Shazna Muzammil, Conservative candidate for Ladywood

1. The Conservative manifesto contains vague commitments to making it safer for people to walk or cycle, yet also specifically seeks to enable the roll back of proven safety interventions such as 20 mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. What measures will you push for locally to protect vulnerable road users?

The Conservative manifesto aims to balance the need for efficient transportation with safety concerns. However, I look forward to working with community organisations like yourselves to understand what is best for us locally.  I will advocate for maintaining and improving proven safety interventions like 20 mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods where they have demonstrated effectiveness in protecting pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, I will push for increased investment in dedicated cycling lanes and pedestrian pathways to ensure safer routes for vulnerable road users and will work with the council to make sure the funds are used for this purpose. 

2. Pavement parking is a massive problem in this city, disproportionately endangering the most vulnerable such as children around schools and those with disabilities. In 2020 there was a government consultation on the problem and yet no legislation has been put forward to tackle it. If elected, what will you do to expedite this process, and what is your preferred solution?

Pavement parking is a significant issue, particularly around schools and for those with disabilities, and it is something residents have consistently raised with me. If elected, I will prioritize this problem by working closely with local authorities and the police to address pavement parking effectively.

Given the police in the West Midlands have considerable demands on their resources, it may be time to consider empowering neighbourhood policing teams to issue parking tickets. My preferred solution involves introducing clear, enforceable restrictions on pavement parking and ensuring consistent enforcement. This could include collaboration with the council to deploy enforcement officers when police are unavailable or, if necessary, engaging private teams to manage ticket issuance. (but ofcourse important to understand where the devolved powers are with regards to this), if not consider getting a private team to come out and issue these parking tickets. It’s also important to provide adequate alternatives for vehicle owners, such as improved off-street parking facilities.

3. Around 900 Brummies die every year from air pollution, and private vehicle use is one of the biggest single contributors to this problem. The Conservative manifesto promises to roll back ULEZ expansion in London – would you defend our own Clean Air Zone from any similar move?

It’s working here so why remove it. While the national Conservative manifesto discusses rolling back ULEZ expansions in London, I believe that each city should have tailored solutions based on local needs. I will defend Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone and work to ensure it remains effective in reducing pollution, while also exploring additional measures to promote the use of cleaner vehicles and public transportation.

To control air pollution, I think we also need to look at the level of construction going on around us. 

4. Residents have raised concerns that Icknield Port Road (site of a hit-and-run in March of this year) is unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists. Kier Transportation (reference: NS//17016557) says it’s fine. Who do you agree with?

The safety concerns raised by residents about Icknield Port Road are valid and need to be addressed. While Kier Transportation may have deemed it safe, community feedback is crucial. I will work with traffic safety experts and the local community to conduct a thorough review of the area and implement necessary improvements to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

5. The national manifesto commits to a £2 bus fare cap in the next parliament, but also promises “reform to make better use of bus lanes”. What measures will you take to protect and enhance bus priority on your constituency’s roads if elected?

The £2 bus fare cap is a positive step, but it must be complemented by measures that ensure buses can operate efficiently. I will support the protection and enhancement of bus priority lanes to improve public transportation reliability and efficiency.

What is worrying is that the new Mayor wants to increase bus fares. Residents must use their vote to voice their concerns about all of this. 

6. There is a small number of drivers on our roads who terrorise communities by driving dangerously, and yet the mandated ban for killing someone as a result is only 5 years. Will you support our call for lengthier bans for this sort of driving, including lifetime bans for those who kill someone?

Dangerous driving poses a severe threat to community safety. I have seen it nearly knock down a pedestrian and of course those that think driving on the wrong side is ok.  I support the call for stricter penalties, including lengthier bans and potentially lifetime bans for those convicted of killing someone through dangerous driving. Ensuring that these drivers are held accountable is essential for deterring reckless behaviour and protecting our communities and I will do everything possible to push for longer sentences for sure. Putting other peoples lives at risk is not a choice for bad drivers on our roads. If elected these will be addressed straightaway.