Election for Mayor of West Yorkshire – Response from Cllr Andrew Cooper, the Green Party candidate.

Yesterday we wrote to each of the candidates, so far declared, standing for election as Mayor of West Yorkshire to ask for their responses to specific questions of particular interest to readers of our website (see: here). Today we received the first of those responses from Cllr Andrew Cooper, the candidate for the Green Party, as follows:

1) What are your policies on transport infrastructure, particularly in respect of HS2 and links across the North such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and Beeching Reversals?

  • Where do you place these in order of importance to ‘levelling up the country’?

The Green Party opposes HS2 for a number of reasons though there are people in the Greens who do support it. My own principle objection is that we could have made better use of £100 Billion on improving existing rail routes such as the Huddersfield to Sheffield line and the electrification of numerous others. So Northern Powerhouse rail is higher up my agenda than HS2. I feel the Beeching reversals have been overblown and that actual projects on the ground will be much less than the hype.

2) What policies, other than the above, do you have to ‘level up the country’?

I think we should become a region of excellence for building high quality energy efficient homes that reach the Passivhaus standard or equivalent and that is why I have proposed a Green Building Fund to ensure all public sector properties are built to a quality assured energy efficient standard

3) With a South Yorkshire Mayor already existing, do you want the creation of a West Yorkshire Mayor to be a stepping stone toward Yorkshire being devolved as one?

  • If not, why?
  • If so:

What will you do toward achieving that?

Initially I would want all elected Mayors in Yorkshire to be working together on a common regional strategy with strong buy in from local authorities and involving all Councillors not just the administrations. Demonstrating we are working together regionally will give quite a strong message to government about our direction of travel

With a population and economy more like Scotland than like Manchester, should the model of devolution for an All-Yorkshire government be more like Scotland’s (Parliament) than like Manchester’s (Mayor)?

Definitely more like Scotland’s. We are a very centralised country and would benefit from greater power being devolved to the regions

And should the powers transferred to Yorkshire be more like Scotland’s than like Manchester’s?

More like Scotland.

4) Now that we have left the EU, do you believe the EU Regions imposed on England, such as ‘Yorkshire and The Humber’, with which very few people identify, should be scrapped in favour of Traditional Counties, such as Yorkshire (or clusters of Traditional Counties, e.g. Westmorland, Lancashire & Cheshire)?

  • If not, why?
  • If so, what will you do toward achieving that?

I think there may well be a rationale for North Lincs and North East Lincs leaving the region if they so wished to be part of Lincolnshire. Other than that Yorkshire has a strong identity.

I would open a debate on the future of our Region and seek to build a broad political movement in favour of devolution. The key to change is demonstrating that we can manage our own affairs better than Westminster

5) What are your policies on electoral reform and constitutional change?

We believe First Past the Post elections are unfair to voters and the Parties they support and that we should move to a form of proportional representative voting such as Single Transferable Voting

6) What are your policies in respect of energy, environment and planning?

WY Green Building Fund – establish a fund to ensure all public sector development projects achieve the Passivhaus standard or equivalent

Green New Deal Retrofit Demonstrator – a project to insulate existing homes to a highly energy efficient standard as a precursor to a wider scheme

Reform/End the Right to Buy Council housing and build more council houses

No expansion of Leeds Bradford Airport as this would completely blow our carbon reduction targets

An end to new road building and road widening schemes and reframe transport funding to support active travel.

Bring Building Control back wholly into the public sector

Restore planning powers to Local Authorities for wind development

Oppose Government proposals to further weaken local control of planning

Stop building on flood plains

3 thoughts on “Election for Mayor of West Yorkshire – Response from Cllr Andrew Cooper, the Green Party candidate.”

  1. A well considered response and certainly good news in terms of Yorkshire devolution.

    I’m not too sure about Leeds Bradford Airport though. I think we need a regional airport that is fit for purpose and the current facilities at Leeds Bradford are poor. In addition, the first zero emissions aircraft are now flying and plans are in place for the zero emissions commuter airliners to be in service by 2023 with larger airliners to follow so this comment might be a bit shortsighted.

  2. Richard Honnoraty fails to recognize ‘the writing is on the wall’ for mass air transport and indeed the unnecessary transport of goods in general adds to our inflated ‘carbon footprint’.

    The aim should be ‘negative’ not just ‘zero’ carbon emissions, if we are to restore the damage to our home which humans have inflicted on it so far.

    The myth of perpetual growth is the driver for the headlong rush toward extinction and thus needs to be replaced with more sustainable thinking.

  3. At 2.5% of CO2 emissions and a contribution of 3.5% to global warming, aviation is a significant contributor to the problem we have, but the industry is at least trying to make an effort. How many new houses are built with A rated energy efficiency, yet we currently have the technology to build all new houses to this standard. What efforts are being made to convert old houses to “A” ratings?

    Then there is the issue of fossil fuel power stations. Unless we all work together to reduce emissions, we are not going to make any progress.

    This is really a global problem which calls for a global solution but getting everybody to agree is almost impossible in current circumstances. It is also difficult to persuade others to give up their hard earned progress when we are not doing enough ourselves. Let us not forget that global growth has given a significant proportion of the world’s population the best standard of living it has every enjoyed. Switch all of that off at once at your peril!

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