Cambridge transport needs two big changes - Lib Dems discuss four issues ahead of Cambridge City Council elections
We asked the parties and independent candidate standing in the Cambridge City Council elections on Thursday (May 2) for their answers to questions on four key issues. Voters go to the polls to elect councillors to 16 of the 42 seats on Labour-led Cambridge City Council.
Here are the Liberal Democrats' answers.
By Cllr Tim Bick - Lib Dem leader, Cambridge City Council
How do we protect Cambridge's special character as it grows?
Modern Cambridge is an extraordinary combination of precious historic city and international innovation hub, and we must balance these roles to secure a good life for all citizens and an environment that keeps us and the planet safe. For 20 years, it’s the Liberal Democrats who have championed a progressive and balanced approach to growth, for example in our insistence on maximum public consultation and for delivering 40% affordable homes, neighbourhood services and advanced environmental standards.
What should be done about congestion? Would you approve of a congestion charge in Cambridge and/or a workplace parking levy?
Cambridge transport needs two big changes: massive improvements in public transport and fewer car journeys. These will increase travel choice, reduce pollution and free up space for cyclists and pedestrians. Excellent public transport needs subsidy and this could come from a charge to discourage (not ban) car trips at peak times. This solution is potentially effective and fair, helping the poorest most, and we pushed for it to be included in the recent public consultation, the results of which we await.
Do you agree there is a climate emergency and what can the council do to address it?
Yes, and half-hearted progress isn’t going to solve it. The science tells us the global tipping point is only a decade or so away, so the council must pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and formulate with its partners a detailed, practical plan with clear interim targets. Under Labour, the council has done the easy bit by acknowledging the emergency, but crucially they haven’t been willing to adopt the 2030 target or review their existing plans.
How would you tackle the homelessness problem?
Two Lib Dem councillors recently conducted a local investigation into rough sleeping, available at goo.gl/Vj43Tu. They found many excellent charitable, council and NHS services helping people to get accommodation and address their broader problems. However, addictions, mental illness and other issues make progress very hard for some people. The report recommends new approaches to housing and outreach services and a Charter providing visible leadership for organisations working in the field – please read the report and support our campaign!
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