Home | News | Officers | Issues | Election results | Meetings and Events | Photo Gallery
Media centre | What have Greens done? | Comment | Video/Audio | Newsletters | Join | Links
.

Sîan Berry's answers to the Advertiser's questionnaire

As Advertiser reporter Ruth McKee was unable to interview Sîan live due to a lost voice, she submitted a written list of questions instead. Here are Sîan's answers:

1. Would a Green mayor take action on behalf of tenants regarding the rent rises in London - what are her views on long-term tenancies for families and rent caps?

Very much so. I'm a renter myself and I've pledged to set up a London Renters Union that would automatically represent all 2.3 million private tenants in London. Working with existing groups and campaigners, it will be able to help renters organise to rein in private rents and expose lettings agents. In the long term we also desperately need the government to bring in root-and-branch reforms, including giving elected mayors the power to control rents. As Mayor I would lobby hard for that, and I hope the renters union would be an important part of that campaign.

2. The only way to reduce the staggering air pollution levels in London is to try to halt the rise of the motor vehicle. What do the greens propose regarding this? Under a green mayor would there be days where only certain registrations can drive through the city? Would there be more action taken to discourage taking short journeys by car?

We have a crisis of filthy air in London which urgently needs addressing with every tool at our disposal. The group Clean Air in London scored my policies 10 out of 10, which is independent confirmation that I've got the best ideas. One reason they did so is that I start from the understanding that we won't reduce pollution without reducing traffic. I'll take immediate action to exclude the most polluting vehicles from central London, but we also need to boost public transport investment in outer London to give people more choice and make them less reliant on cars for short journeys. I'll introduce a workplace parking levy, to be paid by employers not staff, which will help raise ring-fenced funds for that investment. I'll also do what no other candidate has promised: I'll develop a smarter, more effective system of congestion charging across a much wider area, which will reduce traffic by incentivising drivers to avoid rush hour while levying fair charges for distance travelled not just a flat charge for entering the zone. I will also bring in car-free Sundays, starting with an expanding area of the West End, and encouraging all boroughs to follow suit in their town centres.

3. Retro-fitting cabs and buses to make them cleaner is one thing - but at the minute - even if the air quality was better - London is not a city that is friendly to cyclists and pedestrians. Cyclists have to cycle aggressively so they are not left-hooked or knocked down by a car and pedestrians are often stranded on traffic islands or pedestrian crossings that are clearly an afterthought to the free flow of traffic which is prioritised above all else - what would you, as Mayor, do about this?

With a rising population, Londoners are experiencing congestion on our roads, on public transport and yes, as you say, on our pavements. We need a radical shift in the way we get around. That means more trips made on foot and by bike to free up capacity on public transport. We must realise the potential of our streets across London by reallocating space, adding crossings in places where people actually want to cross and creating safe, green corridors connecting with parks, squares and open spaces. I'll ensure we have people-friendly street projects in every London borough to support better local town and village centres. These will be led by local communities who want to see the benefits of reduced traffic levels. Each borough would receive a similar level of funding to the current mini-Hollands.

4. What schemes would you bring in to encourage people to install sustainable energy sources such as solar panels on their homes?

Despite getting more sun than most other parts of the UK, London has the worst record on solar power of any mainland region. I have pledged to set up a new London Energy Company as the first step towards a renewable energy revolution in a city that could supply 20 percent of its electricity from solar power alone - compared with the present 1 per cent. The company will initially focus on TfL land and large commercial roof spaces, because that will make a bigger difference more quickly than domestic installation. But it will also work with community groups, the public sector and businesses to generate low-cost renewable energy from a variety of sources across the capital, which could certainly include people's homes.


Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ