Dick Venes – Green Party

How would you encourage more local journeys to be taken by sustainable modes of transport?

I think the long term answers include: higher petrol prices; higher vehicle excise duty for private motor vehicles, particularly large ones; much better public transport; a workplace parking tax; a complete reform of the planning system to reduce the need for travel.  However, as many of these are not endorsed by the major political parties, they’re not likely to happen any time soon.  So, better cycle parking provision in homes (another planning issue!) and at destinations, introduction of parking charges at various locations; a major push by the Council to reduce the number of people driving their children to school are some possible short term measures.

How would you as a local candidate tackle Air Pollution and what do you propose should be done at council level to help reduce the pollution on our streets?

see answer above. It’s not possible for one person to solve the problems of traffic and air pollution. However, one thing I would like to see is a much better response from the Council towards illegal refuse fires, usually set by ‘cowboy’ and other builders.

What would you do to help bring the community back together so that all residents feel included in council decision and future regeneration schemes?

51% of those voting in favour was good enough for Brexit and we live in a supposed democracy, so 60% should be good enough for a filtered neighbourhood.  Any community will probably remain divided on this and other issues.  Ongoing proper consultation (not just ‘box ticking’) should help, and when the schemes have been in place for some time, hopefully the benefits will be seen and spread to other areas.  As for future regeneration schemes, the whole planning system needs to be reset to achieve new and radical change.

1.      Would you support a ban on pavement parking in Manchester?

In principle yes, but this is not going to be physically or politically possible until there is a huge improvement in public transport and provision for sustainable transport modes.

2.    Would you support an improved bus network, including expanded services and routes and increasing the dedicated bus lane network in Manchester?

 Yes.

3.  Would you support improved rail services and access at Levenshulme station, including step-free access and for more frequent services and routes?

Yes.

4.    Would you support the implementation of School Streets across Levenshulme / Burnage?

I would support a trial scheme at a couple of schools to see how it goes.  There is a possibility that a ‘school street’ will just move the problems of congestion and air pollution further away from the school – see how this has worked for parking pollution round the Universities and Christie Hospital.  Another issue is that it penalises people who need their vehicles for work e.g. bus drivers, bin men, delivery vans etc whereas selfish parents will just carry on and park in other streets.

5.     Would you support infrastructure to improve safety on ‘boundary roads’ including traffic calming and pedestrian crossings?

I’m not sure how one classifies a road as a ‘boundary road’ so I’ll just say I support traffic calming which does not discourage cycling and pedestrian crossings, in principle.

6.     Would you support action to strengthen the network of modal filters and provide safe active travel routes throughout Levenshulme/Burnage?

Yes.

7.   Would you support a segregated cycle lane for the A6 from Stockport to Manchester city centre?

In principle yes, but I don’t think there is enough room at several points.  There is however, a quiet route for much of the distance but it needs much better signing.

8.   Would you support an enforced 20mph default speed limit in built-up areas in Levenshulme /Burnage?

I support 20mph zones in residential areas, but we’re not likely to get them enforced any time soon given GM Police’s reluctance to do so due to personnel restrictions.

9.  Would you support implementation of a Clean Air Zone in Manchester (and across Gr Manchester) to meet legal air quality limits in the ‘shortest time possible’?

Yes, provided it included private motor vehicles as well as commercial vehicles.  But bear in mind there are already ‘air quality management areas’ in Greater Manchester, in which GM Councils have failed to manage air quality! 

10.   Would you support a tougher voluntary air quality limit of 30ug/m3 for nitrogen dioxide in Manchester?

Yes.  But bear in mind the UK has been in breach of the (EU) legal limits of NOx since 2010, so unless either of the main political parties has the conviction to take radical action, any significant improvement is unlikely to be achieved. Of course, if the Green Party achieves a majority on Manchester Council then we will actually get some action rather than more ‘strategy documents’ and ‘feasibility studies’ from GMCA and TfGM!