2019 Cambridge City Elections: Romsey Ward

 Cambridge City Council
Polling date:2nd May 2019
Candidates (by surname):
Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)
Anna SMITH (Labour 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?

Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)Yes, now is a crucial time for us to act if we are to keep temperature rises within 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is an existential threat and we owe this to our world and our species both in the near and distant future. We have all seen the protest taking place in London at the moment, and their concerns are genuine and valid. Now is the time to listen and make the necessary changes.
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Anna SMITH (Labour Party)Absolutely – yes.

I think this is at three levels:

1. we should, as should everyone, do everything we can to reduce our own individual carbon footprint, and to be visible about that wherever possible.

2. we should do all we can to act in our own authority. As a city councillor I've supported a range of measures already, such as licensing our first 20 electric taxis, introducing our first electric taxi charging points, putting solar panels on swimming pools, installing water fountains and increasing the money we are putting into making our own buildings more energy efficient. We are committed to making our council homes as sustainable as possible, and have signed the Cleaner Air Charter. We also need to help our residents mitigate the possible effects of climate change, such as improving drainage and flood defences. Of course, measures like this can only ever be the start – an emergency demands strong action.

3. activity in pressuring others. This includes is other organisations in the city, such as the universities and the County Council, and it includes taking the fight to national and international governments.

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?

Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)Yes, and this is one of the main Liberal Democrat pledges for this year, and one of our top three priorities aiming for a cleaner, greener, fairer Cambridge. Given the severity of the situation, we must aim for 2030, using this target as an incentive to find positive solutions. As a party, we tried to pass a motion at council to this effect but it was amended from 2030 to 2050 by the currently Labour-led council.
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Anna SMITH (Labour Party)Yes. We need to aim for this to be as soon as possible, but targets are helpful in holding us to account. So I'm supporting the City Council's plan to set up a Climate Change Charter so we can plan to achieve a carbon neutral city by 2030. For this to happen, we also need to make sure that we are actively lobbying other local organisations (eg the County Council) and national/international governments. I hope that we are member of the EU for as long as possible, and whilst we are still members, we should be fighting hard for legislation which advances the environmental agenda.

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?

Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)The City Council is pivotal in encouraging action from the universities, business and residents of our city. As a party, we Liberal Democrats have pledged to review the Climate Change Strategy 2016-2021, introduce an energy investment scheme for shops, offices and industrial units, and add many visible facilities for making the city greener, such as electric car charging points, more tree planting, and public water fountains.
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Anna SMITH (Labour Party)Firstly, a city council must lead by example. For instance, Cambridge City Council runs a climate leaders event, is promoting the Cleaner Air Charter, and has declared a climate emergency. We must also do everything we possibly can to reduce emissions in our own services and facilities, and I support the work we've done so far to make our own buildings more energy efficient. I want to see us continue to work on this – there is much to do.

There's so much more that we can do, of course, and I support the plans set out in Cambridge Labour's manifesto including declaring a biodiversity emergency, improving food sustainability, reducing the use of chemical herbicides in parks and on grass verges, and introducing more electric car charging points.

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?

Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)Liberal Democrats in Cambridge have a proven track record of supporting tree planting and parkland creation, including in the Clay Farm and Trumpington Meadows developments. We intend to do the same at Marshalls airfield under our proposals for developing that area.We also want to introduce a Children's Tree Scheme, include biodiversity considerations in local planning policy and public scheme design and management, and increase funding for bio-diversity in council-managed open spaces.
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Anna SMITH (Labour Party)Trees are vital to our city and to life. I have always been a supporter of planting as many trees as possible, (with the caveat that we need to ensure that we are planting the right tree in the right place, and that it is better to assess canopy cover than play a 'numbers game', because quality matters as well as quantity).

As Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, I oversaw the expansion of the Trees for Infants Programme, and ensured that we always planted more trees than were lost. I also put in place an ambitious future vision for thousands more trees to be planted, planning for which is ongoing.

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?

Joshua BLANCHARD LEWIS (Liberal Democrat)As a keen cyclist who does not own a car, I rarely use any form of motorised transport to get around, and I also mostly eat vegetarian; when I introduced some meat for health reasons, I chose chicken largely because of its much lower carbon impact. I also avoid most seafood because of environmental concerns. I hope to start growing more of my own food now that I have a garden again, after living in a flat for a year.
Martin KEEGAN (Conservative Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Caitlin PATTERSON (Green Party)This candidate did not respond to the questionnaire
Anna SMITH (Labour Party)I try hard to keep my personal carbon footprint low. I like to avoid flying for holidays, preferring to travel to and within Europe by train. I'm very fortunate to live in a well-insulated flat and I also expect to wear warm clothes in the winter rather than wearing tee-shirts and turning up the heat. (I've only had to turn the heating on once all winter – for about an hour.) The majority of my meals are vegetarian, and I try to reduce food waste wherever I can, by buying only what I need and using up leftovers.

I support the development of the council's new climate charter and will of course be submitting my own pledges as part of that. I rarely drive, preferring to walk or cycle, but I have become a bit reliant recently on the luxury of accepting a lift to work, and I know I need to go back to walking before that becomes a habit.