I'm not sure if the practice reduces the Echo's carbon footprint, but they certainly recycled an old story about Pedestrian Heart on the front page of the Advertiser tonight.
It was a rehash of the old cyclists vs. disabled people potboiler, hung on the peg that cycling is going to be allowed in the Pedestrian Heart zone after a six-month trial once the work is complete. This is very old news, and it's a shame the Echo used it as an opportunity to run a "row" story involving the town's growing number of cyclists.
In fact, the issue which was the spark for this was more interesting, but perhaps a bit technical for an Advertiser splash - some of the signing has been confusing for cyclists in the PH zone, and it is taking a little time for the new Orders to be processed. You can read Mike McTimoney's accounts here and here on the Bike Darlington website, which helpfully includes clarification from Town Hall officers.
I am confident that it is and will continue to be safe for cyclists and pedestrians to share the Pedestrian Heart area. This works well in several towns and cities around the country. The clinching argument for me was simply to look at the accident clusters around the ring road, particularly near or on the roundabouts, which involved cyclists. If Darlington is serious about improving road safety and promoting cycling, allowing bikes to share the PH area makes sense, providing that cyclist ride responsibly. Many months after the shared use scheme began, no accidents have been reported to me.