At the forthcoming General Election, to be held on 12 December 2019, candidates representing the Conservative Party, Green Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrat Party are seeking election in the two parliamentary constituencies within the London Borough of Sutton – Carshalton and Wallington; Sutton and Cheam. In Carshalton and Wallington, candidates representing the Brexit Party and the Christian Peoples Alliance are also standing.
What do the manifestos of each of these parties (or, in the case of the Brexit Party, contracts), have to say specifically about cycling? In an attempt to find out, a search has been made of the word “cycling” or “cycle” (excluding the reference to “recycle”) in each of the manifestos. The relevant text has been reproduced here. This is not the full story, of course. But worth consideration, just for the record.
UK walking and cycling charity Sustrans has published a Manifesto for UK Government (Sustrans, 5 November 2019). This manifesto calls on all political parties to take bold action on road transport emissions and prioritise walking and cycling, to tackle the climate crisis for future generations. One of the five main asks is to provide sustained long-term investment in walking and cycling. This includes at least 5% of the transport budget [£17 per head] to be spent on walking and cycling by 2020/21, rising to at least 10% [£34 per head] before 2024/25; and £72m investment per year in the National Cycle Network.
No references to “cycling” or “cycle” (or “cyclist”).
Christian Peoples Alliance
No reference to “cycling” or “cycle”.
A section headed “Cyclists” contains the following text:
“As with other road users (eg motorcyclist having helmets, car drivers and passengers wearing seatbelts) cyclists also have responsibility for their own wellbeing and the CPA will require:
- helmets of a suitable standard and luminosity to be worn
- clothing and backpacks to be worn of a suitable reflective luminance for day and night (as appropriate).
- lights, both front and rear, to be of an appropriate power and position so the cyclist will be seen, be able to be seen, but not ‘blind’ motorists
- In all cases we will consult on the actual standards to be adopted”.
Elsewhere…. “Encourage regional and local authorities to physically separate cyclists and vehicles, have safer left-hand turns where appropriate and introduce traffic light priority for cyclists”.
“We will support commuter cycling routes, so that more people can cycle safely to work and more families can go out together. We will create a new £350 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund with mandatory design standards for new routes. We will extend Bikeability – cycling proficiency training – to every child. And we will work with the NHS to promote cycling for healthier living”.
“The Green New Deal will invest in our shared future, funding improvements in [transport]: including the delivery of a public and sustainable transport revolution, which will allow people to travel cheaply and safely on new trains, buses, cycleways and footpaths.
The Green New Deal will revolutionise our transport system by ending dependence on carbon, and investing instead in alternatives that work for better for the climate and for people. This means more reliable and affordable trains, electric buses and trams, and better options for cycling and walking.
Our Green New Deal for transport will invest in public transport, walking and cycling so wherever people live they are not forced to use a car, by: Spending £2.5 billion a year on new cycleways and footpaths, built using sustainable materials, such as woodchips and sawdust.
Create a network of electric vehicle charging points across the country, by requiring their construction through the planning system and encouraging the private sector to deliver them. We will ensure that these charging points are located in public places, and do not take up pavement and cycling space. We will require all existing petrol stations and motorway service stations to offer electric vehicle charging points by 2025.
Civilise our streets by making Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (in which rat-running is blocked) the norm for residential areas and making 20 miles per hour the default speed limit. These changes would reduce traffic, carbon emissions and danger to people walking and cycling.
Ensure through the planning system that all new housing is served by high quality walking and cycling routes and much improved bus, tram and local rail services.
Open up car-free access to the National Parks with new cycling, walking and bus links.
The funding for this [new] road building programme, the £6.5 billion in revenue received from Vehicle Exercise Duty each year, will be switched to supporting sustainable public transport and new cycleways and footpaths as part of the Green New Deal. £1.5 billion of Vehicle Exercise Duty revenue will be retained to maintain existing roads.
Operational expenditure: Upgrading cycleways and footpaths: £0.5 billion (admin costs)
Capital expenditure: Upgrading cycleways and footpaths infrastructure: £2.0 billion
Our programme of investment should be seen as a starting push on our national bicycle – giving us the momentum to set off and pedal with growing strength towards a better future”.
“We will adopt an ambitious Vision Zero approach to UK road safety, striving for zero deaths and serious injuries. Labour will invest to make our neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users.
We will increase the funding available for cycling and walking. We will bring together transport and land-use planning to create towns and cities in which walking and cycling are the best choice: safe, accessible, healthy, efficient, economical and pollution- free”.
Liberal Democrat Party
“Liberal Democrats will meet this [transport] challenge by: Placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling – the healthiest forms of transport.
Liberal Democrats will invest in public transport, improving its reliability and affordability, reform the planning systems to reduce the need to travel and promote cycling and walking. We will: Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to reach 10 per cent of the transport budget.
We will…. Improve the experience of people who rely on the railways for work by investing in commuter routes and the integration of rail, bus and cycle routes”.
Candidates for 2019 General Elections (LB of Sutton):
Sustrans has posted responses to several of the manifestoes (Sustrans > Our Blog > News):
Liberal Democrats release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 20 November 2019)
Green Party release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 20 November 2019)
Labour Party release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 21 November 2019)
Brexit Party release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 22 November 2019)
Plaid Cymru Party release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 26 November 2019)
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) release manifesto – Our response (Sustrans, 26 November 2019)
When it comes to elections, also see:
2015 General Election (7 May 2015): Campaign election candidates via #VoteBike (Get Sutton Cycling, 21 April 2015). The manifestos for 2015 are available at 2015 United Kingdom general election (Wikipedia, 2 December 2019)
2016 London Mayoral Election (5 May 2016): Cycling towards 2018 (Get Sutton Cycling, 5 May 2016)
The 2017 General Election (7 June 2017) was not covered in this blog. The manifestos for 2017 are available at 2017 United Kingdom general election (Wikipedia, 2 December 2019)
2018 local elections (3 May 2018): Sutton’s councillors: from the class of 2014 to the class of 2018 (Get Sutton Cycling, 14 June 2018)