12 March 2019
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Jonathan Bartley was in Macclesfield last Saturday (9th March), helping to launch the Green Party’s local election campaign in Cheshire East.
Jonathan addressed the issues of cycling and road safety, asking “How can we make our streets safe for cycling?” and outlined the difference that Green councillors make on their councils to improve walking and cycling infrastructure, cut down on air pollution and build cleaner, safer spaces for local communities.
In January, Macclesfield witnessed the tragic death of a thirteen-year-old cyclist, killed in a collision with a car on his way to school. A few weeks later, Olympic cycling gold-medallist Jason Kenny was nearly knocked off his bicycle while out for a ride in the country lanes near his Chelford home with his infant son.
Speaking to Green Party members and campaigners - including Green councillors visiting from Altrincham and Prescot - meeting at the United Reformed Church Hall in Macclesfield, Jonathan Bartley said:
“Greens in Cheshire East are on the up and it’s no surprise that all eyes are on them in the upcoming council election. A strong Green voice is desperately needed here. Cheshire East council have failed to deliver a cycling strategy. They have failed to implement 20 mph speed limits to make roads safer in this community. And their response to traffic congestion has been simply to build more and more roads, while walking and cycling are sorely neglected. Greens here are right to want to drag the council kicking and screaming into the 21st century.”
John Knight, Green Party lead candidate for Macclesfield Central, added: “We need a serious strategy for cycling in Macclesfield; cycle lanes that actually go somewhere, traffic-free cycleways through town and safe routes out to surrounding towns and villages. A strategy that doesn’t leave cyclists feeling like second-class citizens, but encourages people to leave the car at home, to keep themselves fit and healthy while not having to dodge cars and potholes.”
Charlie Keller, the Green Party’s second Macclesfield Central candidate, commented: “We can’t allow the current council to continue to ignore local demands, we need safer streets. As a student in a local college, I decided to begin cycling as a faster method to get there. Unfortunately, I was too frequently shaken by cars driving too close and too fast past me, so I chose to stop. This needs to change. If we had more cycle lanes, I and other students would feel safer on the roads. Furthermore, the state of Cheshire’s roads needs to be improved, as swerving into busy traffic to avoid potholes is terrifying and very very risky. John and I recently took to the streets with some environmentally-friendly chalk sprays to highlight the extent of the issue in Macclesfield”
Nigel Hennerley, the Greens’ candidate in High Legh, added: “Cheshire East Council has allowed bus services to be cut to the bone and beyond, while train services are infrequent, unreliable and expensive; rural residents are left with little choice but the car. Yet the Conservative government, with the full support of Cheshire East Council, is pushing ahead with the ruinously-expensive and pointless HS2 vanity rail scheme, which will not only cause untold destruction to wildlife habitats through huge swathes of the countryside, but will devastate communities like High Legh, Hoo Green and Pickmere”.
Afterwards, the candidates took Jonathan around town to meet the public, including members of the European Movement campaigning in the Market Place.
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