Hustings: candidate Michael Shanks, Labour Party

Michael Shanks

Michael has replaced Claudia Beamish for our Hustings at fairly short notice, but he is the Labour candidate for Glasgow Kelvin, where he will be competing against Sandra White, current constituency MSP and Patrick Harvie, currently a List MSP.  Here is the statement on active travel submitted by Claudia Beamish:

Claudia Beamish MSP, Shadow Minister for Environmental Justice,
Scottish Labour Party Candidate says –
“There are many imperatives which drive the impetus towards better cycling provision – Climate change, congestion and air pollution, health, enjoyment and practical reasons to name but a few.

As a rural dweller, I am determined to ensure that safe cycling and walking options are available within our towns and villages as well as our cities. In addition, it is important that links between centres of population are not forgotten. In this context, the National Walking and Cycling Network must be further developed in conjunction with local authority and voluntary sector partners. For example, South Lanarkshire Council is committed to joining more sections of the Network between Lesmahagow and Happendon within its present longer term budget cycle.

Planning policy has a strong role to play and should be revised to ensure that all new roads and house building schemes take cycling into account. The opportunity to take bikes on trains is still meagre in Scotland and I will continue to argue for better provision for tourism, leisure and work travel as well as more station bike spaces.

To help develop a cycling culture, a range of initiatives need to go forward in parallel. Safe and well maintained Infrastructure is essential of course. I am delighted that my idea for a funding award for local authorities has been adopted, initially by fellow convenors of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group for Cycling and now acted on by the Scottish Government. I look forward to hearing about the winners from a range of inspiring projects. Cycling and all road user education is also vital. I am clear that part of the Primary School Bikeability should be on road training.

I will continue to encourage the Scottish Labour Party to consider taking forward Presumed Liability, of which I am an advocate and to commission further research if necessary, before a decision is made to take this forward. I have taken on a Bike to Work scheme and though I feel disloyal to my 30 year old Raleigh Silhouette, I know the new model will help with my city commute to along the Union Canal. Scottish Labour will promote this scheme and the need for workplace bike spaces.

Bike maintenance can be a mystery which needs confidence to tackle so I will promote more courses such as the Belles on Bikes one I attended in the Borders.

Any policy shift is a challenge for political parties. Our Manifesto commitments will be highlighted nearer to the election. I am confident that as change happens in Scotland, we will reach a critical mass and cycling will be the preferred option of many of all ages and abilities as a transport mode.”

Find out more about the Hustings here