Election Cycle 2016 – Belfast North

At the start of April 2016 the President of Cycling UK (and Channel 4 News presenter) Jon Snow contacted all Northern Ireland Assembly Election candidates to ask for their support in three simple policy asks around cycling investment, building a greenway network and delivering an Active Travel Act.

Election_Cycle_2016

The responses received from candidates standing in Belfast North will be listed below. You can also click on each name to contact your local candidates through Twitter or Facebook to ask them to respond if they haven’t already. (Social media contact details not available for some candidates.)

Name Party Investment Greenways Legislation
Ken Boyle UKIP YES YES YES
Comments: “I am happy to pledge my support to this cause. Opting to Cycle or walk has huge benefits, for our people’s health and well-being. Research shows that it has immense long term benefits to our environment, and economy. I fully support investment and future development in this respect. I would also like to see a legislation that cyclists should wear safety equipment when travelling about this could also be family orientated.”
Paula Bradley DUP ? ? ?
Comments:
Tom Burns Independent ? ? ?
Comments:
Lesley Carroll UUP YES YES YES
Comments: “I am happy to support your call for investments, greenways and legislation. These actions would have a significant impact on our care for the environment and also contribute to better physical and mental health and well-being.”
Geoff Dowey NIF YES YES YES
Comments: “I agree in principal with all your suggestions but with the proviso that cyclists using public roads should be required by law to wear appropriate safety clothing and head gear, cyclists should, if using public roads, be required to have insurance against 3rd party injury, cyclists using public roads should be bound by the road traffic acts as are motor cyclists and other road users. I find it disappointing that in a number of photos on the Sustrans site we see happy cyclists without any head gear or any other safety wear. I find it appealing that in London and now Belfast the councils have provide cycles for public use without any insistence about the wearing of safety helmets as a minimum requirement.”
Fiona Ferguson PBPA YES YES YES
Comments: “People before Profit supports an Active Travel Act and increased investment to facilitate cycling. We have campaigned for more space for bikes on trains and buses and to allow bikes on trains before 09.30 to facilitate workers who commute using bike and train.

“We support the development of a Greenway network and have been active supporters of the Foyle Greenway. We want to see Greenways planned and built alongside the upgraded A6 and A5 roads. People Before Profit works to ensure that there is no contradiction between the interests of cycling and rail – opposing any removal of rail lines which might be re-opened.”

Fra Hughes Independent YES YES YES
Comments: “I support all three principles that encourage more use of cycling, cycle lanes funding and access to land in rural areas for walking and biking.”
William Humphrey DUP ? ? ?
Comments:
Billy Hutchinson PUP YES YES YES
Comments: “Yes the PUP support all of the policies you have proposed. We need to see how these are best implemented. I have a frustration in relation to transport plans that the road designers and others don’t always look at all the factors and therefore miss out on the how.

We are supportive, and the other thing that we would argue is that planners in the UK are in that particular mindset of urban planning we really need to expose are key planners to the European thinking and expression. I am trying to convince the planning service in Belfast to agree a planner exchange with Oslo to see how they plan their city. We need to get our planners exposure to how European cities plan. The planning services have to write local development plan’s and now is the ideal time to talk to party’s about what needs to be in the plan – all of this is key.”

Gerry Kelly Sinn Féin ? ? ?
Comments:
Nichola Mallon SDLP YES YES YES
Comments: “I’m happy to say we support the calls of Election Cycle 2016 – for investment, for greenways and legislation.

“The SDLP believes that there are many positives to be achieved from cycling – both from an economic and health perspective.

“We are very sympathetic to the needs of cyclists and the necessity to create a sustainable transport system for the whole of Northern Ireland. Cycle use cannot significantly develop without the right infrastructure and safety measures in place.

“I personally have enjoyed the cycle along the Comber Greenway and as a party, we are keen to explore further development of Greenways, as we believe this will help build sustainable tourism such as walking and cycling.

“My party colleague on the council, Cllr Tim Attwood, led the campaign to secure almost £700,000 from the Minister of Regional Development to introduce the now very successful Belfast public cycle hire scheme launched last year.

“The SDLP believes that Northern Ireland needs a long-term and dedicated strategy to improve cycling provision. A successful scheme will reduce the number of road accidents involving bicycles and will increase cycle use across the North. We believe that the growing cycling culture in Northern Ireland must be supported by department if it is to grow and flourish.”

Nuala McAllister Alliance YES YES YES
Comments: “We still have a long way to go to get the best cycling strategy in NI, in terms of safety for the user and enjoyment for public.

“As an Alliance Councillor, I have advocated on behalf of many constituents regarding the issues affecting cyclists, including parked cars in cycling lanes, forcing police to monitor illegally parked cars where cyclists could be affected, particularly given cyclists should remain on the road.

“Additionally, I have lobbied the DRD Minister to raise awareness and questions around the lack of safe cycle lanes on North Belfast constituency and the safety of cyclists when exiting the Fortwilliam roundabout onto Shore Road. I have had numerous contacts with residents, road users and cyclists to bring more awareness to the safety of the individual cyclist- after all, we encourage active movement, so we need to ensure cyclists are protected when on the road.

“Alliance is fully committed to the delivery of a first class integrated, sustainable and active travel for the people of Northern Ireland and recognises the multiple health, social and economic benefits in particular of cycling. As a candidate with Alliance, we are committed to fully supporting a wide range of enhanced cycling provision in NI, including;

  • Increased investment in cycling of at least £10 per head of population.
  • The development and realisation of the health, rural regeneration and tourism potential of Greenways across the region and where possibly with connectivity to the rest of the island.
  • An Active Travel Act to incorporate cycling and walking provision into land-use and new development.
“We will work with everyone to make this the best cycling region in these islands.”
Nelson McCausland DUP NO YES NO
Comments: “In our manifesto the DUP has committed to developing a Greenway Network across Northern Ireland that provides traffic-free space for walkers and cyclists for both leisure and commuting. These proposals will be an opportunity for partnership work between the new Department of Infrastructure and the 11 new Councils.

“Obviously the development of any such network will require significant investment, we have not set a specific spending target. The promotion of cycling however also fits with our commitment to promote public health and to encourage active and healthy aging. Investment in activities such as cycling can help reduce the amount spent on tackling issues such as obesity.

“Within the manifesto there is not a specific commitment to legislation on the issue, but we would certainly be happy to examine proposals were they to come forward.”

John Miller TUV ? ? ?
Comments:
Carál Ní Chuilín Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “My response is YES to the 3 questions.  Good luck to you all.”
Malachai O’Hara Greens YES YES YES
Comments: “I can confirm that as a green party candidate I can say yes, yes and yes to your three questions. I look forward to working with you in the future and promoting a sustainable cycling revolution in Northern Ireland.”
Abdo Thabet NILRC YES YES YES
Comments: “I am happy to fully support the measures you outline; there are tangible benefits to all in term of physical health and mental well-being and protection of the environment.”
Gemma Weir Workers Party YES YES YES
Comments: “We are delighted to be able to support the three initiatives you propose and agree that their full implementation can make a significant difference to health, the environment and the economy.

 “As Workers Party candidates we are fully committed to a safer, healthier environment, a healthier population and to alternative forms of travel and leisure opportunities.
“The ‘Investment, Greenways and Legislation’ strategy will require not just the commitment of individual candidates but inclusion in the next Programme for Government and a public commitment to joined up implementation across a number of Executive departments and a robust and innovative approach to funding and development.
“We are happy to give a commitment that we would work towards those ends.”

DUP – Democratic Unionist Party
NIF – Northern Ireland First
NILRC – Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee
PBPA – People Before Profit Alliance
PUP – Progressive Unionist Party
SDLP – Social Democratic and Labour Party
TUV – Traditional Unionist Voice
UKIP – United Kingdom Independence Party
UUP – Ulster Unionist Party

If you’re a candidate and would like to share your views on our questions to make Northern Ireland a better place for cycling, then we want to hear from you. Please email us at nigreenways@gmail.com and we’ll update this page as soon as possible.

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Election Cycle 2016 is a joint effort by the good people at:

Cycling_UK_logo        SustransLogo     cropped-nigreenways235

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