2019 Cambridge City Elections: Queen Edith’s Ward

 Cambridge City Council 
Polling date:2nd May 2019
Ward:Queen Edith's
Candidates (by surname):Sam DAVIES (Independent)
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (Green Party)

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?

Sam DAVIES (Independent)Yes, elected officials should be responding to climate change as an emergency. To me, that means embracing a radical step-change in awareness and ambition across all the activities of their own institutions. It also requires them to look again at their interactions with other institutions - one dimension which requires particular scrutiny is the structure of local government in and around Cambridge. The multiple layers of bureaucracy (City, County, District, GCP, Combined Authority) are often very unhelpful to delivering action to combat climate change because they seem incapable of co-ordinating their activities; for example, as we are now seeing played out on the Biomedical Campus, planning decisions to expand employment sites (City Council) have been taken in isolation from the creation of transport infrastructure to get people to/from those sites (County Council, GCP, CA).
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)Yes. My worry is that we may be too late, and so everyone in the world must make this their top priority to limit the damage climate change is already having to our planet. The most effective action each of us can take is to reduce our carbon footprint. Elected officials must lead this by first making their own organisations greener and by helping local businesses and individuals make plans to reduce their own carbon footprint. Secondly elected officials need to plan ahead for the impact of climate change.
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (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.

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?

Sam DAVIES (Independent)Yes, I support a zero carbon target for Cambridge, with a date of 2030. Last year's UN IPCC report stating we have only 12 years in which to act for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C has done a great job of raising awareness of what's at stake but realistically it will take time to turn the ship around. However, while that is happening we need to beware the 'value-action gap' and make sure we're not settling for tokenistic virtue-signalling rather than productive action.
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)Yes, I want to work hard as a city councilor to make the city zero-carbon by 2030. I also want to effect change by increasing the number of electric charge points around the city so that Cambridge leads the way in cleaner transport regarding cars and buses. For the majority of people that can cycle I want to see even greater efforts made in cycling infrastructure so that people of all ages feel safe to use their cycles all year round.
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (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.

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?

Sam DAVIES (Independent)Obviously Cambridge City Council has a key leadership role, though the proliferation of other bodies active in the area (mentioned in 1) muddies the waters to some extent. In the next 12 months, it should be far more ambitious with its own building projects - for example, the houses it is currently planning and building through its Cambridge Investment Partnership with Hill ought to be specified to be zero carbon (equivalent to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6). Moreover, not only should the housing itself be sustainable, the new neighbourhoods which the City Council is creating (such as the GB1/2 sites on Wort's Causeway) ought to be designed to achieve the BREEAM Communities standard. Sustainability is about people as well as places!
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)The Labour-led City Council is about to lead the way over the next 12 months by declaring a Climate emergency and calling on government to take the necessary action to enable Cambridge to become a net zero-carbon city. I personally support the council’s Climate change charter and the aim to facilitate local businesses and individuals to make plans to reduce their own carbon footprint.
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (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.

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?

Sam DAVIES (Independent)Yes, I support a more ambitious tree planting programme in and around Cambridge. And not only do I support it, I am doing my utmost to actually make it happen. I can't say too much at the moment but I am piloting a really interesting project with the County Council directly targeted at creating a substantial new area of woodland to the south of the city. Beacon Forest - you read it here first!
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)Labour has an ambitious and very successful scheme of tree planting. I fully support this. I would like to work with South Cambs District council to find ways that both authorities can plant new woodland areas around Cambridge.
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (Green Party)Yes and yes. Reforestation is critical and Cambridge needs to play its part. This could be a fantastic opportunity to combine climate action with education, by having school children do trips to learn about reforestation, and to plant trees.

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?

Sam DAVIES (Independent)I don't know the size of my own carbon footprint, but I do know it's smaller than it was a year ago. My family have always got around by walking and biking, but I'm now trying to convert them to a mainly vegetarian diet and I'm also trying to be much more conscious of buying food that doesn't come wrapped in plastic. The next big decision I have to make is about replacing my 13 year old car. I don't drive very often at all, and I would be willing to sign up to a car club for the times when I do need to drive - but there is no provision anywhere in my neighbourhood. I'm still researching what my next best alternative would look like, without asking my 88 year old mother-in-law to climb in the bike trailer ...
Manas DEB (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Dan GREEF (Labour Party)I would love to know exactly what my carbon footprint is. I plan to reduce my meat consumption which as we know has a massive impact on carbon levels and is generally is damaging to the environment.
George PIPPAS (Liberal Democrat)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Elizabeth WHITEBREAD (Green Party)I did an online calculation of my own carbon footprint several years ago. I don't remember exactly what it was but I know it was lower than the average because I don't own a car and am a vegan. I'd like to get some solar panels for the house: we are saving up!