VOTE 2015

The views of candidates standing to be elected as MPs

We asked all the candidates we know of in Feltham constituency and Brentford constituency the following questions:

1 Given the seriousness of childhood obesity, which is more serious in Hounslow than in many other London areas, what policy change would you like the Department of Transport to make to ensure that safe active travel amongst children is given utmost priority?

2 At the moment, for every £100 spent by the Department of Transport, only 71pence is spent on cycling infrastructure. How would this change if you were elected?

3 Would you pledge to spend £10 per head on cycling infrastructure as proposed in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report?

4 How will you work to ensure British law incorporates presumed liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians, as is the case in many European countries?

5 Do you support greater use of dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles?

Response from Conservative party candidates: Simon Nayyar and Mary Macleod.

No response received yet.

Response from Labour party candidates: Seema Malhotra and Ruth Cadbury.

Ruth Cadbury:

I’m a regular cyclist, long-time member of LCC.  I was pleased to promote cycling and safe cycle facilities when I was lead member for Environment and Transport on Hounslow Council from 2002-4 and Hounslow’s record is one of the best of outer London boroughs.  I had the pleasure of doing some policy project work for SUSTRANS in around 2007/8 and am keen, if elected, to continue to support and promote cycling.

I’m not going to be specific about the answers to questions, as I don’t have the power to change party policy.  However I’m keen to do what I can to work within the party and parliamentary structures to forward positive policies and action to increase cycling and make it safer.

I would support an increased proportion of transport funding to be spent on cycling as the cost-benefit is clearly there, and also all proven physical improvements in road infrastructure and whatever it takes to improve road culture.

Response from Green party candidates: Tony Firkins and Daniel Goldsmith.

1 Given the seriousness of childhood obesity, which is more serious in Hounslow than in many other London areas, what policy change would you like the Department of Transport to make to ensure that safe active travel amongst children is given utmost priority?

Not only do walking and cycling create less noise and pollution, but they are intrinsically healthy activities.  We concur with the LCC assessment that despite the small risk of collisions, the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of 20.  However, the casualty figures for cycling are still far too high and we support the following detailed policy changes:

Road layout

We will introduce dedicated cycle lanes which are wide enough and are continuous, rather than petering out at the most inconvenient point.  We will redesign many junctions to make them safer for all cyclists and pedestrians, including children.

In residential streets, priority will be given to residents, particularly in its use as part of their outdoor living space. Residents would be involved from the outset in the redesigning of these, and a far greater percentage of the funding of roads will be diverted to these works. This redesign will go beyond the use of current speed reducing measures to more effective redesigns to increase pedestrian space and restrict vehicle carriageway, with physical features effectively limiting speed of vehicles to 10m.p.h., while making the environment more inviting to pedestrians.

As policies on reducing journeys made by motor vehicles start to take effect, the Green Party will actively seek to reallocate road space away from traffic and parking to more sustainable uses, primarily to give priority to more sustainable modes of transport but also for other non-transport sustainable uses.

Lorries

We support the LCC calls to change the safety culture of the transport industry by awareness training for lorry drivers, more driver responsibility, safer lorry design, better operational practices by lorry operators.

20mph speed limits

We support 20mph speed limits in built up areas to calm the traffic.

Cycle training

We will increase cycle training not only for children but also for lorry drivers and professionals involved in the planning of transport infrastructure.  Training for children in all practices relating to cycle use, for example, riding and maintenance, will become an integral part of the education system, and will be supported by the provision of safe places for children to learn to cycle.

Walking bus

The Green Party supports the ‘walking bus’ method of accompanying smaller children to and from school.

Parking enforcement

Stricter enforcement of parking and other violation of cycle facilities by motor vehicles will be undertaken. Where legitimate uses of cycle facilities by other vehicles takes place, for example, servicing adjacent properties, any opportunities to provide for these elsewhere will be given priority.

2 At the moment, for every £100 spent by the Department of Transport, only 71pence is spent on cycling infrastructure. How would this change if you were elected?

The Green Party would prioritise walking and cycling over other modes of transport as a matter of policy.  This would be at the heart of our analysis of all transport issues.  We will spend a much higher percentage on cycling infrastructure.

Under Green Party policy TR112 there would be no new road building or widening schemes implemented except for essential access. A review of all proposed schemes would be eventually undertaken once the necessary measures, as outlined below, have been introduced, with the assumption that these will then be all deemed unnecessary.

3 Would you pledge to spend £10 per head on cycling infrastructure as proposed in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report?

I personally pledge to spend this amount if elected.  I am not sure if this is official Green Party policy.

4 How will you work to ensure British law incorporates presumed liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians, as is the case in many European countries?

The Green Party Policy TR156 calls for the introduction of “proportional liability” (also known as “stricter liability”) for road users, which acknowledges that the duty of care for one’s actions when using the road should be proportional to the degree of danger that you impose on other road users.  This follows the system in other European countries such as the Netherlands.

5 Do you support greater use of dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles?

Yes.

Response from Liberal Democrat party candidates: Roger Crouch and Joe Bourke.

Roger Crouch:

1 Given the seriousness of childhood obesity, which is more serious in Hounslow than in many other London areas, what policy change would you like the Department of Transport to make to ensure that safe active travel amongst children is given utmost priority?

As a general point, the Government should encourage people to cycle for the benefits it brings to health and wellbeing. More needs to be done to encourage cycling amongst women, ethnic minorities and young people. Liberal Democrats would promote cycling through increased Bikeability cycling training courses, the provision of training and facilities in schools, and the implementation of a ‘Cycling Action Plan’ to be delivered by both the Department for Transport and Department for Education.

Local authorities should be required to provide for cyclists in the planning system including the design of all highways and traffic schemes. This must include safe routes to schools.

2 At the moment, for every £100 spent by the Department of Transport, only 71pence is spent on cycling infrastructure. How would this change if you were elected?

We need to accept that the unsustainable transport policies pursued over many decades are costing the economies of our cities tens of billions of pounds through congestion, road casualties, poor air quality and inactivity on mental and physical health. There needs, therefore, to be a shift in the Department for Transport’s spending to sustainable forms of transport. One of our main manifesto commitments is to introduce a Green Transport Act. This must include integrating the cycle network with rail and bus travel, changing the planning system and creating high quality, segregated cycle routes across London and other cities.

In Government we have increased funding to an average of £94m per year, which including match funding, will make a total of £375m by the end of this Parliament.

3 Would you pledge to spend £10 per head on cycling infrastructure as proposed in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report?

It is Liberal Democrat policy to create a cycle budget of at least £10 per person per year to eventually increase to £20. This is based on similar policy implemented in the Netherlands where 30% of journeys are taken by bike – compared to 5% in the UK.

4 How will you work to ensure British law incorporates presumed liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians, as is the case in many European countries?

As a lawyer, I do have some concerns about presumed liability as there could be scenarios where a cyclist has not obeyed the rules of the road, for example rights of way and using lights and night. We would undertake a consultation on the introduction of proportionate liability rules. We would also review all existing road traffic laws and their enforcement to ensure that dangerous and careless driving is dealt with the seriousness it merits.

5 Do you support greater use of dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles?

Yes, so long as this is clearly marked on road traffic signs and at traffic lights.

Response from independent candidate: Lawrence McCambridge-Audini

1 Given the seriousness of childhood obesity, which is more serious in Hounslow than in many other London areas, what policy change would you like the Department of Transport to make to ensure that safe active travel amongst children is given utmost priority?

One of the greatest opportunities parents have of introducing their children to the fun and benefits of physical activity is during the daily trip to and from school. It is an opportunity to cycle, scooter or walk. The problem we face, as I know well from personal experience of taking and collecting my daughter on a daily basis, are the overcrowded roads. There is no easy solution in balancing the needs between car users and children going to/return from school during the rush hours. And no single department can be held responsible. Rather we need a meeting of all interested parties, parents, commuters, local government, schools and the Dept. of Transport. Personally I would like to see the establishment of school ‘trains’ where pupils can join with their peers, at a safe point, an adult supervised route to school which allows them to cycle, walk or scooter.

2 At the moment, for every £100 spent by the Department of Transport, only 71pence is spent on cycling infrastructure. How would this change if you were elected?

The continuing increase of cars on our roads cannot persist it is simply not sustainable nor is it practical. I believe from the Dept of Transports own figures we are now travelling around London at an average speed of 9 miles an hour, the same as in the pre-car Victorian era! It is essential we start to look at radical ways to improve our roads to give safe access for none car users. This, inevitably, is going to require an increase in spending but I believe such spending will be off sent by the improved health and so less demand on NHS resources.

3 Would you pledge to spend £10 per head on cycling infrastructure as proposed in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report?

Getting People in general out of cars must be a priority for us as a society with so many health issues arising from the over use of cars. This is only ever going to be achieved by providing People with safe and purposeful infrastructure which fully accommodates the needs of cyclists, scooters and walkers. I’d therefore be inclined to support a £10 per head spend on such infrastructure.

4 How will you work to ensure British law incorporates presumed liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians, as is the case in many European countries?

I would agree with British law coming in to line with other European countries regarding liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians. I would advocate for such a law and, an addition be made to the written driving test to make sure such a law was fully understood by all new drivers.

5 Do you support greater use of dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles?

Many cycling accidents, from what I am aware, occur around the use of traffic lights and so would be glad to see dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles.
Response from UK Independence Party candidate: Richard Hendron.

No response from< Peter Dul.

1 Given the seriousness of childhood obesity, which is more serious in Hounslow than in many other London areas, what policy change would you like the Department of Transport to make to ensure that safe active travel amongst children is given utmost priority?

here are two issues here. One is the high obesity rates within Hounslow. This is a complex area that goes wider then just encouraging people to cycle as a mode of transport. However that said clearly any encouragement to get people out of their cars, or off public transport and to either walk or cycle will have an impact to reducing obesity. Hounslow does need to put more time and effort into encouraging such activities, while at the same time it needs to ensure that there is clear education both for children and parents around diet and obesity issues.

The second aspect to the questions is I guess what should or can Hounslow Council and or TFL do to make cycling more safer especially for children. As someone who cycled to school in Brentford and then Isleworth everyday come wind or rain, and given my unawareness off danger as a child, its a minor miracle that I am still here today. I can certainly say that my mother was always trying to stop me cycling as she was in favour of the bus, as she was scared for my safety going to and from school on a cycle. It is clear to me that what we need to do is create separate cycle lanes that are segregated from the mainstream of traffic and greatly improve the junctions with the cyclist in mind, especially near schools. The cost of creating segregated cycle lanes is minimal giving the potential benefits which would continue for decades, not to mention the improved fitness, well being and less injury and deaths on the roads of cyclist, and nots let forget mothers not being so worried about their children cycling.

2 At the moment, for every £100 spent by the Department of Transport, only 71pence is spent on cycling infrastructure. How would this change if you were elected?

The department of Transport has a big portfolio so lets not forget their huge responsibilities. For me I am not so interested in how much is spent but what is actually done. I am surprised that its as high as 71p per £100! What we need to identify within Hounslow is what we would like to see in terms of cycling infrastructure, cost it, then come up with a delivery plan which could be rolled out.

3 Would you pledge to spend £10 per head on cycling infrastructure as proposed in the ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report?

As said above, I am not so focussed with increasing spending on cycling, but rather delivering results. Far to often Governments throw money at things which is simply wasted, not put to good use, but the government can say they spent an extra x pounds of this and that. We should be focussed on output / results.

4 How will you work to ensure British law incorporates presumed liability on motorists when involved in a collision with cyclists or pedestrians, as is the case in many European countries?

As a previous police officer and then crown prosecutor I have dealt with many accidents involving cyclist, indeed I have been one of those cyclist who have been hit by a car.

That said, I do not agree with changing the law – most importantly changing the burden of proof for these offences. It is quite right that the burden of proof is a high one, that being beyond reasonable doubt. The question you must ask your self here is would it really make motorist think more about cyclist and would it have an impact of reducing cyclist deaths and fatalities. I am afraid, in my experience I do not think it would do that, and thats what we are trying to do. Compromising our burden of proof, with the negative impact that could have on so called defendants when at the end of the day their is no evidence to suggest it will lead to casualty reduction is not a good way forward. We must strive to be evidence based on our approached whether thats casualty reduction or trying to reduce offending.

5 Do you support greater use of dedicated cycle-only traffic light phases at junctions so that people travelling by bike can make turns at junctions without coming into conflict with motor vehicles?

Yes. We need to make cycling attractive quick and simple.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • It’s all very well for MP’s to be a member of LCC but it seems that they are giving textbook answers. I was anticipating great support from MP’s but it feels like they are only going to act in principle, not prACTical.

    As a cyclist in Hounslow for most of my life, I will be very keenly looking at what changes and real benefit to cycling in Hounslow, whoever is elected, will bring!

    I believe that politics is a game of puppets fulfilling a greater goal, the public eye of which has been glazed over, with empty promises. I have not voted once in my life for this reason; I am never given a REASON to vote. I hope, by God, that someone can earn my vote this year and it be through unconditional support for cycling.

  • It’s all very well for MP’s to be a member of LCC but it seems that they are giving textbook answers. I was anticipating great support from MP’s but it feels like they are only going to act in principle, not prACTical.

    As a cyclist in Hounslow for most of my life, I will be very keenly looking at what changes and real benefit to cycling in Hounslow, whoever is elected, will bring!

    I believe that politics is a game of puppets fulfilling a greater goal, the public eye of which has been glazed over, with empty promises. I have not voted once in my life for this reason; I am never given a REASON to vote. I hope, by God, that someone can earn my vote this year and it be through unconditional support for cycling.

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