Siân Berry, Green Party candidate for London Mayor: You Ask The Questions

Will you scrap the congestion charge? And aren't the Olympics a disaster?


How would you make London greener?

Nigel Foster

London, N1

In every way, of course, but greener homes and greener travel are the most urgent as the majority of London's emissions come from those two sources. My plans all aim to make London more affordable as well as greener, so I'd reduce people's bills at home by making free insulation available to everyone, not just pensioners and people on benefits. On transport, I'd invest much more in helping Londoners walk and cycle around the city, and reduce the cost of public transport with a 20p fare cut as well. I have lots of other ideas, but I think these will make the biggest difference.



How do you propose to match Ken Livingstone's £500m scheme to turn London into a true cycling city?

Steve Gordon

London, NW10

£500m sounds like a lot, but that's spread out over 10 years so it's only £50m each year. The Greens on the London Assembly have a casting vote over the Mayor's budget at the moment, so the fact cycling funding is up from less than £20m in 2004 is a great achievement for us. But as Green Mayor I'd triple this again. Our current targets for cycling are still low compared with other European cities. If we can't get more people cycling than using the Tube and bus by 2025, that will be a real waste of our city's potential.



You campaign against 4x4s. Do you have any friends who drive them? Would you refuse to go in one?

Mark Anderson

London, W6

Friends of my friends have them, and I know they get a lot of stick at dinner parties. It's not so much the type of car you have as where you use it that matters, so if someone is a farmer that's fine, but 4x4s have no place in the city. I hardly ever need to get a lift, but I did spend a day driving round Gloucestershire in Dom Joly's 4x4 for a TV programme recently. Needless to say, he didn't convince me it was strictly necessary.



How do you travel around London?

Liz Thomas

London, W14

By bus, Tube, bike and – very occasionally – a taxi. I like to walk as well, and will cover two or three miles happily on foot, as long as I'm in my comfortable boots. London needs better signs for pedestrians to make walking more of an option for people – especially the tourists who take the Tube for a couple of stops when they don't need to. That's another thing the Greens have got past the Mayor. Bond Street now has some excellent signs for people who want to walk, and I'd expand this to the whole city if I was Mayor.



Do you think Lee Jasper is the victim of racism?

Carl Graham

Guildford

The campaign against him has certainly been interpreted by some people as racially motivated. I don't think that was the intention of those involved but I read Andrew Gilligan's interview in The Independent recently, and I didn't like the way he described setting out to trap Ken Livingstone and Lee Jasper, rather than reveal his information to the public all at once.



How would you sum up Ken Livingstone's contribution to London in his time as Mayor?

Ian West

London, N17

He has done quite a good job of representing Londoners, but recently he has become too close to big businesses and people wanting to build towers and office developments and hasn't focused enough on what people need, which is more affordable housing. In contrast, he has done much more on climate change in his second term, which I put down to the influence of Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones, the Greens on the Assembly. He does respect us now, and is willing to work with us on making London greener, which in his first term was a bit of a forgotten issue.



What are your five favourite London landmarks?

Olly Freeman

Maidstone

Towers and edifices don't impress me much, so I'll have to say Parliament Hill, the Natural History Museum, Kew Gardens, the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens (complete with mad, swooping swifts) and the river Thames.



What are the best things about living in London? And the worst?

Tony Suzzoni

London, SW6

The best thing is that people from everywhere in the world live here and are willing to cook for me. We have the best range of food anywhere. The worst thing is the dirty, polluted air we have to breathe, which kills more than a thousand of us every year and needs urgent action to clean it up.



How do you propose to tackle the problem of teenage gun and knife crime in London?

Dorothy Phillips

London, W10

With real community policing, not macho, high-tech gimmicks. I'd give Safer Neighbourhood Teams more officers and shifts rather than spend money on metal detectors and ultrasonic "youth deterrents". The main factor making these problems worse is the chronic lack of things for young people to do, so I'd increase funding for youth services to make up for some of the cuts local councils have put in. I'd also fund projects with more long-term grants so staff can get on with their work, rather than spending half their time applying for the next round of funding.



Ken Livingstone has been notably supportive of Met police chief Sir Iain Blair. Do you feel equally supportive?

David Leigh

London, W12

I believe that the tragic shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes showed catastrophic failures in the way armed police in London were organised and deployed, for which Sir Ian Blair, as the commissioner, was responsible. So, although he has done many good things too, I called for his resignation and don't think he should have stayed on.



Should we have airport-style security checks at London Underground and overground stations?

Kevin Malcolm

London, N19

No. Not only would that be completely impractical, but it would also mean that London, as a city, had completely lost all faith and trust in its citizens.



Aren't the Olympics a disaster for London and the environment?

Craig Barker

London, E8

We do need investment and regeneration in the areas where the Olympics will be held, but I do sometimes wish we could just take the "legacy' part of the 2012 Games for London and not all the rest. Recent developments, such as the forced adoption of Coke and McDonald's as food sponsors and the request for IOC officials to have a fleet of chauffeur-driven limousines, are worrying. As Mayor, I'd work hard to make sure environmental promises and commitments to bring benefits to the local area are kept, and I'd put the bigwigs on the bus as well.



The congestion charge has reduced traffic, but not congestion. Will you scrap it?

Henry Donaldson

London, W4

The congestion charge has worked. We're the only major city which is increasing the share of people using public transport, and we've seen a huge increase in cycling too. And motor traffic, while the gains are small, isn't getting worse in contrast to every other region of the UK.

I'd also keep the policy of having a higher charge for gas-guzzlers, which will have a huge effect on the motor industry's priorities, especially as other cities are now adopting the same kinds of schemes. This is something I've campaigned for since 2003, so I am really pleased it's coming in at last, and would plan to strengthen the emissions requirements over time.



Why has the UK never developed a strong Green Party?

Barry McDermott

Cambridge

We're getting stronger all the time – especially in London, where we had more than 13 per cent of the vote at the local council elections two years ago. We do suffer under first past the post. Even though we have about the same support as in Germany, the German Greens have had MPs and even cabinet ministers because they have a proper proportional voting system. Similarly, in the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, people have elected Greens through PR.

In May, the London-wide Assembly election is also done under PR, so we have a real chance there to increase our representation and achieve even more than we have done with two AMs.



If you had to vote for one of your opponents, who would it be?

David Burroughs

Brighton

You'll have to wait for an answer to that one. People have two votes in the mayoral election and the London Green Party is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to make a recommendation for where our second votes should go, which we didn't do at the last election in 2004. We'll be having a democratic vote to decide at a meeting on 17 March, so watch this space.



I find using public transport inconvenient and sometimes threatening. Why shouldn't I use my car?

Maddy Porter

London, SE8

My transport plans are all about demolishing the idea that you have to choose one "transport tribe" for all your journeys. I want to make it easier for people to use a free street bike for some journeys, and make it more convenient and cheaper to get on the train or the bus for others, so people will only want to use their cars when they are really needed. Hopefully, in the future, you'll find you feel more confident to try different ways of getting about.



What's the proof for climate change?

Chris Strutton

Birmingham

It's already happening. My mum and dad back in Cheltenham spent several weeks with floods, no running water and almost lost their electricity supply completely this summer, which has never happened before. The fact that higher levels of carbon dioxide will trap more heat in the atmosphere is indisputable, and humans have created the high levels we have today.

The effects in other countries will be much worse. However, in London, we are still vulnerable to rising sea levels, heatwaves and many other effects of rising temperatures, so we absolutely have to do our bit to reduce the problem.



You'll never get people out of their cars. Why don't you concentrate on helping make cars greener using better technologies?

Paul Fletcher

London SW20

I do that all the time. The new congestion charge has discounts for cleaner cars and, with the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, I've spent a lot of time talking to manufacturers and working on new EU rules so they can reduce their emissions steadily over the next few years. We don't just have a go at big urban 4x4s, we also praise people who choose smaller, cleaner cars, and even leave valentine cards under their windscreen wipers every year.



Do you like Boris Johnson, and are you alarmed that he might actually win?

Angela Hooper

Brentwood

I've only met him a couple of times because he's been quite poor at turning up to hustings so far, but he does come across as quite amiable. I'm very worried about what would happen to London if he became Mayor. The Conservatives – unlike Labour – wouldn't need anyone else's Assembly votes to pass the London budget. So we'd have a Tory monopoly, led by Boris Johnson, running London for the next four years, which is a very alarming prospect.

Are you a vegetarian and if so why?

Simon Rogers

London, NW6

I'm not completely vegetarian, but I eat very little meat and have a lot of veggie meals. Meat and dairy production create many more greenhouse gas emissions and uses much more water than growing vegetables and cereals.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence