Election Cycle 2016 – South Down

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 South Down 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.

Name Party Investment Greenways Legislation
Sinéad Bradley SDLP YES YES YES
Comments: “Great campaign, particularly for constituency of South Down where we really need investment on tourism potential.  Mountain bike trails and cycles routes sit so well within our gorgeous landscape.

“Also ambitious campaign to link up Co Louth with Warrenpoint via the narrow water bridge project opens up amazing potential.”

Patrick Brown Alliance YES YES YES
Comments: “I am happy to pledge my support for your three manifesto asks – Investment, Greenways and Legislation.”
Michael Gray-Sloan Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “This is an excellent, innovative, initiative; we need more greenways right across Ireland and investment in cycling.”
John Hardy Greens YES YES YES
Comments: “As someone who cycles everyday and hasnt owned a car in over four years, I know the benefits of cycling and sustainable travel and the importance of good cycling infrastrutcutre. I am happy to support these action requests.

  1. Investment: Yes. The Green Party pledges in it’s manifesto to support a £25 per head of population investment, in line with the European standard as supported by the European Cyclists Forum
  2. Greenways: Yes. The development of the Comber Greenway, for example, has been a great boost to those communities who are able to access it.
  3. Legislation: Yes, absolutely. We need to see a move away from a car based infrastructure and lifestyle towards healthier and more public options, by encouraging people to live in cycle and walking friendly environments.”
Chris Hazzard Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: 

  1. Investment – Absolutely, as we face a public health crisis & increasing traffic congestion on our roads it’s time we were creative & innovative with our resources. I would love to see some ideas in future.
  2. Greenways – Yes. as a student in Belfast I was a regular user of Lagan towpath. Would love to see this type of infrastructure everywhere possible. As a South Down MLA I have recently campaigned for the creation of extensive greenways to help enhance our local provision and create world class pathways for local residents & visitors alike.
  3. Legislation – Yes, whilst I haven’t seen the finer details of any proposed legislation I would agree with the wider principles outlined and would be a keen advocate of the need to seriously explore ways in which community planning can actively assist the development of greenway provision.
John McCallister Independent YES YES YES
Comments:“Investment – Yes, NI has come a long way in terms of cycling, however, my major criticism is that we have been high on rhetoric and low on significant investment. Without adequate investment, particularly in heavier engineering in our urban centres, to segregate cycle lanes and create safe cycle paths in our rural areas, we will not see the critical mass of people shift to cycling and active lifestyles. Thinking of cycling should also not be done in isolation, but should be an integral part of making our cities and towns smarter and better places to live and work. Such a focus and investment will drive further investment and economic activity by making NI a more desirable place to live and work, as well as making us healthier and more sustainable.

“Greenways – Yes, but in fact this in itself is not enough. Northern Ireland has some of the best natural and human assets in Europe and we have seen significant increases in visitor numbers. However, when people arrive here they still do not have enough to spend their money on. So not only do we need a network of greenways across the country, we also need much better local networks of tourist businesses and products – linked to cycling and not linked to cycling – to ensure that when people come to cycle they stay longer, have more things to do, more things to spend their money on and are more likely to come back. This will really help drive rural regeneration and tourism and place South Down and Northern Ireland on the world map for walking, hill walking and cycling.

“Legislation – Yes. As I have stated above, cycling should be an integral part of our strategic planning. Making our cities, towns and rural areas smarter and better places to live and work in. Parts of Europe and America are way ahead of us in this regard and it is having real benefits for the health of populations, the livability of areas and how many people want to live, work and invest there. We have this simplistic idea in NI that if we reduce Corporation Tax the World will want to come here and invest here. What we forget is that many investors assess locations on a number of variables, including how good a place  is to live in and this includes how polluted, congested it is and how easy it is to get around by bike and on foot.”

Colin McGrath SDLP YES YES YES
Comments: “Happy to support this campaign and your work! I have a bike and enjoy using it when I can… Good luck!”
Harold McKee UUP ? ? ?
Comments:
Henry Reilly TUV ? ? ?
Comments:
Seán Rogers SDLP YES YES YES
Comments: “Fully supportive of promoting cycling and walking as a means of staying healthy. I agree fully with the development of traffic free Greenways , but with a little vision and investment our Coastal Paths & the Ulster Way could also accommodate cyclists.

“Our rural roads with pot holes and dangerous bends are a nightmare for cyclists – again massive investment needed. Certainly support the introduction of legislation to ensure cycle ways and walkways are incorporated into land use planning.

“Tourism NI needs to take cycle tourism seriously – we have grant facilities in South Down in Kilbroney , Tollymore & Castlewellan Forest parks but they can be linked together.  Here we need to be more constructive about making things happen rather than finding excuses for doing nothing.”
Caitríona Ruane Sinn Féin YES YES YES
Comments: “I support getting Ireland North and South cycling. I also support investment in Greenways and legislation.”
Jim Wells DUP ? ? ?
Comments:

DUP – Democratic 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:

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