Living Streets is calling for candidates to commit to creating #walkingcities and towns ahead of the mayoral and local elections in May. Rachel Maycock, our Head of Public Affairs, updates us on our progress.
In the last few weeks I’ve been travelling around the UK to meet with candidates from all the major parties who are standing to become the next mayors of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, and the Leader of Cardiff Council.
The ones we haven’t been able to meet face-to-face we’ve emailed and spoken on the phone. I’ve been talking with them about the issues people face when walking in towns and cities, what can be done to make things better and the wider positive benefits upping walking rates can have.
Nearly all of the candidates realise walking can be part of the solution to the issues facing our towns and cities. Making our cities and towns fitter for walking can help reduce air pollution, ease congestion, improve road safety, integrate public transport, support local businesses and improve physical and mental health. What’s not to love?
We are asking our future leaders to ensure that the places where we live, work, study and shop are people-friendly, welcoming, clean and safe.
Since our meetings we’ve kept in contact and proposed policy ideas and pledges that candidates can make in their manifestos. We asked our supporters to get involved too, either by writing a letter to their local papers, going along to a hustings event to ask a question to the candidates or have a say on social media.
Great news. Many candidates have now launched their manifestos and we’re proud to say our efforts have paid off - walking is featured in almost every one. We are now hopeful that whoever wins the mayoral elections will promote and increase walking.