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OPINION: Why we asked all Cambridge City Council candidates to pledge support for manifesto for transport

This is our first manifesto for transport in Cambridgeshire

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An alliance of 31 transport, environment and health organisations has issued a manifesto for transport in Cambridgeshire and asked all candidates for election to Cambridge City Council whether they will pledge to support it.

Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance (CSTA) issued the manifesto because it believes that everyone in our region should be able to make journeys easily and affordably, while protecting lives and respecting the needs of others.

Journeys should also safeguard the precious world we live in. Candidates can show they would play their part in reaching these goals by signing up to the manifesto, which consists of five asks around different aspects of sustainable travel in Cambridgeshire.

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The group has had an excellent response, with over two thirds of local election candidates engaging with the document. 27 candidates from the Cambridge Labour Party and Cambridge Liberal Democrats have signed up.

These individuals, standing on behalf of Cambridge Labour and Cambridge Liberal Democrats, have pledged their support for the manifesto’s five asks, which are:

  1. Sign up to a fair and efficient transport future for our county.
  2. Support local control of the bus network and faster routes for buses
  3. Back plans for more safe walking, wheeling, and cycling routes
  4. Advocate for better journeys to school,
  5. Become a champion for accessibility

The Communist Party candidate in Abbey ward also indicated his support.

Cambridge Green Party candidates engaged as a group with the manifesto by providing five statements in response to the document’s five asks.

These explain Green candidates’ views on local control of bus services (“Green party policy is to support renationalisation of key utilities and public services. Franchising is very much a second-best option. It is clunky, inefficient and still leaves local authorities open to significant risks”) and the provision of routes for active travel (“the priority should be to repair and maintain the routes we already have before considering new ones”), among other topics.

Liberal Democrat City Council candidates announced their support for the manifesto on their website (“Liberal Democrat city council candidates are pleased to support the [C]STA manifesto”), and at the same time published a statement outlining the approach they believe needs to be taken after the withdrawal of the ‘Making Connections’ proposals.

In this they say: “The need remains to use limited space more efficiently – for more people – through greater use of public and active transport. Unless we address this as a community together, access to services, to places of work and to leisure will get worse for everyone…”

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Many Cambridge Labour candidates also made statements in response to the manifesto. A cluster of them said: “Our three key aims for mobility and transport in our city continue to be: to create space for people; to be environmentally friendly and cut carbon emissions; and to deliver high quality, affordable transport. The Labour Party will be putting these complex issues at the top of the discussions with the transport authorities and elsewhere, so that the final integrated transport network will work for all.”

Cllr Jenny Gawthrope Wood added “I support the work that the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority are undertaking to move to a franchised bus service system. Many of my residents rely on buses...”

No response has been received from Conservative party candidates, or other Independent candidates to date.

This is the first manifesto for transport in Cambridgeshire issued by the Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance.

The document forms part of a larger, ongoing project to shape a wider vision for transport in Cambridgeshire. CSTA Campaigns Officer Sarah Hughes said: “We are delighted that so many candidates have signed up to our manifesto. If those who are elected keep in mind the manifesto’s five asks when making transport-related decisions, we are hopeful there could be progress towards a network that works for us all.

“We are also very grateful for the high levels of engagement with the document from candidates of different parties. We hope that these conversations will continue as we move forward with our wider project of shaping a vision for transport in Cambridgeshire.

A list of signatories to the manifesto can be found at https://cambstravelalliance.org/manifesto-for-transport-in-cambridgeshire/. This page also lists Cambridge Green Party’s response, in addition to statements from other candidates.

ABOUT US

  • Cambridgeshire Sustainable Travel Alliance is a coalition of 31 transport, health and environmental organisations which aims to unite and inspire people in

Cambridgeshire working for a transport network that protects our future and offers genuine choice.

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