Blog

Election ’24: Asking our candidates to support cycling in Newham

There will be a General Election in the UK on Thursday 4th July 2024. We have written to many of Newham’s candidates in the election, to ask them to support active travel if they’re elected.

Our Asks

We asked our MP candidates to:

  • recognise the importance of cycling, in addition to walking and wheeling, and support it to reach London’s 2030 Net Zero target; also to support London in bringing forward the Vision Zero target to 2030
  • help the Mayor and the London boroughs complete the Strategic Cycling Network by 2028, ahead of the 2041 target—for which there must be more transport funding, and more of it ring-fenced for cycling
  • advocate in Parliament to move national policy away from new roads to active travel—because it’s not prudent to throw £billions after schemes like the PFI-funded Silvertown Tunnel, and other cities and towns across the UK can learn from London’s cycling success story.
Read the entire text of our email to the candidates here.

We’re Newham Cyclists, part of the London Cycling Campaign. We are volunteers who campaign for safer cycling in Newham for everyone, and to break down barriers that stop people from cycling.

Thanks for standing to represent [your constituency] in the general election. We’re asking you to support our mission if you are elected, by:

  • Recognising the importance of cycling, along with walking and wheeling (“active travel”) and supporting it. Active travel projects will help London meet its target of Net Zero by 2030. Of course, not all car journeys in London can be cycled—but TfL analysis suggests lots of them can, if the conditions are made right.

    We also want to see the Vision Zero target brought forward to 2030—saving lives by eliminating serious crashes on our streets. We want you to support TfL and the boroughs in rolling out innovative, proven-safe junction designs; and support the police in renewing focus on reducing harm in road transport.
  • Helping the Mayor and every London borough complete the Strategic Cycling Network by 2028, ahead of the current 2041 target date, to help all kinds of Londoners everywhere to access cycling. To deliver this, London needs more transport funding, and more of it ring-fenced for active travel.
  • Advocating in Parliament to shift national transport policy away from new roads to active travel schemes. It’s not prudent to throw £billions of public money after schemes that shave minutes off car journeys (such as the PFI-funded Silvertown Tunnel.) By contrast, active travel projects are cheap, have a good return on investment, and help bring communities together. Other towns and cities across Britain can learn from London’s cycling success story. We want you to work with the Mayor and other metro regions to secure a future where walking, cycling, and high-quality public transport are viable everywhere.

Finally, we remind you that despite noisy opposition to some of the Mayor of London’s policies on active travel and reducing unnecessary car use, he’s been re-elected with a large mandate. Cycling is very popular, and candidates that deliver for cycling get re-elected.

No-one wins, least of all drivers, when transport policy is driven by culture wars. Active travel is cheap and convenient, and we truly believe that everyone can benefit if it’s taken seriously. From kids going to school, to retirees meeting friends, to shift workers going shopping after a long day—we ask you to fight for policies that help more people access cycling for more journeys. A cycling Britain is a stronger Britain.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on our asks.

The Candidates’ Responses

We emailed the candidates on the morning of Saturday 22 June, and will update this post as and when we receive responses.

There are also a number of candidates for whom we have not been able to find email addresses. Please contact us at newham@lcc.org.uk if you can help us with any of these.

This page was last updated on Sat 22 June 2024.

Stratford and Bow

PartyCandidateResponse
ConservativesKane Blackwell[unable to find email—can you help us?]
LabourUma Kumaran[awaiting response]
GreenJoe Hudson-Small[awaiting response]
Workers PartyHalima Khan[unable to find email—can you help us?]
Liberal DemocratsJaney Little[unable to find email—can you help us?]

East Ham

PartyCandidateResponse
Liberal DemocratsHillary Victoria Briffa[unable to find email—can you help us?]
ConservativesMaria Higson[awaiting response]
LabourSir Stephen Timms[awaiting response]
GreenRosie Pearce[awaiting response]

West Ham & Beckton

PartyCandidateResponse
GreenRob Callender[awaiting response]
TUSCLois Austin[awaiting response]
LabourJames Asser[awaiting response]
ConservativesHolly Ramsey[awaiting response]
Newham IndependentsSophia Naqvi[unable to find email—can you help us?]
Liberal DemocratsEmily Bigland[awaiting response]

Where’s my candidate?

As volunteers who juggle campaigning with our other commitments (full time jobs, families, etc.) we simply do not have the time or capacity to approach every single candidate for MP—particularly where their contact details are not publicly available.

If you are a candidate who is not listed here, and would like to respond to our asks detailed above, please email newham@lcc.org.uk.

We are within our rights not to seek a view from minor or “fringe” parties which advocate for policies not in line with Newham Cyclists’ or LCC’s terms of reference, objectives, and values. For instance, we would decline to engage with candidates or parties that espouse views that are clearly racist, or peddle conspiracy theories.

Readout of May 2024 meeting

The meeting took place at the Olympic Park, post Freecycle ride.

Upcoming events and support required

8/6 Fix your Ride – people allocated. 29/6 school fete – do we have sufficient support for this? Forest Gate Festival 6th July  – people allocated – need to check if there is room for outreach (KF)

Planning meeting in November – items to complete

SOP for  our group – to provide visibility of roles and to allow others to take on roles.

Ride calendar (in parallel with FYR and AAA dates if possible, to avoid calendar clashes). Ideally a range of people will lead a range of rides. We can ask people if they have a ride they would like to lead, or offer them rides which require leading. We will ask LCC for ride leader and Marshall training/youth opps /safeguarding training at the local groups meeting. Possible new rides – Cambridge – with Dunwich dynamo to Morton then back from Epping.

What is the best way to share documents? Find out if everyone can edit a google spreadsheet (JR)

Marketing

Bike flags we ordered – where are they? NC tabards – numbers and prices?Stickers?

Bicycle agony aunt – via the newsletter?

Cyclists breakfast – Greenway? Timing for this?

Infrastructure

The new Infrastructure group requires a separate mailing list – Chris Kershaw to organise.

Romford Road scheme – are the old bustops being taken away?

Salway Place – is this restricted now?

Temple Mill Lane – 97 bus bridge incident – approach:

  • letter to bus garage – who?
  • Approach TfL buses – Simon has a regular meeting with TFL buses, can we use this?

Readout from Annual Meeting of 30 April 2024

A pleasing and convivial turnout at Canning Town Library, a new venue for us.

We were entertained by  Shameem and Nasim from Cycle Sisters, an award-winning charity which inspires and enables Muslim women to cycle, who gave an inspirational talk on their cycling journey.

We elected the following officers:

·      Co-ordinator: Jonathan Rothwell


·       Treasurer: Bill Bremner


·       Secretary: vacant (role to be fulfilled by Co-ordinator
and others on the committee)


·       Deputy co-ordinator (with outreach portfolio): Karen Flanagan


·       Rides co-ordinator: Steve Smith


·       Infrastructure lead: Chris Kershaw


·       Olympic Park rep: vacant, potentially to merge into new
infrastructure working group


·       Community Infrastructure (Fund) rep: vacant,
potentially to merge into new infrastructure working group


·      Deputy Treasurer: vacant.

We approved the annual accounts for 2023 – 24 and the budget for 2024 -25 presented by the Treasurer.

We noted the Annual report for 2023 -24.

Our business included lively conversation local cycling issues, including the need to leverage benefits for active travel from the plethora of major developments in the pipeline, progress on the Romford Road Active Travel Scheme, improving our outreach across the whole of Newham, extending our partnerships, and a variety of forthcoming events – the Newham Green Fair, rides based on Lea Valley Nature Reserves and Essex Country Lanes, our participation in the London Freecycle and support for the children’s cycling club at Ambition, Aspire, Achieve.

Take Action: East Village Cycle Connections

A map of East Village in London. Anthems Way, Celebration Avenue, Liberty Bridge Road, Temple Mills Lane, and Penny Brookes Street all have blue lines indicating cycle tracks; junction improvements at Temple Mills/Celebration Ave, Celebration Ave/Liberty Bridge, Celebration Ave/Penny Brookes, and Penny Brookes/Montfichet Road.

Newham Council are consulting on a long-term plan for cycling in East Village (the ex Olympic athlete’s village on the “new” side of Stratford). The designs are a step-change for the Olympic Park, an area whose cycling infra has been outdated from the moment it was built. The proposals include safer cycle tracks, continuous pavements for most of the streets in the area, and fixes for dangerous junctions.

We support the scheme, but would like Newham to do a little more to make sure everyone can benefit from it—particularly children cycling to school at Chobham Academy.

The consultation is open until Sunday 17th March: we recommend you support the scheme, but ask Newham to:

  1. Deliver the scheme quickly, obtaining funding from the many housing and commercial developments in the area to do so.
  2. Find a way for kids to cycle safely to school on Liberty Bridge Road over the railway line, where the designs currently dump people cycling out into the carriageway due to a width restriction. We’d like to see a bus gate, or an extension of the school street on Cheering Lane. Doing nothing is not an option.
  3. Fix the Mirabelle Gardens-Elis Way-Cheering Lane rat run. Drivers leaving Westfield often use this as a shortcut to avoid the traffic lights on Celebration Avenue.

Remember: your own views and experiences will carry the most weight in consultations.

Newham-Cyclists-March-2024-East-Village-Connections-response

Take Action: Say YES! to the Romford Road cycleway

Newham Council are consulting on their full plan for cycleways on Romford Road. This is a long-awaited extension of Cycleway 2 to the edge of Ilford.

Artsy visualisation of Romford Road with with-flow cycle tracks on either side of the road. A mother with a pram and a lady on her phone cross the street on a zebra crossing, while pedestrians and a kid with a kick scooter use the footway.

We are delighted to see the designs are super high-quality! Continuous cycle tracks. Fully protected Dutch-style junctions. More planting and trees. New sections of 24-hour bus lane. It looks similar to the Lea Bridge Road cycleway in Waltham Forest, but in some ways (e.g. at bus stops) it’s even better!

Romford Road is one of our most important main roads, and also one of the worst places in Newham to cycle at the moment. TfL’s Strategic Cycling Analysis shows there is huge demand for people to cycle here. Now’s your chance to tell Newham Council “yes please!” to high quality cycleways.

The consultation is open until Sunday 24th March. We recommend you support the scheme, and ask Newham to:

  1. Deliver cycle tracks on Romford Road in full and as quickly as possible, without compromising on protection, width, or junction design
  2. Co-ordinate with the Redbridge to allow the cycleway to continue to Ilford town centre
  3. Future-proof the scheme for low traffic neighbourhoods on the nearby side streets, and for cycle tracks on the main roads that cross it—everyone deserves to live on a street that’s safe for cycling

We’ve posted our own response below for your reference, but remember: your own views and experiences will carry the most weight in consultations.

Newham-Cyclists-Romford-Road-consultation-response

Readout from 29 January Meeting

Our Ride Programme is now listed on this website and on LCC website.

In accordance with LCC changes to rides limited to 15, which is plenty for our local rides, there is a new  risk assessment template which requires both a leader and a backmarker to be named. We will indicate in advance that there is a maximum of 15 and first 15 who have signed in will be guaranteed a place.  Larger rides over 15 require the risk as assessment to be signed off by LCC Office.

Our next ride is the Women’s Freedom Ride feeder on 3 March for which marshals needed.

We are running a ride for the children of the Ambition, Aspire, Achieve children’s cycle clubs on 24 February.  At the moment there are not enough volunteers to run bike maintenance sessions for these clubs.  If you would be interested (weekends or weekdays) please contact Arnold

We anticipate running a Bike from Boleyn Ride in April/May

Fix your Ride will start again on March 9.

We agreed to participate in Green Fair run by Sustainable Newham in West Ham Park on 6 May and will look to provide some bike maintenance and outreach/information.

In respect of the Newham Cyclists bank accounts we are in the process of changing the signatories to reflect the current Committee.

In respect of Community/Public Engagement, there are 358  people connected to Newham Cyclists, either as LCC members in Newham, or via the mailing list or both, but 223 people on the mailing list. Karen will ask LCC to email the 125 members who do not receive our newsletter, and ask if they want to sign up.

She will also laminate a newsletter QR code so that people at Fix Your Ride and other events can scan if they wish to sign up.

There will be a separate meeting (1 hour, virtual) to discuss strategy for increasing and diversifying membership.  Anyone  I would like to participate should contact Karen who would also welcome contributions for a forthcoming planned newsletter

Infrastructure

  • Olawale met Newham Council’s Romford Road Active Travel Scheme team in January. The only new development was on the stretching of the phases of development, with separate sections within each phase.  The next section in planning will be the south side of Romford Rd between Dershingham Ave and Fifth Ave.  This will be considered by the Council Cabinet on 5 Feb. 

    Implementation of the scheme and opening sections, including public engagement events,  has been slow and there are issues such as puddling on some of the sections built.  However the Council has a good project engineer and an experienced project manager has recently been appointed.  There remains issues TFL and the omission of major junctions.  Olawale invited comments and suggestions for consideration be the Committee.
      
  • Newham council are promoting a cycle route via Osborne and Hampton Rds – running parallel to the Romford Rd –  by stencils on road and minimal signage.  At the moment it is considered unsuitable s and it was agreed that we should ensure that this was not an alternative to improving the Romford Rd.  Both routes need to be safe.
      
  • Council proposing making existing bus lanes 24/7 on New Plaistow Rd-Plaistow Rd-West Ham Lane. It is encouraging that there is acceptance that the bus lanes should be 24 7 given the reluctance of TfL to follow their own policy at the awful Greengate St/Barking Rd junction and Prince Regent bus priority schemes.  However there should be continuous bus lanes on both sides of these roads as they are part of  Cycle Future Route 7.  This is especially important especially between Plaistow Station and Barking Rd. 
  • The proposals contained in Traffic Orders for the Beckton Walking and Cycling Scheme – essentially Tollgate Rd and south part of Woolwich Manor Rd look good but don’t cover the whole of Tollgate Rd and do not address the linking A13 and Tollgate Rd. Newham Cyclists responded to these proposals in 2022 and there will be a supportive response to the Traffic orders. 
  • Councillor Tripp looking for comments on transport side of the proposal for use of the Capel Rd Changing Rooms especially in light of reopening car park, which could impact on Cycleway 16.  Comments can be offered direct to her via Kerena.
  • East Village Connections proposals are going to consultation next month. The main features are 2 way cycle tracks on Celebration Ave and Penny Brookes St and improvement of Liberty Bridge Rd.  These proposals link to the northern section of Cycle Future Route 7.  Issues include: International Way being descoped for present due to development and no space for segregated tracks on Liberty Bridge itself.  A bus gate or bringing this within the existing school street  are potential alleviating measures –  the former by preference.
  • Work on the excellent   Westfield Ave scheme has started.
  • Work on Honourlea Ave mostly complete and funding is now available for the long awaited drop kerb and parallel crossing suitable to facilitate cycling into the park area. to facilitate crossing into park at west end for parallel crossing.
  • TfL are to consult on changes to the Lower Lea Crossing.  The proposals look very cumbersome and scanty given the pressure to come (and the finance available from) the Silvertown Tunnel.   Any suggestions on what is needed in this area can be made to Jonathan.
  • Planning permission has been granted for the Crown Wharf development without taking on board Newham Cyclists suggestions for a pontoon path under A13 to link to CS3.

Any Other Business

  • It is proposed to hold the AGM on 22 or 29 April.  All posts are up for re-election. 
  • The LCC Local Group Forum link includes notes on the LCC strategy plan for the forthcoming mayoral election.
  • A Cargo Bike celebration event on 28 January 2024 was a timely  demonstration of parking for cargo bikes and adapted bikes.  It would be good for Newham Council to promote this type of facility  forward, consistent with its active travel, health and climate change policies.

Next meeting 26 February.