VOTE 2017

The views of candidates standing to be elected as MPs

We are asking all the candidates in Feltham & Heston constituency and Brentford & Isleworth constituency the following questions:

1. This summer we expect Transport for London to publish plans for a “Cycle Superhighway” route (CS9) between Hounslow and Hammersmith, passing through Brentford and Chiswick. While this is a Mayor of London and borough matter, would you like to say anything in support of better cycling facilities in the constituency?

We are also offering each parliamentary candidate the opportunity of a personal guided bike ride to look at the local issues.

2. There have been further recent reports on the health benefits of active travel adding to the already compelling evidence. What actions do you believe the Department for Transport should do to enable (rather than simply encourage) active travel?

3. Following several court cases, the government has been told by the court to publish an air quality plan to address illegal levels of pollution in many UK cities.  Do you believe this plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?

4. The government recently published a draft Cycling and Walking Strategy.  Do you believe this plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?

5. Would you support the Department for Transport passing a commencement order allowing drivers to be fined if they breach mandatory cycle lane markings, equivalent to existing regulations for bus lanes?


Responses

Brentford & Isleworth Parliamentary Candidates

Joe Bourke (Liberal Democrats)

My responses are based on existing Liberal Democrat policy which was debated and approved by members at our Autumn Conference in 2013.

1. Would you like to say anything in support of better cycling facilities in the constituency?
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. What actions do you believe the Department for Transport should do to enable (rather than simply encourage) active travel?
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 commitments has been 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.

3. Do you believe the government air quality plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?
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. Do you believe the government’s draft walking & cycling plan is adequate?
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.

Ruth Cadbury (Labour)
I’d like to thank Hounslow Cycling Campaign (of which I am a member) for making cycling a key issue in this election campaign, and for asking all the candidates to respond to your questions. I cycle regularly, as well as using public transport and driving.  For the two years of the last Parliament I co-chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling, which seeks to use Parliament to raise the issues around making cycling safer and easier across the country (“More people cycling more often and safely”) I therefore worked closely with a number of organisations; particularly LCC, Cycling UK, British Cycling and others.  We met former PM David Cameron, the former Transport Secretary, and both Transport Ministers as well as shadow ministers, who had that role during the last 2 years.

1. Would you like to say anything in support of better cycling facilities in the constituency?
If more people are to feel safe using a bike for some of their travel rather than driving or using public transport, then we need to make cycling safe, and Hounslow Council has a good record. Segregated or part segregated routes such as the Cycle super-highways, are key to this. CS9 has been a long time coming to the borough, so I welcome TfL’s plan to consult local residents, businesses and Hounslow Council on the plans.

I cycle regularly around the borough, and from Brentford in to Westminster, so I feel I have a reasonable grasp of the current issues in some places. However I am of course happy to have my knowledge extended.  So, Yes in principle I would join a guided ride, though with the election only 3 weeks away, I fear there won’t be much time to do this.

2. What actions do you believe the Department for Transport should do to enable (rather than simply encourage) active travel?
The DfT should allocate adequate funding for both infrastructure that makes cycling and walking safe, alongside revenue funding for extensive, good quality Bikeability courses for adults and children.  Due to the health benefits, the DOH should also contribute.

3. Do you believe the government air quality plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?
No it’s not adequate.  The Government could start by cancelling proposals to expand Heathrow, as the additional traffic it would require would mean the UK would be consistently in breach of EU air quality standards.  In addition the Government should support a scrappage scheme for the most pollution vehicles (especially Diesel), and introduce differentiated vehicle tax scheme to incentivise purchase of low-polluting vehicles.

4. Do you believe the government’s cycling and walking plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?
No the CWIS isn’t adequate.  The Government should be aiming for 10% of all journeys in Britain to be by bike by 2025 and a minimum investment of £10 per person per year, rising to £20 per person.

5. Would you support the Department for Transport passing a commencement order allowing drivers to be fined if they breach mandatory cycle lane markings, similar to existing regulations for bus lanes?
Yes – but we have more work to do to extend the extent of mandatory cycle lanes.  Too many of them are currently advisory.
There are other judicial actions that need taking – please see the APPCG Report on cycling and the Justice system.

Mary Macleod (Conservative)
No response yet

Feltham & Heston Parliamentary Candidates

Stuart Agnew (UKIP)

Thank you for your email regarding my views, as a General Election candidate.

As with any General Election, candidates are flooded with requests to support a very wide variety of manifestos from any number of special interest groups and, indeed, requests to fill in questionnaires on some of these subjects.  The plain fact of the matter is that I do not have the time to respond to them all in detail, as I would end up spending all my time on the computer rather than being out campaigning.

In addition, the instructions from UKIP Head Office are for candidates not to commit themselves to supporting any causes or manifestos ahead of the election, other than our own, to avoid confusion with other candidates.  Attempting to co-ordinate the responses of candidates throughout the country to these requests, to ensure consistency, would be a nightmare and beyond our resources.

Therefore, I hope you will understand why I am not going to respond to your request other than with this email.

Full details of UKIP’s policies can be found in our 2017 General Election manifesto.

Please do write to me again about this, if I am fortunate enough to be elected to Westminster on 8th June.

Tony Firkins (Green)

1. Would you like to say anything in support of better cycling facilities in the constituency?

The Hounslow Green Party is very much in favour of better cycling within the borough of Hounslow. It is one of the issues we specifically highlight in our campaigning. Yes, we would be interested in guided ride so that we can jointly address the issues with CS9.

2. What actions do you believe the Department for Transport should do to enable (rather than simply encourage) active travel?

Health benefits are just one of the benefits of cycling. Particular issues which could be taken would be to further segregate cyclists from the rest of the traffic and particularly giving cyclists higher priority at junctions (eg along the A4).

3. Do you believe the government air quality plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?

The air quality plan is inadeqaute. Where air pollution is above legal limits, there should be urgent measures to reduce it – eg by Ultra Low Emission Zones and halting further development until it is under limits. Also the limits on air pollution need to be looked at to see if they should be strengthened in line with WHO guidelines.

4. Do you believe the government’s cycling and walking plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?

One thing which is clearly inadequate is the amount of funding for cycling and walking in the draft strategy. The Green Party includes a £2bn programme for this per year in its manifesto which is more the level of investment that we think is necessary to move away from a car-centric view of transport.

5. Would you support the Department for Transport passing a commencement order allowing drivers to be fined if they breach mandatory cycle lane markings, similar to existing regulations for bus lanes?

Yes, but we also need more segregation so that cars cannot enter the cycle lanes.

Jassal Samir (Conservative)

No response yet

Seema Malhotra (Labour)

1. Would you like to say anything in support of better cycling facilities in the constituency?
Making cycling easier and safer is a key part of improving transport in the Borough. I have been actively involved in making cycling safer since I first became a MP. I have also pressed for cycling to the Airport and in the surrounding areas such as Feltham to be enhanced.  This needs to apply not just to a superhighway but also to the road network in general if the number of people cycling is going to increase.

Would you be willing to join HCC on a personal “guided ride” where we will highlight the current issues that need to be addressed?<
Yes definitely but haven’t ridden a bike for a while – getting a new one shortly though as I planned to start cycling more this summer!

2. What actions do you believe the Department for Transport should do to enable (rather than simply encourage) active travel?
The main barrier to people cycling is a perceived lack of safety.  A number of measures can be installed to improve this.  These range from hard changes to the physical infrastructure of our cities to “softer” measures such as training people how to cycle in an urban environment.

A further suggestion would be increase the training of young people in cycling proficiency and following them passing a proficiency test, have guided rides for young people to help them grow confidence. For adults who may not have had cycling proficiency tests, we advertise and promote adult cycling training in places like doctor surgeries and leisure centres. And it’s not just the cycling skills that is important but how to maintain a bike, where to buy accessories and how to use them to get most out of your bike.

3. Do you believe the government air quality plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?
Air quality can and should be improved through greater fuel efficiency in vehicles, shifting more journeys to cleaner modes of transport, and I am calling for localised tax incentives for cleaner fuels in areas of higher pollution.  All this should be done through a thorough long term and effective transport strategy.

4. Do you believe the government’s cycling and walking plan is adequate, or if not, what additional measures do you believe should be included?

The present government has cut back on both cycling investment and transport investment in general.   The Conservative record on cycling has been unfavourable. The present government abolished Cycling England in 2010, which the last Labour government set up, which led to London residents cycling to work more than doubling over a decade. This not only got people physically active, but off set the burdens on our transport system, road networks and the environment. The abolition of Cycling England left the impression that the government did not regard cycling as important.  Only pressure from the Labour frontbench and cycling bodies was able to get the government to commit to long term targets for increasing cycling.

5. Would you support the Department for Transport passing a commencement order allowing drivers to be fined if they breach mandatory cycle lane markings, similar to existing regulations for bus lanes?

Yes very much so.

Hina Malik (Liberal Democrats)

No response yet.