Camcycle hustings: Council candidates’ views on key issues

The Camcycle hustings event in Cambridge on April 3 produced some innovative proposals on issues including air pollution, road planning, parking, Mill Road, the City Deal and the proper width of cycle lanes.

The event, facilitated by Camcycle’s chairman Robin Heydon, heard from three candidates standing in the local council elections on May 4 – Liberal Democrat Ian Manning, Labour’s Noel Kavanagh and the Green Party’s Jeremy Caddick.

Here are their views on the key topics:

Air pollution

Kavanagh/Labour: “Lewis Herbert (chair of the Greater Cambridge City Deal) has today proposed a clean air zone (http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2017-04-04/cambridge-could-lead-the-way-for-clean-air-zones/) and it’s about time. What Lewis Herbert has announced should happen – it’s a start and one part of the jigsaw to make this city a more pleasant place to live in.”

Caddick/Green: “Last year across the county there were 250 excess deaths from air pollution. The majority if pollution comes from buses, particularly diesel buses.”

Manning/LibDem: “I’m in favour of clean air zones. There are international agreement but I do feel sorry for diesel users – not so long go the Government was promoting it.”

The data about air pollution deaths in the city was provided in a Public Health England report entitled “Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution”.

Jo Dicks, the environmental quality and growth manager of Cambridge City Council, speaking at a University of the Third Age meeting in Cambridge about air pollution in the city in February, said: “Cambridge has an air quality problem because of its high traffic volumes and its ancient narrow city streets. Traffic produces nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter. There are about 250 premature deaths a year in Cambridgeshire due to air pollution.”

Road planning

Manning/LibDem: “It’s fairly simple – properly segregated lanes, not like the ones on Huntingdon Road or those lanes they’ve put down the Hills Road.”

Kavanagh/Labour: “Segregated cycle routes and better junction design.”

Caddick: “What prevents people from cycling is fear of one sort or another. We need cycleways of a decent width – and segregated lanes.”

Car parking

Manning/LibDem: “I’m in favour of restricting it yes, but you’ve got to get residents involved in designing these schemes.”

Caddick/Green: “It’s a nettle that needs to be grasped – we’re talking about fewer cars in Cambridge which means improving public transport. The Green Party is in favour of a workplace parking levy.”

Kavanagh/Labour: “The workplace parking levy is part of the solution to the problem of vile pollution that is slowly poisoning people in the city. The key to persuading people is giving them plenty of information.”

The workplace parking levy was given the go-ahead by the Greater Cambridge City Deal in January. It affects all firms with more than 10 employee car park spaces.

Mill Road Bridge

Kavanagh/Labour: “Why not make it a one-way street with a very wide cycle lane – or even close the thing?”

Manning/LibDem: “The radical solution would be to build a tunnel under it.”

Caddick/Green: “The easiest way would be traffic lights.”

City Deal

Kavanagh/Labour: “The City Deal is a great initiative for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, the project has had some problems early on but that’s to be expected when you start something from scratch. There’s been a lot of fuzziness created over something quite simple, for example control points. Look what happens when a road is closed, for example Tenison Road – travellers all found alternative routes. I’m disappointed that the idea hasn’t been given a fair chance.”

Caddick/Green: “Control points indicated what is wrong with the City Deal which is that it isn’t sufficiently democratically accountable. The Green Party has been saying for years that we need to be thinking about about congestion or road pricing and actually the City Deal has come late into this argument. The City Deal is very bad at communicating and it has an awful top-down structure and it’s that communication that has been the source of a lot of the problems. We want to see building from the ground up and that includes consulting residents.”

Manning/LibDem: “The leadership has got to come from the top.”

City Deal was contacted for comment.

Cycle lanes

Some confusion about this – should it be 3m or 2m? Chairman Heydon believes it should be about 2m.

Find out more at camcycle.org.uk.

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