Elections

General Election, 2019: Cambridge

Summary: General Election, December 2019
Polling date: Thursday 12th December 2019
Constituency:
Candidates
(by surname):
  • Jeremy CADDICK  (Green Party)
  • Rod CANTRILL  (Liberal Democrat)
  • Peter DAWE  (The Brexit Party)
  • Keith GARRETT  (Rebooting Democracy)
  • Miles HURLEY  (Independent)
  • Russell PERRIN  (Conservative Party)
  • Jane ROBINS  (Social Democratic Party)
  • Daniel ZEICHNER  (Labour Party)

Questions for Cambridge constituency candidates (5 questions)

Jump to question:  1   2   3   4   5 

# Question 1

There is a lot of political support for cycling locally. However, funding is inconsistent. As an MP, what would you do to ensure that money is available to meet the capital expenditure ambitions of councils and ensure that cycle facilities are maintained?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

Yes, Greens would earmark £2.5 billion per year for cycling and walking infrastructure, and encourage local councils to be as ambitious as possible in facilitating cycling.

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

Nationally I want as a minimum 10% of the transport budget to be spent on promoting walking and cycling, which represents a five-fold increase in expenditure on building and maintaining cycling infrastructure such as dedicated cycle lanes. As a Liberal Democrat I believe in devolving as much decision making and spending power to the lowest level practical so that councils are empowered to fix things in their community. I have seen, when I was the City Council's cycle champion, the effectiveness of this approach here in Cambridge.

Peter DAWE
(The Brexit Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Keith GARRETT
(Rebooting Democracy)

The people of Cambridge should be making the decisions that affect the way they live. Talking to people around Cambridge I find there is a consensus on the way forward for the transport infrastructure.

My aim is for our funding priorities to be set using deliberation and random selection. Random selection and stratification give us a representative cross section of the people affected. Deliberative processes enable sensible small group discussions away from ideological debates. Evidence would be presented from experts and stakeholders. People given time and evidence make sensible long term decisions. There are various forms but one of the most popular recently is called a Citizens' Assembly (although people don't need to be citizens - it's just a generic world wide term).

This is true democracy and allows for the people to make informed community decisions based on evidence. This takes us away from political and lobbied decision making.

It is interesting that the question is framed as the 'ambitions of the councils'. The ambitions should be directly ours with the effect that we are all working together towards them.

Miles HURLEY
(Independent)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Russell PERRIN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jane ROBINS
(Social Democratic Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Daniel ZEICHNER
(Labour Party)

Labour is making a huge promise on cycling - with funding of £50 per head per annum, a £200 grant to purchase e-bikes, and funding diverted from vehicle excise duty. This is potentially transformational, both in environmental and transport terms, and is the kind of radical shift people have been looking for, with the potential to move us to the much admired European models such as Freiburg. As a shadow transport minister for two years, and now an officer of the All Party Cycling Group, fighting for resources for cycling and walking is a key part of my work. The recent report of the Transport Select Committee, of which I am a member, highlights some of the challenges. I welcomed the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and pay tribute to my predecessor Julian Huppert for the work he did in working on the campaign for £10 per head spending. However, the CWIS took a very long time to emerge and in my view was too vague: ok on strategy, weak on investment. The Government are already missing their own unambitious targets. Of the £1.2bn supposedly allocated over 5 years, only a quarter is actually ring-fenced, so the headline figure is misleading. Labour has been committed to at least the £10 per head figure, and is now promising massively more. On capital expenditure, I have signed Cycling UK’s pledge to lift spending to 10% within 5 years. While capital spending is important, revenue matters too, and one of my main criticisms of the current Government approach is that it is too bid-driven, leading to a constant stop-start approach which wastes resources and expertise. Labour will boost revenue spending immediately, as capital schemes are designed across the country.

# Question 2

Roads belonging to Highways England surround Cambridge and cut through the countryside forming barriers. What can be done to improve the attitude of the agency towards walking & cycling provision along and across their routes?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

We need to completely decarbonise our transport system in the next 10 years. This will involve a stop to nearly all road building and a concentration on an expansion of the rail network as well as encouraging cycling. The effect of this will be to re-purpose Highways England to promote sustainable ways of getting around.

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

The climate crisis we face means everything we do must be sustainable. This means using the tarmac already laid in a more efficient way - prioritising sustainable and public transport and getting people out of their cars.

I believe in bringing strategic control over our road network closer to local people, so councils like Cambridge have a real say in how Highways England's work affects us. There should be a presumption in favour of keeping sustainable transport routes working during major works and providing well-signposted and advertised alternatives when this isn't possible.

Peter DAWE
(The Brexit Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Keith GARRETT
(Rebooting Democracy)

I helped initiate a Citizens' Assembly on traffic congestion in Cambridge which was run for the Greater Cambridge Partnership. The money came from central government as they were trying to get more examples of Citizens' Assemblies in place. One of the requirements for the funding was that the council supported the outcomes. In the case of the GCP Citizens' Assembly it required 3 councils to agree to the outcomes.

The outcome of the Citizens' Assembly is quite startling and is available on the GCP website. Well worth a read to see what happens when you give people agency over their own lives and environment.

This shows how the people and several councils can work together to create unified, evidence based plans. This is something that the other agencies will have to listen to. Not just a single pressure group but an entire region calling for a certain agenda.

Once Citizens' Assemblies are common place for decision making, the agencies will be presenting evidence at them for the people to make decisions on them, weighing up local and national issues.

Miles HURLEY
(Independent)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Russell PERRIN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jane ROBINS
(Social Democratic Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Daniel ZEICHNER
(Labour Party)

I have interrogated Highways England directly on these issues at the Select Committee. They talk a reasonable talk, but unfortunately they have so far failed to embed an understanding of cycling and walking within the organisation - I have described them as the Motor Vehicles agency, when they need to be a mobility organisation. They are regulated by the Office for Road and Rail who have identified this as one of the issues they need to improve on. On behalf of Camcycle I have been pursuing concerns around junction design on the A428, where Highways England are failing to follow their own guidelines, CD195. I was also struck by a visit arranged by Camcycle a few months ago where we looked at the very dangerous interchange at the end of Barton Road onto the M11. There is much to be improved.

# Question 3

There are incentives to buy electric cars, but not for alternatives such as e-bikes and electric cargo bikes. Should there be a role for government here?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

Yes. The government will need to use all of the levers available to it to encourage the transition to sustainable transport such as e bikes and electric cargo bikes.

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

Absolutely. Electric bikes make a huge difference to people's lives.
For some they're the difference between getting out and about and staying at home, for others the extra speed and range makes them a viable alternative to the car.

But prices are still too high for many. Liberal Democrats want to cut VAT on electric vehicles to 5%, and use schemes like the workplace travel plan and local sustainable transport fund to further reduce the cost of electric bikes.

Peter DAWE
(The Brexit Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Keith GARRETT
(Rebooting Democracy)

My party has no policies on any particular subject except for the way we make decisions.

Locally, the people may look at the evidence and decide that money is well spent on getting people out of cars. This would have to be weighed against other priorities and also the extent those decisions can be put into place (until the whole of the UK is being run in a truly democratic way.

Our response to the pollution issues and the climate emergency would need to be dealt with by a large nationwide Citizens' Assembly that would give a direction we need to head in regarding our emissions and lifestyle.

Within this Citizens' Assembly such items as electric bikes and cargo bikes would be considered. It would also need to look at embodied energy of electric cars, charging infrastructure etc. You can imagine it would be a big endeavour, but the answers would be coming from the people themselves after considering the evidence and listening to stakeholder and rightsholders giving us an equitable way forward.

Miles HURLEY
(Independent)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Russell PERRIN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jane ROBINS
(Social Democratic Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Daniel ZEICHNER
(Labour Party)

Labour is promising a £200 purchase subsidy, which has been successful in France. I am a huge fan of e-bikes - I purchased one four years ago, and am convinced that this is the ideal mode of travel in Cambridge, although they remain too expensive for many people. Despite the talk about electric vehicles, more e-bikes were sold in the UK last year, but our progress is tiny compared to our European neighbours - over 1 million people in Germany purchased e-bikes last year. In France, 300,000, with the help of grants from the Government. In Holland, 24 people per thousand have e-bikes, in the UK, just 1. I spoke on this in a short speech in a very crowded Parliamentary debate on July 19 which can be accessed online (10.19), concluding with:
“My mantra for many months has been revoke and remain. It is now revoke, remain and recharge.​“

I believe that any grant schemes proposed by Government should include e-bikes and electric cargo bikes. I and others on the All Party Cycling Group pressed the current Government to raise the amount available through the Cycle to Work scheme, which helps, but doesn’t generally help poorer people - a direct subsidy at purchase is much preferable.

# Question 4

Incidents of dangerous driving and cycle theft in Cambridgeshire are continuing to increase and it is widely known that there is little the police will do about this due to a lack of resources. What should the government do to keep people safe while cycling?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

Cuts to police numbers threaten social cohesion and widespread perception that the police will do little about cycle theft is a symptom of that. Policing and social cohesion are part of the Greens’ commitment to promoting equality.

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

First we need more police. Sometimes there are only seven officers on duty covering the whole of Cambridge so it's not surprising that there aren't the resources to investigate cycle crime properly. Lib Dems want
20,000 more police across England and Wales - that's an extra thirty for Cambridge. With more police we can bring back proper community policing with eyes on the ground to investigate and deter cycle theft.

There's still too much dangerous driving that puts cyclists at risk. I support initiatives like Operation Close Pass which teach motorists to give cyclists the space they need, and more police will make enforcement of road safety easier.

However to truly make our roads safe for cyclists we need to change the way we design our roads so that vulnerable road users aren't brought into conflict with motorists so frequently. The proposed scheme for Madingley Road is an illustration of what can be done to achieve this.

Peter DAWE
(The Brexit Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Keith GARRETT
(Rebooting Democracy)

While I am asking for your vote I don't think that voting is a good thing in the way we do it. Without adequate preparation, voting is a very reactionary method of making a decision. The principle of deliberative democracy is that you are given time to assess the evidence and discuss it with your peers.

Given this voting for the head of the police force is a terrible idea. Knee jerk reactions to things happening in the media are bound to affect the result. The agenda for the police force needs to be set by the people after spending time considering the evidence and talking to those who are being affected. It would also take into account where police time is most effective. This would give a true reflection of the policing needs for the area.

Miles HURLEY
(Independent)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Russell PERRIN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jane ROBINS
(Social Democratic Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Daniel ZEICHNER
(Labour Party)

Lack of enforcement is a key issue across a range of transport matters - better resourcing for policing in general is a key part of Labour’s promise in this election. The decline of traffic policing is well-known, and it will require strong central direction to ensure that some of that additional resource is allocated to this. The restoration of road safety targets, to which Labour is pledged, will help. Cycle theft remains too high, and it is extraordinary that train operator Abellio continues to fail to respond to the problems at the main railway station - I will continue to pursue them on this, and their dodged promises on additional cycle parking. I have also strongly supported British Cycling’s Turn the Corner campaign led by Chris Boardman - junction safety is vital, especially in a city like Cambridge.

# Question 5

For any of the above, how will you help to shape policies should you find that your party is not in government - what effective role can an opposition MP have here?

Jeremy CADDICK
(Green Party)

The consensus in favour of cycling and other sustainable and healthy forms of transport is growing rapidly. This means that governments of any complexion will have to be seen to be responsive to moves to promote cycling. The Greens have a programme of 10 private members bills ready to propose whether we are in government or not. Pressure can also be applied b means of all Party parliamentary groups.

Rod CANTRILL
(Liberal Democrat)

It's in areas like cycling that Westminster does cross-party working best. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling has done good work conducting Select Committee style inquiries into cycling: how to promote it, and how the law treats cyclists. As a cross-party group it can have real influence on Government of whatever party.

I also want to be a powerful advocate for cycling and cycling policy on the national stage. Too often cyclists aren't represented at all when Parliament and the media discuss transport. I'll be the national voice we need to keep the needs of cyclists and pedestrians in the public mind.

Peter DAWE
(The Brexit Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Keith GARRETT
(Rebooting Democracy)

In the unlikely event that I don't get elected I will continue the work I have been doing to get sortition (random selection) and deliberation as the accepted way of making decisions about our lives, as it was in Ancient Greece (but obviously everyone taking part not just rich men!).

I've been doing talks about Citizens' Assemblies, working with the Sortition Foundation to push it's cause across the world, attempting to start deliberative events in Cambridge, working with Extinction Rebellion (climate organisation) regarding their call for a national Citizens' Assembly.

Whenever I talk to people the general response is positive about the concept and it's now happening all over the UK and the world. In Ireland they used it to break the deadlock regarding various highly political subjects. There are now thousands of instances where these processes have been used.

For those who campaign for cycling, I hope they can see that they hold the upper hand once evidence is considered (reduced NHS costs, better quality of life for all, less congestion etc) so this is the best solution to get their policies enacted.

We need real democracy where decisions are made by the people for the people.

Miles HURLEY
(Independent)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Russell PERRIN
(Conservative Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Jane ROBINS
(Social Democratic Party)
The candidate has not responded to the survey.
Daniel ZEICHNER
(Labour Party)

The All Party Cycling Group in Parliament is very effective, helped by the active engagement of local groups like Camcycle. I am an active and leading member. I have also been a member of the Transport Select Committee throughout the last Parliament, and helped steer the Committee’s work more towards walking and cycling. I regularly use opportunities on the Committee to raise points suggested by cycling organisations. Ultimately, however, the best position is to be in Government. Although I resigned my shadow transport ministerial role to campaign even more strongly on securing our future in the EU, I have retained very close links with the shadow team, particularly pressing the case for e-bikes, and will continue to press the case on active travel very strongly.

Camcycle is a non-partisan body. All candidates are given an equal opportunity to submit their views. Information published by Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), The Bike Depot, 140 Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DL.