found to all issues around EV and the Disabled community”

Disabled motoring UK are researching the issue and want survey participants. To help please visit: https://www.disabledmotoring.org/campaigns/access-to-ev

For more information on barriers Disabled people face using electric vehicles visit: https://www.motability.org.uk/impact-and-innovation/innovation/electric-vehicle-project/

5 things green space deprivation means for Disabled people

Last year Friends of the Earth supported us with a workshop on nature access for Disabled people. Mary Stevens wrote this blog after that we are now sharing.

“I’m surprised the gap’s not much bigger. I only live a few metres from the park and I’ve not been there this year”.  – Workshop participant 

Recently I presented our findings from work we commissioned to explore the ‘green space gap’ for Disabled people in Bristol.  This builds on work we did last year to look at the links between green space and deprivation , with particular focus on access to nature for people of colour.  The report’s findings were stark – but it didn’t use a disability lens.  At the same time we know that disabled people have been very hard hit by the pandemic – and that spending time in green space has been a huge part of personal wellbeing strategies for many people.  So with the help of mapping specialist Brittany Pugh we decided to explore the problem at a local level.  We asked whether Disabled people are disproportionately nature-deprived, even when other deprivation factors are taken into account? 

How to make sure that climate plans work for disabled people

We saw another opportunity too.  Bristol Disability Equality Forum  is part of a Community Climate Action Project  for Bristol, funded by the National Lottery.  Six communities are developing plans to put local people at the heart of the climate transition.  But the data they had all been provided about their footprints, and where they could have the most impact, didn’t include nature.

At Friends of the Earth we are interested in how we can bring the nature and climate narratives more closely together, and how people can incorporate information about green space and biodiversity into their plans.  By supporting BDEF with information about green space, maybe we could learn what works and help them achieve their goal of “making sure that the city’s climate plans are fair and good for Disabled people.”  

This isn’t just about enabling disabled people to spend time in nature, although that’s very important.  The extreme heat and floods that we have seen across Europe in recent weeks are a reminder that climate change is a life-and-death matter – and not just in the distant future.  Disabled people are additionally vulnerable to both overheating and flood risks.  Strategies that use urban greening to address these risks are key to enabling the community to adapt to more volatile future weather patterns and save lives.  So how did community members respond? 

5 things we learned about accessing nature 

Our report could only really look at proximity to public green space.  It didn’t look at other access barriers such as wheelchair accessibility, appropriate parking or issues like overcrowding.  The participants all agreed the problem is much worse than the data can show.  

During the pandemic disabled people have spent even less time in nature than before.  But this isn’t just about vulnerability to Covid (as I had assumed).  It’s also about the cognitive load.  We all understand this on some level: social arrangements during Covid have just got more complicated (How many people can we meet?  Who’s hugging and who isn’t?  Will I have to wear a mask?  What if other people don’t?  What if it rains?) but for disabled people this adds to an already high burden of questions about access.  It’s just too much.  And this is a vicious circle: confidence and comfort zones shrink together.  One participant told us the only place she’d been in 18 months was the supermarket, because at least she knew she could park and get her wheelchair out of her vehicle there. 

Accessibility isn’t just about physical space: paths, toilets, parking etc.  For volunteering it’s also about adapted tools, or the availability of personal assistance for these activities.  And for food growing it’s not just about gardening: it’s about support for harvesting, processing and storing the produce too (where would I put the spare jars of jam if I couldn’t reach the top shelf, I wonder?).  

When Disabled people do volunteer, they don’t want their contribution to be all about how to make a space more accessible.  They just want to get stuck in with activities like everyone else.  “Just being able to turn up, and that being OK, that’s the dream.” (Participants didn’t mind giving feedback once they were involved – but they do not want to be unpaid consultants on access).  And they don’t want segregated activities either – or at least not as the only option.  

They don’t always want to have the ‘careful’ experience.  The gentle trail round the flat bit in the National Trust garden, for example.  Spending time in nature is an immersive experience and they want to be allowed sometimes to get hot, or cold, or wet, or tired – to feel fully alive.  This is challenging for venues, who are conscious of their responsibility to manage risk – but what if this was seen as a more collaborative process with disabled people voicing their own limits, rather than venues assuming they need to manage out all the risk.

From access to nature to being in nature

So what are some of the solutions?  There are of course lots of ways in which green spaces can improve their offer, some of them very cheap (for example, does your website or other promotional material provide the information disabled people need?).

Walking apps like Go Jauntly  already allow contributors to indicate step-free routes.  What additional information might be useful and could green space managers collaborate more with these independent services?

In some places one small infrastructure change could unlock much wider areas (when one of the participants talked about the gutter that acts as a wheel trap in the Frome Valley I knew exactly where she meant).  Is Fix My Street  part of the answer?  

Gutter creating a wheel trap outside park entrance: Bristol Disability Equality Forum

And we can all design activities with a much wider range of user needs in mind.  One idea was to increase the visibility of the opportunities that already exist, perhaps through videos.  Southmead Hospital NHS trust has a fully accessible community allotment, with regular volunteering opportunities.  Why not make some films that show Disabled people just doing stuff there?  The same could apply to some of the local Wildlife Trust’s sites. 

But what if instead of supporting Disabled people to ‘access nature’ we all worked to bring nature closer to home?  What support do they need to increase the biodiversity of their window sills, gardens, street corners?  How might we support them to create living environments that provide habitats and address air quality and over-heating risks?  Container fruit trees, vines growing over driveways, wildflowers on the verges.  It’s all possible in a city where the boundaries between ‘green’ and other spaces are more blurred and we’re learning to live with, not seek to dominate, the natural world.  

And what if the supermarket is the only place disabled people are accessing?  Then why not create accessible allotments in raised beds in car parks?  Fruit trees between parking bays.  This approach also has the benefit of raising awareness of the seasonality and the supply chain – for everyone.  

Inclusive futures 

The biggest thing I took away from the sharing session however was a perspective shift.  The idea that disabled people can make brilliant design team members because they are practiced in problem-solving and lateral thinking was not new to me.  But I hadn’t previously considered how much disabled people can teach us about the future we need to design for.  

In 2007 the UNDP wrote “climate change will exacerbate inequalities within countries.  It challenges us to think about what it means to live as part of an ecologically interdependent human community.”[1]  But as academics Sue Porter and David Abbott have highlighted, interconnectedness and interdependence are not new experiences for disabled people.[2]  The pandemic, with the burgeoning of mutual aid groups, opened a window to one aspect of the world we need to build if we are to sustain each other in a future disrupted by climate change.  The instinctive understanding that energy and resources – human and natural – are not limitless is also a valuable perspective that many disabled people bring.   

What next 

BDEF is working up its action plan and will hopefully incorporate some of the ideas we explored together.

We will aim to make sure the findings of the research reach a wider audience and can help with decisions about which areas of the city to prioritise in green space developments.

Finally, if you’d like to help us develop any of the concepts here further – from climate-adapted gardening for disabled people to the edible parking space – please get in touch.    

·  1United Nations Development Programme. 2007. Human Development Report 2007/2008 Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World. Hampshire & New York: Palgrave Macmillan. http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/268/hdr_2007200 

·  2David Abbott & Sue Porter (2013) Environmental hazard and disabled people: from vulnerable to expert to interconnected, Disability & Society, 28:6, 839-852.

Storm Eunice – branch line closures, speed restrictions and reduced service levels tomorrow


Due to the red storm warning there will be significant changes to rail services from 0400 tomorrow morning.

This is expected to last throughout the day, and will mean branch line closures in Cornwall, Devon and Bristol. There will be 50mph speed restrictions, and services will be reduced by 50%.

Customers are being asked to check their journey before setting out. This can be done through Journey Check on journeycheck.com/GreatWesternRailway

We are also accepting tomorrow’s rail tickets for travel over the weekend or on Monday, and we will issue full refunds to anyone choosing not to travel.

We will need to review and check for any damage before re-opening and there could therefore be further delays and changes to services on Friday evening and Saturday.

Weather Warning and Disruption

Since this morning the forecast for coastal areas in the South West (including Bristol) and South Wales has got a lot worse with the Met Office now forecasting winds in these areas, between 7am and noon,  could be up to 90mph.  This means there is a greater chance of falling trees and flying debris, which can affect our network if they make contact.

Operations Director Graham Halladay said: “If members of the public see fallen lines I would urge them to stay well clear and ring 105. A fallen power line could still be live and can deliver a fatal shock. Our staff have the training and equipment to deal with the impact of storms and the work should be left to them.”

If you have a power cut and need extra support, please call Western Power Distribution (not your energy supplier) on 0800 032 0311 at any time.

Job Opportunity- Project ASSISTANT – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project)

Closes: 3 Jan 2022 

Bath, Newton Park Campus 

£11,424 per annum, pro rata of £22,847 per annum Fixed term & Part time 

bath-spa-university/20211214164708


An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Project Assistant to join a team of disability activists and researchers at Bath Spa University. The team has been awarded £1million from the Wellcome Trust to develop a research network in South West England currently called ‘We Are The People’. 

Job Title: Project Assistant – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project)

Location: Newton Park, Bath 

Rate of Pay: £11,424 per annum, pro rata of £22,847 per annum

Contract: Fixed Term Contract until July 2026

Hours: Part Time, 18.5 hours per week

Closing Date: 12 midnight GMT, 3 January 2021



About the role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Project Assistant to join a team of disability activists and researchers at Bath Spa University. The team has been awarded £1million from the Wellcome Trust to develop a research network in South West England currently called ‘We Are The People’. 

The role involves providing administrative support to the research network. The postholder will be responsible for day-to-day administrative tasks such as event planning (organising meetings, booking travel and accommodation), processing financial claim forms, fielding questions from the general public, supporting the provision of reasonable adjustments, data-entry, liaising with university staff, as well as external partners such as disabled people’s organisations.  

The Project Assistant will liaise closely with the Project Manager, building on their project management skills to aid potential future career development. As such, this is an excellent opportunity for a candidate who is keen to learn and develop professional skills in project administration.

This is a fixed term post (funded until July 2026) to support the activities of an emerging disability research network. The right candidate must be willing to be flexible in terms of duties and responsibilities as the needs of the network emerges over time.


About you (requirements)

You will have a passion for disability equality, social justice, and research-led change.   You will have excellent administrative experience and organisational skills, strong financial administration skills, and an ability to support an emerging research network. You will have experience of working with diverse groups of disabled people, with an ability to communicate to different groups. You will have a good working knowledge of relevant policies and practices (e.g, Equality Act 2010) and make operational ‘reasonable adjustments’. This role involves supporting the organisations of events that may be geographically dispersed. You must have a proactive and positive attitude to work, and ability to work collaboratively with the core team of researchers, take direction from a project manager, and sometimes work independently. 


About us

Bath Spa University is focused on creative enterprise and guided by our four values of respect, inclusivity, collaboration and sustainability. We teach around 8,000 students on a set of campuses around Bath, with most being located at Newton Park, including a listed Georgian house and grounds, or Locksbrook Road, our new city-centre art and design campus.  Our research centres focus on creative industries and humanities.

Our purpose is to challenge our students and staff to realise their talent and thrive, for their own benefit and for the wider good. By doing this we will think and make the world better.


For an informal discussion regarding this post, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Ben Simmons via b.simmons@bathspa.ac.uk  


Interview Date: 26th and 27th January 2021


How to apply

Project ASSISTANT – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project) in Bath, Newton Park Campus | Evenbreak | Accessible job search site for disabled people

For further information or to apply on-line please visit the Bath Spa University jobs page at https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/work-at-bath-spa/current-vacancies-at-bath-spa/. Please note that CVs will not be considered and those included with application forms will be removed.  Any queries regarding the application process or our website should be emailed to hrcontact@bathspa.ac.uk.


Please note that we use anonymous shortlisting therefore request that you do not include any personal details or reference to protected characteristics (such as gender, age or race) when completing your supporting statement.


We offer excellent facilities and benefits to our staff.  These include a nursery, pension scheme, flexible working practices, an employee assistance programme, and family-friendly policies


Please note this role is not eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route.

We value a diverse workforce and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Given the nature of the We Are The People project, we would particularly welcome applications from disabled people or carers of disabled people.

Job Opportunity – Project Manager – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project)

Closes: 3 Jan 2022 

Bath, Newton Park Campus 

£20,582 – £23,152 per annum, pro rata of £34,304 – £38,587 Fixed term & Part time

 bath-spa-university/20211214163907


An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced project manager to join a team of disability activists and researchers at Bath Spa University. The team has been awarded £1million from the Wellcome Trust to develop a research network in South West England currently entitled ‘We Are The People’. The network has funds to run for five years.

Job Title: Project Manager – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project) 

Location: Newton Park, Bath

Rate of Pay: £20,582 – £23,152 per annum, pro rata of £34,304 – £38,587

Contract: Fixed Term Contract until July 2026

Hours: Part Time, 22.2 hours per week

Closing Date: 12 midnight GMT, 3 January 2022




About the role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for an experienced project manager to join a team of disability activists and researchers at Bath Spa University. The team has been awarded £1million from the Wellcome Trust to develop a research network in South West England currently entitled ‘We Are The People’. The network has funds to run for five years.

The Project Manager will lead on the operational delivery and work closely with the Principal and Co-Investigators in ensuring the successful delivery of the project. The postholder will have a passion for disability equality and wider social justice, and play a central role in the project that includes leading on financial expenditure and resource planning, leading on the provision of reasonable adjustments, developing and maintaining an extensive research network, managing complex data sets, organising events across South West England, working with diverse external partners, line managing a project administrator, and ensuring the smooth operation of the project on a day-to-day basis, as well as post-award administration.

This is a fixed term post (funded until July 2026) to support the activities of an emerging disability research network. The right candidate must be willing to be flexible in terms of duties and responsibilities as the needs of the network emerges over time.


About you (requirements)

You will have extensive experience of project management, a passion for disability equality and wider social justice and research-led change, and extensive experience of working in the disability sector. You will have substantial experience of managing finances for large bids, collecting, analysing and reporting data sets, an ability to lead on the organisation and delivery of events across a large geographic area, excellent interpersonal skills, a strong ability to communicate with diverse groups of disabled people, and confidence with regards to working for an evolving research network. This post offers opportunities for self-identified staff development, and will require the postholder to line manage a project assistant.


About us

Bath Spa University is focused on creative enterprise and guided by our four values of respect, inclusivity, collaboration and sustainability. We teach around 8,000 students on a set of campuses around Bath, with most being located at Newton Park, including a listed Georgian house and grounds, or Locksbrook Road, our new city-centre art and design campus.  Our research centres focus on creative industries and humanities.

Our purpose is to challenge our students and staff to realise their talent and thrive, for their own benefit and for the wider good. By doing this we will think and make the world better.

For an informal discussion regarding this post, please contact the project’s Principal Investigator, Dr Ben Simmons via b.simmons@bathspa.ac.uk  


Interview Date: 26th and 27th January 2021

How to apply

Project Manager – We are The People (Wellcome Trust funded project) in Bath, Newton Park Campus | Evenbreak | Accessible job search site for disabled people


For further information or to apply on-line please visit the Bath Spa University jobs page at https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/work-at-bath-spa/current-vacancies-at-bath-spa/. Please note that CVs will not be considered and those included with application forms will be removed.  Any queries regarding the application process or our website should be emailed to hrcontact@bathspa.ac.uk.

Please note that we use anonymous shortlisting therefore request that you do not include any personal details or reference to protected characteristics (such as gender, age or race) when completing your supporting statement.


We offer excellent facilities and benefits to our staff.  These include a nursery, pension scheme, flexible working practices, an employee assistance programme, and family-friendly policies


Please note this role is not eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route.


We value a diverse workforce and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Given the nature of the We Are The People project, we would particularly welcome applications from disabled people or carers of disabled people.

Omicron Look Out For New Signs

A new coronvirus is spreading fast.

Look out for different signs: aches and pains, headache, tiredness, sore throat.

Most people get less ill with Omicron. But it is spreading so fast it may be a problem this winter. Get your booster for the best protection.

Don’t spread it: wash your hands a lot, keep social distancing, wear a face mask, open windows for fresh air.

Booking a booster

Two doses of vaccine will not protect you. All adults can now get a third booster jab.

Phone 119 or your GP.

Book online: bit.ly/bookabooster You will need your NHS number.

You can ask someone to help you. A carer may book you in. Or you may get a phone call or a text message from ‘NHSvaccine’.

There are some walk-in centres where you don’t need to book.

Text: Omicron. Look out for new signs. A new coronvirus is spreading fast. Look out for different signs: aches and pains, headache, tiredness, sore throat. Most people get less ill with Omicron. But it is spreading so fast it may be a problem this winter. Get your booster for the best protection. Don’t spread it: wash your hands a lot, keep social distancing, wear a face mask, open windows for fresh air. Image: People looking out over Earth with viruses flying around. Graphics explaining instructions.
Text: The Omnicron virus is spreading fast. Two doses of vaccine will not protect you. all adults can now get a third booster jab. Phone 119 or your GP. Book online: bit.ly/bookabooster You will need your NHS number. You can ask someone to help you. A carer may book you in. Or you may get a phone call or a text message from ‘NHSvaccine’. There are some walk-in centres where you don’t need to book. Images: people getting boosters.

Self-isolating Support Payment Scheme

Following the changes to the rules about  self-isolating on Monday 16 August, under 18s and those who are double vaccinated no longer have to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who has (or thinks they may have) COVID-19. 

You should still self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test (a test that is sent to the lab) as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

You also have to self-isolate if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19. 

If you do have to self-isolate and are on a low income you can still apply for a NHS Test and Trace Support Payment.

To get a payment you must –

  1. Be in low paid employment or self-employment,
  2. Have a job you cannot do from home, and
  3. Will lose income because you are self-isolating.

You must also be getting at least one of these benefits –

  1. Universal Credit,
  2. Working Tax Credit,
  3. Income Related Employment and Support Allowance,
  4. Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance,
  5. Income Support,
  6. Housing Benefit, 
  7. Pension Credit.

This scheme will give people on a low income whose wages are reduced because they have to  self-isolate up to £500.

If you do not qualify but would like to know more about other support available, you can:

  1. see Bristol City Council’s Get help page,
  2. call 0800 694 0184, 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.



StopSIM Coalition Petition

#StopSIM – Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM and conduct an independent review”

This petition was started by the StopSIM Coalition.  They are a group of mental health service users, survivors and allies calling on NHS England to halt the development and rollout of ‘Serenity Integrated Mentoring’ (SIM), created by the ‘High Intensity Network’ (HIN), with immediate effect, and to conduct an independent review.

They believe that SIM is an unacceptable step backwards in disability justice and has the effect of criminalising mental distress/illness. We share their concerns and ask you to sign this petition, calling on NHS England to:

  1. Halt the rollout and delivery of SIM with immediate effect, as well as interventions operating under a different name, which are associated with the High Intensity Network (HIN).
  2. Conduct an independent review and evaluation of SIM in regards to its evidence base, safety, legality, ethics, governance and acceptability to service users.”

Read the information accompanying the petition and sign it by clicking here.

Big Changes for Bristol

Big changes are coming to Bristol over the next 9 years. These will include changes to transport, housing and jobs.


Please share and fill out our survey by April 14th to help us understand your priorities. Your answers will shape our response to the changes. Survey here.

You must identify as Disabled and live or work in Bristol to fill it in.

Thank you for your help.