A SURVEY of all the candidates standing in this week's elections has found the majority back more measures to get people out of their cars and onto bikes.

The questionnaire by the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT), found the vast majority of the 300 would-be politicians who responded were in favour of doing more to prevent climate change through transport.

Simon Pratt, co-chair of CoHSAT, said: “We have asked the candidates in the forthcoming elections to support our manifesto and address the pressing issues of the climate emergency, air pollution and traffic noise. We want everyone to be able walk and cycle for everyday trips on quiet streets and in liveable neighbourhoods.”

There are a total of 571 people standing for election in four different polls this Thursday: Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Cherwell District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council all have seats up for grabs.

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The highest percentage of responses to the sustainable transport survey came from the Green Party, while the lowest came from the Conservatives.

But all of the four main parties in the elections - Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and Greens - have pledged to tackle the climate crisis in their pledges to voters.

Out of those who took part, in the survey 97 per cent agreed or strongly agreed on the need for immediate action both to reduce air pollution (to World Health Organisation standards) from local transport and to make it zero carbon.

And 98 per cent agreed or strongly agreed on the need to prioritise investment in active travel on disadvantaged communities.

The greatest range of opinions was found in relation to reducing then number of car parking spaces in towns and city centres and whether there should be no major road expansion in the county.

CoHSAT found that 74 per cent agreed or strongly agreed about the need for less public and private parking, with 12 per cent disagreeing, and the remaining 14 per cent were neutral.

On the issue of whether there should be no major road expansion in the county, 80 per cent agreed or strongly agreed, whereas only eight per cent disagreed, and said there should be.

The remaining 12 per cent were neutral.

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CoHSAT is calling for the different political parties canvassing for the public's vote to sign up to their 12-point manifesto in the upcoming election.

This includes promises to ring-fence at least 10 per cent of the total transport budget for active travel, to take immediate action to make local transport zero-carbon, and to 'progressively reduce' public and private car parking spaces in town and city centres.

The Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel describes itself as 'a group of voluntary and campaigning organisations working across Oxfordshire to create attractive, accessible and people-friendly streets'.

The local elections will take place this Thursday, May 6, but due to the pandemic, votes will not be counted until the weekend.

Oxford City Council ballot papers will be tallied on Saturday, and the remaining votes on Sunday.

Election pledges

Oxfordshire County Council, the transport authority , has the most influence over these issues.

In the election for the county council, all four major parties have pledged to put the climate crisis at the heart of their agenda.

The Conservatives have plans to make the council carbon neutral by 2030 through making all its vehicles electric if returned to power, and to refit council buildings with low energy LED lighting.

The Lib Dems have pledged that climate change will 'underpin' all plans if they win, promising support for more Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and electric buses.

Labour has made a similar pledge to support the rollout of more LTNs, and wants to see dial-a-ride bus services which were lost in Oxfordshire during the pandemic to be restored.

The Green Party, which has an informal electoral pact with the Lib Dems in some seats, has promised to campaign on bringing more bike routes to towns and villages across the county, as well as restoring public transport.