Harrogate Cycle Action asked local parliamentary candidates what they thought about cycling and development going forward here is what those that responded said....
Harrogate Cycle Action(HCA) have asked all 5 candidates their parties and their personal position on Sustainable Transport and, in particular Cycling, prior to the forthcoming General Election on May 7th.
We asked all the candidates the following 2 questions:-
1. What is your parties policy with regard to the expansion and development of sustainable transport to reduce traffic congestion and, in particular, their plans to develop and promote the cycling infrastructure and cycling in general as an alternative mode of transport?
2. If elected in the Harrogate and Knaresborough Constituency as MP what will you do to ensure the development of Sustainable Transport alternatives within the District and also to develop the Cycling Infrastructure, both as an alternative means of commuting/travel and as a tourist attraction?
4 of the candidates have responded and their responses are listed below for your information and, hopefully, to help you make your decision on who to vote for. HCA are not recommending any particular candidate but thought the information on this particular topic would be something you would find interesting.
The responses are listed in the order they were received.
Kevin Douglas (Chair)
SHAN OAKES (GREEN PARTY)
You won't be surprised to hear that we are committed to excellent
sustainable transport in all its forms! We want a culture change which will
prioritise bikes (including electric bikes) alongside public transport above
private cars. I believe in creating jobs in coordinating transport options
such as carsharing, car clubs, and much more responsive bus services which
are not run by competing private firms with little oversight by local
government. I attended the local Cycle Delivery Plan Launch recently in
Starbeck and was impressed with progress, but there is much more we could do
to reduce congestion locally. Regarding tourism, yes, loads of potential
to offer and advertise more to attract tourists to cycle here. We must
build on the amazing success of Le Tour. Sustainable tourism is and should
be a major player in the economy of this area, and as a tourism provider (a
self-catering bike-friendly eco-house in York) I offer training for Visit
York and also push for sustainable tourism through the regional tourism body
(Welcome to Yorkshire). If there isn't already a specific cycling promotion
group in W2Y, I would aim to get one established – likewise for Harrogate
HELEN FLYNN (LIBERAL DEMOCRAT)QUESTION 1
My colleague, Julian Huppert MP, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling. They have made great strides on cycling, including publishing this report https://allpartycycling.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/get-britain-cycling1.pdf. My party is in support of all these recommendations. The Lib Dems have always been a green party and have promoted sustainable transport for years. I am particularly in favour of ensuring that a portion of the Department for Transport’s annual budget is dedicated to building cycle infrastructure and revenue support for behaviour change. Up till now, funding for cycling has come about through various pots of funding, meaning that it has been impossible to plan strategically and long term for how to get more people cycling across the UK.
I have already been very active in trying to develop sustainable transport in the district. Two examples below
1. I chair a Government-funded, community-led transport initiative called the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA)(www.dalesconnect.net). We have been running for four years. In that time we have tried many initiatives and funded various schemes, but I would just want to highlight here the "One Way £1" bus fare for under-19s that has paved the way for the policy initiative in the Lib Dem manifesto which is a national scheme for 2/3 off adult bus fares for all under-21 year olds. (It was my own efforts on the Lib Dem Federal Policy Committee that got this in as a manifesto priority.) We had great success with the One way £1 initiative, getting an increase in patronage of 50%. Not only does this mean that young people were only paying £1, but it incentivises bus networks to grow—something we desperately need, especially here!
DITA also part-funded the feasibility study for the extension of the Nidderdale Greenway to Pateley Bridge. And has funded many other cycling and walking initiatives across the Dales and AONB.
2. I am a local Harrogate Borough councillor. Last year out of sheer desperation that nothing was happening to secure a proper and lasting legacy for the Tour de France, I devised a scheme with Sustrans to launch a crowd-funding initiative to see if we could raise the funds-- by appealing to the Harrogate public and cyclists (in particular)-- to create a blueprint for how we could make Harrogate into a cycle town. I arranged a fee of £15,000 for Sustrans to do this work. I still hope this amount can be achieved as I believe that establishing an overall strategic plan of how you build safe cycling routes is the essential first step, if we want to be serious about becoming a cycle town. Sustrans funded a trip for me to visit Velsen in the Netherlands last summer, and there I really could see how it is more than possible to achieve this here. And would it not be fantastic if we could get school children cycling to school every day and people doing routine trips to work and the shops by bike?! It is still my vision and will continue to work for it here.
ANDREW JONES (CONSERVATIVE)QUESTION 1
If we are to tackle the congestion caused by internal journeys we must look
to improving public transport and cycling infrastructure. There have been a
lot of improvements to local rail services and there are more on the way. I
think however we can make the most significant difference with cycling.
However cyclists, particularly new cyclists, need to feel safe. That is why
I support the plans Harrogate Cycle Action has developed in partnership with
Harrogate Borough Council which will help complete the local cycling
network. There appears to have been a sea-change in the council's attitude
to cycling under the new leadership and the plans which have been drawn up
are ambitious. I was pleased to see the council allocating funding to start
delivering them. This, alongside the new appointment of a cabinet member
for sustainable transport, will ensure that progress continues to be made.
In Government I supported the Infrastructure Act which commits the next
Government to developing a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy which
will include funding to deliver the strategy's objectives. As our local
council bids to form a partnership with Government to deliver the local
ambitions it has my full support.
In Government my party has raised the annual level of spending on cycling
from £2 to £6 and has committed to raising it to £10 by 2020/21. This will
help achieve the ambition to double the number of trips made each year by
I will continue to support Harrogate Cycle Action and Harrogate Borough
Council in the fantastic work you are doing together. I will also support
the council's bid to form a partnership with Government as part of the
Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan.
It is important to get as much local support as possible for the planned
infrastructure improvements so I would be pleased to help generate interest
from local businesses and potential funding partners such as the Local
Enterprise Partnerships to ensure maximum benefit.
Local businesses also have a lot to contribute because they can make sure
they have the right conditions and incentives so their employees choose
cycling or other modes of sustainable transport rather than the car. Some
employers are very good at this but others may need more support and I would
be keen to explore this further with the local council.
The push needs to be towards getting more people cycling to work and to
school. We should also be looking at doing more to promote 'leave the car at
home' days - perhaps coinciding with increased public transport services and
trials of park-and-ride services so people can see the true value of
travelling sustainably. The latest I've heard from the council is that they
plan to run a scheme of sustainable transport awards for local businesses
which make a significant contribution in this area. I am sure more
information will be available in due course.
But these initiatives should not be one-off gimmicks for political gain,
they should be with a view to mainstreaming sustainable transport so it
becomes a real option for people.
I'm very supportive of promoting cycling in the Harrogate District. It's a great recreational activity and the extension of off-road cycle routes is to be actively promoted.
SIAN WILLIAMS (LABOUR)
No response received. If one is forthcoming this information will be updated and re-circulated.