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West Midlands mayoral candidates back active travel pledges

Will Strickson
29 Apr 2021

Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem candidates all sign up to support five pledges to transform the region's active travel infrastructure

Several key West Midlands mayoral candidates have signed up to five pledges to transform the region's active travel infrastructure.

Andy Street, Liam Byrne MP and Jenny Wilkinson – from the Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems respectively – have committed to a series of undertakings proposed by Adam Tranter, Coventry's Bicycle Mayor, alongside Sustrans West Midlands, Living Streets, Cycling UK, British Cycling and Push Bikes Birmingham.

They argued that the West Midlands has an unfulfilled potential for active travel, with research gathered by Sustrans in 2019 suggesting that 30% of residents would like to cycle but don't and that the majority believe cycle safety needs improving.

Steve Caudwell, Green Party candidate, said while he supported the pledges with many already featured in his manifesto, he didn't sign up officially due to a concern of 'the growth of pledge politics'.

The five agreed points are:

  • Pledge to meet the Government’s targets to double levels of cycling by 2025 and for 50% of all journeys in West Midlands towns and cities to be walked or cycled by 2030
  • Only commit funding to projects that provide high-quality active travel provision as assessed by an independent peer review board
  • Sign up to the Vision Zero ambition to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from the streets of the West Midlands
  • Support the local implementation of active neighbourhoods, enabling safe and more active communities. Launch a publicly-stated target and plan to reduce car dependency in the West Midlands
  • Appoint an Active Travel Commissioner to lead the West Midlands cycling and walking revolution; providing them with the political support and funding to achieve real change.

Tranter said of the agreement, 'Enabling a shift to walking and cycling for short journeys is no longer a "nice to have", it's essential to clean up the region's toxic air, tackle climate change and to build a more equitable and healthy transport system.

'We need to reduce our car dependency and the time for change is now; the next elected Mayor of the West Midlands needs to not only have a bold vision but a desire to act immediately to realise the region's active travel potential.'

For more information on the pledges and to read responses from all the involved candidates, visit adamtranter.com.

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