We asked all the candidates to provide a candidate statement of up to 750 words, which should include some background about them and why they’re standing.
The Green Party
I’ve lived in Whitchurch for 12 years and have 3 children who are at or have recently graduated from the local school. By day, I’m an engineer with a broad focus including energy related technologies, food production, and waste reduction.
I was a school governor at Eglwys Wen (later Whitchurch Primary) school through the period of the schools reorganisation programme, and I now sit on the committee of the City of Cardiff (Melin Griffith) Brass Band (who rehearse in Tongwynlais).
I’m a keen cyclist (and member of Sustrans) and a dog walker, so naturally I feel very lucky to live in a beautiful green city like Cardiff.
I was first attracted to the Green Party by their environmental platform but soon found that their policies match my views across the board, including issues of equality, social justice, education, and economic development. On every major issue, from the Iraq War through austerity to Brexit, the Green Party has made the right call from the start.
In 30 years of engineering I’ve learnt that the most important step in dealing with any issue is to have a clear and honest understanding of the problem first. It’s more important now than ever that our elected representatives tell us the truth, whether it’s about the severity of the climate crisis, who stands to lose or gain from a no-deal brexit, or where the money goes when we privatise essential public services. If we’re not told the whole truth, then we’re not fully informed, and we’re no longer living in a democracy. Soundbites are no substitute for the whole truth.
I’m standing in this by election because the most important issue by far facing us (and threatening our children’s future) is the climate crisis, and it is not being taken seriously enough by our government (or our media). The Welsh Assembly declared a climate emergency but we have yet to see tangible changes to our day to day world as a result of it.
The health of our planet should be considered in every decision, whether it be global, national or at local government level. And that will rely on awareness being raised whenever policy is being made.
Students from Whitchurch and the rest of Cardiff have repeatedly marched on the Senedd, demanding that the national curriculum is reformed to address the ecological crisis as an educational priority. They shouldn’t have to do that.
The UK Committee on Climate Change report released in May recommended a 20% decrease in meat consumption and an increase in the consumption of plant-based proteins. Based on this, the Soil Association sensibly recommended that all state schools in England should offer pupils a compulsory plant-based menu one day a week. I would like to see the Welsh Government adopt a similar approach, not just for schools but in catering provision in all public buildings.
Transport plays a huge role in our environmental impact. We and our kids should be able to get around safely without needing to be driven in cars all the time. Less cars on the school run can reduce congestion across the board.
But as well as adequate buses, we require safe routes for cycling that don’t force the cyclist to run the gauntlet of deep potholes, broken glass or puddles reaching halfway across the road. Road resurfacing priorities shouldn’t only revolve around the main routes that cars use.
Another proven way to keep children safer while cycling and walking to school is to reduce speed limits to 20mph along their daily route. 69% of respondents to the British Social Attitude Survey (2016) were favour of 20mph in residential areas.
The negative effects on motorists’ journey times (generally dominated by junction delays) are small.
On the other hand, needless congestion really does slow people down. I’d push for double yellow lines on the park side of Velindre Road to put a stop to the unnecessary daily gridlock and queuing onto the Library roundabout that holds up cars and buses alike.
More active travel improves public health and wellbeing. I’ll be supporting the #cycleonthesenedd event on 2nd October.
I believe the main parties are well represented on the council already and it’s time for some different local voices to be heard.