Green transport policy for Cambridge

congestion_charge08:25 Monday 9th March 2015
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: It is the final day of the Green Party conference in Liverpool. Of course everyone building up to the General Election in May. Let’s talk now to Rupert Read, who’s the Green Party’s Parliamentary candidate for Cambridge. Rupert good morning to you.
RUPERT READ: Good morning Chris.
CHRIS MANN: I know you spoke on an interesting subject, how to combat UKIP, because obviously for you they’re a challenge as another one of the parties that are potentially in the mix.
RUPERT READ: Yes. So one of the things I was saying when I spoke on this at Liverpool was that UKIP attract some people who are looking to make a vote of protest against the old parties, who are looking to have a real alternative to the failed parties of the past. And what I was saying to conference was we can make a case in the Greens that we’re a much more positive alternative than UKIP. UKIP are only a negative voice. We actually have something to offer, a vision of a genuinely better future, a vision of a sustainable future. And I was also pointing out that sometimes people are very surprised when they hear about UKIP’s policies, for example ..
CHRIS MANN: Well let’s not go into UKIP’s policies right now, because they’re not here to defend themselves. I’m sure we’ll discuss it on a future occasion. But let’s talk about transport.
CHRIS MANN: Because a little earlier on I had Michael Dugher who as you know is the Shadow Transport Secretary. He’s in Cambridgeshire today having a look at the park and ride sites, and he was talking with Chamali Fernando the Conservative candidate for Cambridge. One of the things that Chamali said was she thought it would be all best run by a unitary authority, and Michael thinks that there should be a local transport authority. So what would the Greens do?
RUPERT READ: The devolution that is coming, because of the weight of the Scottish referendum, is I think very exciting for Cambridgeshire. Our view is that there is quite a good case for a Greater Cambridge city region, which would be basically the whole southern half of Cambridgeshire, and that this could actually strategically plan for example to protect the Green Belt, but also of course to strategically plan for transport. And that could enable the implementation of our transport ‘greenprint’, our plan for the Greater Cambridge area, to massively improve things through a huge investment in public transport.
CHRIS MANN: So where’s the money going to come from?
RUPERT READ: Well the money would come in part from scrapping road building. The road building plans which are there at present for example in the City Deal are completely going in the wrong direction as far as we’re concerned.
CHRIS MANN: That’s not good news to all the people who are stuck on the A14 east this morning, junction 36 from Nine Mile Hill. They’ve been stuck there for ages, and they want a bigger better A14 I’m sure, don’t they?
RUPERT READ: Well the thing is Chris you can’t build your way out of congestion on the roads. You have to look to alternatives. You have to look to public transport alternatives. You have to look to sensible planning which enables people to work from home. If we expand the A14 we’ll simply suck more cars onto the network, we’ll worsen air pollution problems. The Greens are the only ones that have actually got a joined-up alternative, and the only party that are actually offering a future in which the traffic levels in Cambridge don’t go on increasing.
CHRIS MANN: And presumably our taxes will go up hugely to pay for all this.
RUPERT READ: No. There would be certain targeted taxes. In particular what we want for Cambridge is a congestion charge. Once again we’re the only ones with the courage to say this, the only ones with the courage to say look it worked in London, it would work in Cambridge. No party, no other party has a credible plan to reduce levels of traffic congestion in Cambridge.
CHRIS MANN: Rupert, thank you so much for joining us. He’s a candidate to be MP for Cambridge for the Green Party in the forthcoming General Election.