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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Natalie Bennett: Let's be bold on transport policies

The Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, was in Liverpool this afternoon supporting the candidate for Liverpool Riverside, Martin Dobson. On arrival at Liverpool Lime Street station Bennett gave a speech to around 100 members of the public.

In her speech Ms Bennett called for 'bold action' to make public transport cheaper. She also pledged her party's support for electric cars. Ms Bennett is spending the final days of the campaign touring key seats for the Green Party. She's recently been to Sheffield and Norwich and is set to visit Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford this week.

Ms Bennett's full speech from Liverpool Lime Street Station:

"It’s fantastic to be back in Liverpool today.

And it’s an honour to be here with our fantastic candidate Martin Dobson. At last year’s local elections the Green Party gained two new councillors in Liverpool, making us the second-largest party on the council. The people of Liverpool have an exciting opportunity on May 7th to elect Green MPs who would fight for an end to austerity, a truly public NHS and strong action on climate change.

Today I’m really pleased to be focussing on the Green Party’s transport policies. We’ve never shied away from bold policies. That’s why we announced earlier this year that we’d cut train fares by 10% - paid for by reducing the amount of money we’re spending on major road building programmes.

Ultimately we want to make public transport more appealing. It needs to be cheaper, and more reliable. Buses outside of London need to be as reliable as they are in the capital.

We want to invest more than any other party into cycling and walking. We’d spend £30 per person on cycling and walking provision – ensuring that everyone has access to safe routes to local amenities and, wherever possible, there places of work.

And today I’m very pleased to announce a final piece of the jigsaw of our sustainable transport vision. We want to make non-car options more appealing, but we recognise that sometimes cars are essential for getting around. That’s why we’d ensure we invest in electric vehicle charging points for buses and taxis, and for cars where there are gaps in the network of public and community transport.

Electric cars, used sparingly and as part of an integrated transport system, would help us cut carbon as we so desperately too. Friends of the Earth estimate that cars like the one I’m going to be riding in today emit, on average, half the carbon of conventional vehicles.

Crucially electric vehicles would help us make the drastic cuts in emissions that we need to protect ourselves from the effects of air pollution. An estimated 29,000 people die every year because of harmful air pollutants – and it’s abundantly clear that urgent action is needed to address this problem.

Greens have always tried to address the root causes of the problems we’re facing as a society. We know that we can’t protect our health through the NHS alone – we need to clean up our environment too. We know that we can’t just promise cheaper train fares – we need to bring the railways back into public ownership to make that a reality.

And it’s our bold policies. On Transport, and on the economy. On protecting our NHS, and on climate change. It’s those policies that are resonating with so many people up and down the country."