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