Map of the Newcastle North parliamentary constituency 2024

General Election 2024

Map of the Newcastle North parliamentary constituency 2024

Gosforth is now part of the Newcastle upon Tyne North constituency

We have had a look at the political manifestos for the forthcoming general election on Thursday 4 July to see what they say about walking, cycling and other local transport issues.

At the last general election in 2019, there was remarkable political alignment from all parties about the need to prioritise and encourage walking and cycling. That is no longer the case.

Walking and cycling can though help with many of the big challenges facing the country that all parties are concerned about including cost of living, improving health, and the environment.

We have included links to Living Streets, Cycling UK and other transport organisations who have commented on party manifestos at the end of the blog.


TRANSPORT QUIZ: Which party leader:

  1. Was recently fined for speeding?
  2. Received a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt?
  3. Was criticised for parking their chauffeur-driven car in a disabled parking bay?
  4. Knocked a cyclist off their bike, but wasn’t prosecuted by the police?

See below for answers.


MANIFESTO HIGHLIGHTS

Labour – Catherine McKinnell

Labour Party Manifesto

Under the title “Kickstart economic growth”, the Labour Party promises a “modern transport network.”

They say “Cars remain by far the most popular form of transport. Labour will maintain and renew our road network, to ensure it serves drivers, cyclists and other road users, remains safe, and tackles congestion. We will fix an additional one million potholes across England in each year of the next parliament.”

They will also restore the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines.

In 2019 Labour said they would “increase the funding available for cycling and walking”, proposing “a capital budget of £4.7bn (£940m per annum) or £50 per person per head.” There is no similar spending commitment in the 2024 manifesto.

In Wales, the devolved Labour Government has introduced a 20mph default speed limit in built up areas. This has resulted in a 32% reduction in casualties and a 20% reduction in insurance claims. The Welsh Labour Government has also committed that “all future roads must pass strict criteria which means they must not increase carbon emissions, they must not increase the number of cars on the road, they must not lead to higher speeds and higher emissions, and they must not negatively impact the environment.”

Labour nationally has refused to commit to specific transport projects ahead of the election, but has in opposition commissioned an “independent review of rail and urban transport infrastructure”.

In a recent tweet, Louise Haigh (Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport) also said “Labour will support local authorities to provide the safe, accessible cycling infrastructure that is right for their areas – so that everyone who wants to cycle can.”

Conservatives – Guy Renner-Thompson

Conservative Party Manifesto

Since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, the Conservative UK government has cut funding for active travel, withdrawn guidance for Councils to make streets safer, delayed the ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035, argued against low traffic neighbourhoods that they previously promoted despite their own research report saying twice as many residents supported schemes as opposed it, and introduced a new “plan for drivers” partly based on conspiracy theories.

They have also failed to act on the pavement parking consultation that finished in November 2020.

In their manifesto, the Conservative Party proposes a number of policies that will make it harder for Local Authorities to implement road safety schemes like 20mph or Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and have recently completed a consultation to limit Local Authorities’ ability to enforce traffic offences.

The Conservatives say they will “introduce a Backing Drivers Bill that will: Rule out top-down blanket Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph zones” saying “they must only be considered on a road-by-road basis and with the support of people who live there.”  We will require any new schemes to be put to a referendum and introduce a ‘right to challenge’ existing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph schemes.”

Subject to the above, they do say they “will work with Active Travel England to make it safer for people to walk or cycle, including projects like ensuring safe walking routes to schools and measures to protect pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users” and will “will extend the £2 bus fare cap in England for the entirety of the next Parliament”.

This is a very limited ambition given their Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Strategy confirms that “Active travel is good for the environment, our economy and public health.”

Guy Renner-Thompson, was also the Conservative candidate for NE Mayor. In that campaign he stated his intention to discourage “any developments that hinder car access” and to prioritise key road dualling and junction upgrades. He also said he wanted to scrap Newcastle’s Clean Air Zone, which has cut air pollution in Newcastle city centre.

Liberal Democrat – Aidan King

Liberal Democrat Manifesto

The Liberal Democrats say that “A safe, reliable transport system is vital for economic prosperity in all parts of the country. And improving transport is essential to combat climate change and air pollution.”

The Liberal Democrats say they will:

  • Transform how people travel by creating new cycling and walking networks with a new nationwide active travel strategy.
  • Give more of the roads budget to local councils to maintain existing roads, pavements and cycleways, including repairing potholes.
  • Pass a Clean Air Act, based on World Health Organization guidelines, enforced by a new Air Quality Agency.

The new manifesto doesn’t include their 2019 commitment to spend 10 per cent of the transport budget on walking and cycling.

Aidan King also recently stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate for NE Mayor as well as being a candidate in the Local Elections in South Jesmond ward. In his Council election leaflet he said that he was pleased the Labour Council removed the bollards stopping through traffic on Osborne Avenue and Grosvenor Road in Jesmond.

Green – Sarah Peters

Green Party Manifesto

If elected, Greens say they will “push for”:

  • Investment of £2.5bn a year in new cycleways and footpaths.
  • Reimagining how we use streets in residential areas to reduce traffic and open them up for community use.
  • Adopting Active Travel England’s objective of 50% of trips in England’s towns and cities to be walked, wheeled or cycled by 2030.

Green MPs will also “press for: A new Clean Air (Human Rights) Act, giving everyone the right to breathe clean air.”

These commitments are similar to 2019 when the Green Party said they would spend “£2.5 billion a year on new cycleways and footpaths” and aim to “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.”

Reform UK – Deborah Lorraine

Reform UK Manifesto

Reform UK say they will “Legislate to ban ULEZ Clean Air Zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.” 20 mph zones will only be allowed “where safety is critical”. They do not elaborate on where they believe safety is ‘critical’ vs where it is not.

Reform UK do not mention walking or cycling.

Social Democratic Party – Martin Evison

SDP Manifesto

The SDP Manifesto says:

  • They “will oppose new low-emission zones unless they have the clear public support of the local community. We will continue to build dedicated cycle lanes, but will not hive space off crowded roads to do so.”
  • “Funding for bus travel will be increased to enable fare reductions, increased frequency, increased security, new bus lanes, integration with other modes of transport and the protection of essential rural routes.”

Independent – King Teare

Facebook page

King Teare hasn’t shared any policies.


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QUIZ ANSWERS Which party leader:

  1. Was recently fined for speeding? Ed Davey
  2. Received a fixed penalty notice for not wearing a seatbelt? Rishi Sunk
  3. Was criticised for parking their chauffeur-driven car in a disabled parking bay? Nigel Farage
  4. Knocked a cyclist off their bike, but wasn’t prosecuted by the police? Keir Starmer

 

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