2019 Cambridge City Elections: Market Ward

 Cambridge City Council
Polling Date:2nd May 2019
Candidates (by surname):
Emma GARNETT (Green Party)
Steve KING (Labour Party)
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)

Question 1

Do you agree that elected officials should now be responding to climate change as an emergency? Please answer yes or no. If ‘yes’, what do you mean by this? If ‘no’, why not?

Emma GARNETT (Green Party)Yes; although it should have been considered an emergency years ago. To deal effectively with this emergency, every decision made by the City Council must have climate change as the starting point for discussion and action. As with any emergency, it needs strong leadership. We need officials willing to actively promote and push policies to minimise our carbon footprint, protect our environment and prepare for the impact climate change will have in Cambridge.
Steve KING (Labour Party)Yes.
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)Yes, because it is an emergency! We cannot wait for national government to do this for us. In Cambridge, this means taking some swift decisions to reduce the City’s impact on climate change by prioritising public transport, making buses and taxis cleaner and charging the biggest polluters more to use our roads. As well as road related issues, we need to take a stronger stand on other forms of pollution such as our reliance on cheap, non-recycled plastics and we need to promote more flexible working to reduce the need to travel for work where possible - something I am passionate about as I co-founded and co-chair a staff forum at Anglia Ruskin University to promote better and more inclusive ways of working to facilitate these kind of arrangements. We need to incentivise new housing developments to include carbon reducing materials and we must tie any new housing to reliable and prioritised public transport as well as good local amenities (shops, community spaces) so people need to travel less.

Question 2

Do you support the setting of a net zero carbon target for the city of Cambridge? If ‘Yes’ when do you think we should be aiming for Cambridge to be net zero carbon? If ‘no’, why not?

Emma GARNETT (Green Party)Yes. The Green Party proposed a plan to the Cambridge City Council to make the target 2030. This was sadly rejected. It was not properly adopted a second time when the Council finally declared a climate emergency this year. We maintain that 2030 is the latest target we should be aiming for. In addition, a clear road map needs to be proposed to achieve this.
Steve KING (Labour Party)Yes. 2030.
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)Yes, by 2030 - as the Liberal Democrats proposed at the recent City Council meeting but it was rejected by Labour. We know that this is being achieved elsewhere in the UK and Cambridge is a city with the technology and intellectual resources to achieve this. Our Lib Dem manifesto commits us to setting this target if we win control of the council and it’s one of our top three priorities for the city.

Question 3

Cambridge City Council is a central organisation in Cambridge. What do you think its role is in local leadership in relation to climate action? What specific additional actions in relation to climate change do you support the City Council doing in the coming 12 months?

Emma GARNETT (Green Party)Around the city the council should:-
Improve green spaces, and increase tree planting.
In tree removal planning applications have the default response be refusal, unless excellent reasoning can be shown for the need to remove the tree.
Require new builds incorporate planting, and also to incorporate low carbon building materials, and technologies such as solar panels to generate either electricity or hot water for the building.
Work to require buses be emission free, as they contribute a lot to air pollution in the city. This would require working together with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor.
Improve bus routes so that people don’t feel they “have to drive” as public transport is inconvenient.
Improve areas where cycling is dangerous to encourage cycling rather than use of cars.
Look into nappy recycling services. Many people in Cambridge are using disposable nappies, which – with the right treatment – can be mostly recycled.
Steve KING (Labour Party)The City of Cambridge has a unique profile in this country and globally, and should leverage this as a force for good. There is no better way in which our city can use this position than to act, and press others to act, to tackle and slow down the effects of climate change. Specifically, I would like to see the following actions:

Work with the County Council and the GCP to produce a workable plan on free and effective public transport for the city
Learn from, and work with, other world cities of a similar size who have workable and viable plans to be carbon neutral by or before 2030. Host a summit in Cambridge with leaders from these cities, with the end result being a roadmap for carbon neutrality, which can act as a blueprint for other global cities
Continue to pressure the central government to act
Partner with our universities to generate thought leadership on this issue
Provide incentives for meat-free food vendors in the city, especially at key events such as the Strawberry Fair
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)I think that the City Council and its members have a huge responsibility to take this seriously, both as a group and as individuals. Our Lib Dem manifesto calls for better recycling (in terms of public awareness, better waste food collection provision and water fountains to avoid plastic bottle purchases). We want to see more trees planted around the city and an energy investment scheme for shops, industrial units and offices in the Council’s property portfolio.

The Council should also look at bus prioritisation, and better services for charging electric vehicles across the City and should push for more resources from Government to support this. This is why I support the introduction of pollution monitors at key points around the City (eg schools, busy junctions) so we can ensure that any charging policy is having the desired effect, and also so that local residents can see the reasons for any changes as well as future improvements. Bringing the community on board and being transparent about the motivation for any new policy is vital. On a personal level, each of us has a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint and to be vocal about how we are doing this. For example, I don’t own a car and walk or use buses around Cambridge and trains for longer journeys. We are trying to minimise our carbon footprint by choosing not to fly, by using glass milk bottles, bags for life and refusing to buy fruit wrapped in plastic. For other people, different solutions will be appropriate to their lifestyle and needs but I believe that we can all make a different at a local level.

Question 4

Green spaces and trees remove carbon dioxide and other pollutants from the atmosphere, provide shade, help reduce flooding and often contribute to a feeling of well being. Would you support a more ambitious tree planting programme in Cambridge city? Also, suggestions have been made recently to create new areas of woodland around Cambridge. Would you support ambitious tree planting programmes around Cambridge city?

Emma GARNETT (Green Party)Yes and yes. Reforestation is critical and Cambridge needs to take part. This could be a fantastic opportunity to combine biodiversity and climate action with education, by having school children take trips to learn about reforestation, and to plant trees. We have some beautiful woods around Cambridge, such as Hayley’s wood, but they are only small nature reserves, about the same size as nearby golf courses! It would be fantastic to have more wild spaces in Cambridgeshire for everyone to enjoy.
Steve KING (Labour Party)Yes.
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)Yes, I support the existing Liberal Democrat initiative to provide Year 4 children with trees to plant and our call for a net positive target for trees on council- managed land and increased funding for bio-diversity in council-managed open spaces. Liberal Democrats have already supported new woodland areas around Cambridge (at the Clay Farm and the Trumpington Meadows developments) and want to continue this at Marshalls airfield.
I support tree planting around the City and also community initiatives to encourage people to water the trees in the hot periods and to get involved with planting and caring for them. (my daughter and I watered our local trees last summer in the heat). However, I think that this should not detract from the crucial issue of pollution in the city, which still needs to be reduced irrespective of any extra trees that we can plant.

Question 5

Finally, do you know the size of your own Carbon Footprint? Can you identify one thing you’d like to change but haven’t yet managed to move your own carbon footprint towards zero carbon?

Emma GARNETT (Green Party)Around 8 tonnes of CO2, below the UK average but much higher than the world average and the global sustainable level. I mostly bike and get the train, I would like to reduce my travel emissions by using electric vehicles which I haven’t managed to do yet.
Steve KING (Labour Party)I do not know the size of my own carbon footprint. I don’t drive a car and walk everywhere or use public transport. I do take 6-8 flights a year for business.

One thing I am trying to do this year is eat less meat, and at work I am resolving to take advantage of vegetarian options in our staff canteen daily.
William PHELPS (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Katie PORRER (Liberal Democrat)I checked this recently on the WWF site and it’s around 9.5 tonnes. We don’t own a car and use public transport or walk to work and school. We don’t fly and for our holidays we stay in the UK and travel by train to Cornwall, Scotland or Norfolk.

I am particularly annoyed by the pointless wrapping of food or toys in plastic for no reason. Bananas have their own wrapping already! I have already stopped buying wrapped fruit and instead use a local stall which provides paper bags. We already use glass milk bottles, recycled/recyclable loo and kitchen rolls, eco cleaning products and don’t buy bottled water any more to try our reduce our impact. However, there is a huge problem with toys and gifts (particularly for children) which are often made of non-recycled, non-recyclable plastic as well as being covered in this. This would be what I plan to change next - avoiding buying any unsustainable plastic toys and gifts or non-recycled wrapping paper (and re-using any paper we are given).