Tim Warren, Conservative BaNES shadow cabinet member for Transport, sent me a detailed response to my critique of the BaNES Conservative Transport Manifesto and I honestly feel it deserves it’s own space rather than tacked on the end of the critique. I will update the original article to link to this. I would like to just thank Tim Warren for taking time for writing. Campaigning to improve the lot of people that cycle is all about discourse. It is encouraging that Tim felt it worth writing to me and I hope this bodes well for further discussions in the future.
Dear Mr Reynolds,
Thank you for taking the time and effort to read our manifesto and respond, however, I am slightly disappointed that the author of this article has chosen to take such a negative view of our ‘Getting B&NES Moving’ manifesto, and feel that many elements of our Manifesto have been misinterpreted (or in some case over-interpreted) in this evaluation.
I find this analysis particularly disappointing given the fact that our Transport Manifesto puts sustainable transport – including cycling – at the heart of our proposals.
We could not be clearer in our commitment to invest in, and encourage greater use of, walking, cycling, buses and trains as sustainable and attractive modes transport. Building upon the Council’s existing Transport Strategy, which Conservatives supported, this includes a clear commitment to investing in safe walking and cycling routes, with a particular emphasis on more dedicated and segregated cycleways – as supported in the Get Britain Cycling manifesto because they are safer for cyclists. In fact we would welcome any specific ideas on how and where funding for new and improved cycle routes could best be spent, and we do agree with your comments on the need for greater cycle storage facilities connected to public transport.
In addition, we would also like to see more done to encourage the use of Government-backed Cycle to Work Schemes.
Whilst our manifesto clearly aims to encourage the greater use of public and sustainable transport in order to reduce dependence on the car, it does recognise that, if we are to tackle our area’s congestion and air pollution problems, we do need to invest in infrastructure – this includes cycle infrastructure, bus infrastructure, rail infrastructure, and yes road infrastructure too. In particular we believe that we need to reduce through-traffic in Bath – including getting work started on an East of Bath Park & Ride and lobbying the Government on the need for a new road project to the east of Bath, as well looking at ways to improve traffic flow at notorious bottlenecks.
But this investment is not just about the car – investment in road infrastructure would also benefit both cyclists and buses by helping to make our roads quieter and safer. It is often also overlooked that lack of investment in tackling potholes can pose greater problems and dangers for cyclists than car drivers.
I therefore hope that I have been able to provide some clarification over our stance on this issue and reassurance on our continued commitment to both cycling and sustainable transport more generally.