Dr David Radcliffe

Thank you for these great questions. Active travel is a particular interest to me – as councillor I was part of the successful bid for £17m to invest in upgrading infrastructure in the city, which was prioritised on the canal towpaths in the first instance. I commute most days by bike, or by train for longer journeys as Selly Oak constituency is well served by good cycle routes, as well as the cross city line.

However, I see on a near daily basis close passes, drivers ignoring red lights, and little obeyance of posted speed limits.

I look forward to reading the replies from the other candidates.

1. New 20 mph zones in Wales, supported by the Lib Dems, have resulted in a 1/3 reduction in road casualties on previous 30mph roads. If elected, will you push for similar measures in Birmingham? What other interventions will you advocate to improve our city’s woeful record on road safety?

As a cyclist who has been knocked off my bike in Birmingham, I’m well aware of the road safety issues in Birmingham.

The biggest cause of casualties in the city relate to poor driving standards (speeding, aggressive driving, and red light jumping). By default it is the police who have responsibility for enforcing this illegal and dangerous behaviour – and I support their increased use of third party reporting. The council could also apply for permission to take over some of these responsibilities, however having done so, there is little sign of this being implemented. This therefore means it’s for councillors, and the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that these are priorities. I’m therefore concerned that the Combined Authority has lost the services of the excellent Adam Tranter as the active travel champion, with the new Labour mayor showing no urgency in finding a replacement for this vital role.

As an MP I would therefore support the council, WMCA and PCC in their efforts to make our streets safer.

2. The Lib Dem manifesto promises a new national active travel strategy – what benefits could this bring to Birmingham?

The Lib Dem active travel strategy means devolving more of the national roads budget to local councils, allowing them to create a network of safe cycle routes to connect the city.  Decisions are better taken locally by people who know their area, rather than being made in London by a national parliament.

3. What will you do, if elected, to make bus travel more viable for Brummies?

Bus travel is the responsibility of the West Midlands Combined Authority and the elected mayor. Since the 80s, buses have been deregulated.  Bus companies can largely do as they wish, and they have failed to encourage greater bus use.  Franchised bus services allow local government to plan routes and timetables that serve the public, making buses more viable.  As an MP, I will work with the WMCA to make the bus the transport of first choice in Birmingham.

4. Pavement parking is a massive problem in this city, damaging infrastructure and endangering the most vulnerable road users. What will you do to ensure it is addressed in this parliament, and what is your preferred solution?

I would support the change in the law needed to ban parking on pavements, except where there are marked parking spaces.  Cars, vans and lorries should be on the road, keeping the pavements free for pedestrians.

5. Moving away from petrol and diesel engines will reduce revenue from fuel and emissions duty, making driving cheaper. It is estimated this will cost the treasury £35 billion per year and lead to a significant increase in congestion on our roads. What measures will you push for in the next parliament to stop this from happening?

Fuel duty was applied to fossil fuels to raise money to combat climate change.  I support maintaining a price differential to encourage people to switch from fossil fuels to EVs.  Road tax raises far more money from drivers than is spent on the roads.  The current price structure taxes polluting vehicles more heavily and EVs at a zero rate.  Another way to tax vehicle use would be by weight.  Road wear increases exponentially with axle weight, so cars could be taxed by weight, so those who wear the road more pay more.