We were delighted to be part of the Sustainable Transport hustings which were held on Thursday 22nd April as part of the coalition that has come together around the Greater Manchester Mayoral elections 2021. It was an excellent event hosted by Claire Stocks from WalkRideGM and chaired by Hannah Al-Othman from the Sunday Times. There was a huge amount of common ground amongst the three mayoral candidates who appeared at the event, Andy Burnham from Labour, Simon Lepori from the Liberal Democrats and Mel Horrocks from the Green Party. VZYC Manchester and AVZ were especially pleased to see all three candidates agree that it was time to set a date for an end to death and serious injuries on the roads in Great Manchester and that a road danger reduction plan was needed to bring this about.
The coalition of groups – WalkRideGM, Living Streets, Friends of the Earth Manchester, Cycling UK, Unison Manchester , The Ramblers and ourselves – have a total of 10 asks as part of their manifesto for Getting About in Great Manchester one of which is Zero Deaths on our Roads – which asks the candidates to:
“Sign up to Vision Zero & set a target of zero road deaths or serious injuries in GM by 2040. Adopt 20mph as default limit in built-up areas & create safe urban centres & high streets. Prioritise enforcement against offences that pose the greatest harm to others: speeding, careless driving, mobile phone use & uninsured vehicles. Treat road crime as real crime”.
So what did the candidates say at the hustings when asked about Vision Zero?
Simon Lepori from the Liberal Democrats went first and said that we sign up to a Vision Zero approach. We need to slow cars down, it needs to be across all residential areas. 20 is plenty should be default in newly built housing estates. Using flash up speed monitors is useful. Yes he signs up to a Vision Zero spproach and we have been champions of 20’s Plenty for 30 years.
Mel Horrocks from the Green Party said that the party supports Vision Zero approach and we must adopt Vision Zero as a pledge. 20 is plenty is very important and a key message. Lots of these programmes will be made more successful by getting people out of their cars.
Andy Burnham from Labour and the current Mayor of Greater Manchester said that he completely supports Vision Zero and in our manifesto we have a Road Danger Reduction Plan and a zero death policy. Across GM we have 250 million car journeys that are less than 1km…that really needs to change. People need to get out of cars to make roads safer and so incentivising active travel is paramount. The mental health benefits of not using the car and being active should be focused on. He wants to enlarge community speedwatch.
So overall on Vision Zero in Greater Manchester a great result. We are very pleased to see that the hustings gave the chance for the candidates to think about road danger reduction in more detail and expland on the pledges in their manifestos. Whoever is elected on May 6th, we look forward to working with them to bring this key goal about. Embracing Vision Zero and adopting the necessary policies with not only reduce road casualties but it will help clean up the air, reduce CO2 emissions and help create more active and happier and heathier communities…each of these were issues that the candidates had focused on and been almost completely in agreement on as to their importance.