We offered all the prospective parliamentary candidates attending our recent public meeting the opportunity to send you a message. The following is the message from Graham Giles (Labour party).
Chair, Cycle Hayling
Dr. Graham Giles MBE, Parliamentary Candidate for Havant and Hayling Island.
Thank you for permitting me the opportunity to post a message regarding my priorities for Hayling Island when elected:
A large number of Hayling Island school children once used this service to access private schools in Portsmouth but it recently became unreliable and safety worries had been expressed. Reinstating a properly managed, reliable ferry service is essential. Initially, this requires local government or European funding but ultimately it should be a self-supporting social-enterprise for the benefit of the island.
Supporting Cycle Hayling in its work with landowners and the Council must be a priority for the next MP. I would help negotiate shared rights-of-way, focusing on providing safe routes especially to island schools. Developing and improving off-road cycleways will also benefit commuters and leisure riders as an alternative to the main Havant road. We should target European Community sponsorship for an ambitious Hayling cycle infrastructure as other cities and towns have. This would include a full upgrade of the Hayling Billy and construction of a leisure bridge. This sensible sustainable strategy anticipates multiple benefits to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, preserve flood-defences and boost green tourism.
Commitment to reducing the speed limit on the main Havant Road to 30 mph and preferably all over the Island has been supported by many residents I met. Near schools I would encourage the implementation of a “20 is Plenty” policy, especially during pupil arrival and departure times. This might not be popular with a minority of drivers but it would make the neighbourhood safer for children, pedestrians and cyclist, less polluted and more peaceful.
Free GeoThermal heat and power
In Parliament I will champion affordable geothermal power for Hayling Island families and businesses through European green energy grants (as Labour MP Alan Whitehead did in Southampton !). This zero-carbon sustainable energy resource is drawn from the hot aquifer located 1000 metres below the Island and Havant. It is environmentally friendly, requiring no fracking, no injection of toxic chemicals and no re-drilling. The only discharge into the atmosphere is water vapour. Unlike wind and solar energy, geothermal heat and power is permanently available.
European funding for cycling and cycling infrastructure
With a little research after your recent Cycle Hayling AGM I can confirm that significant funds are available. The European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) is targeting 6 billion Euro for cycling between 2014-2020, including construction of 50,000 km of new cycle paths. European Union cycle project grants can be obtained from various programmes and agencies. In principle, cycling initiatives are eligible for funding in the policy areas of transport, energy, environment, health, regional development and tourism. For example:
- The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
The ERDF includes funding for clean and sustainable urban transport, multimodal transport and tourism-related infrastructure
- The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD)
The EAFRD funds rural development. This can include the creation of cycling infrastructure and promotion of sustainable tourism.
- Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE)
The IEE programme aims at improving energy efficiency and encourages the wider uptake of new and renewable energies. Cycling projects can be funded under its STEER strand which promotes more sustainable energy use in transport. STEER funds measures to increase demand for sustainable transport such as campaigns, promoting best practices, education and training, and capacity building.
- The EU Research Framework Programmes
This is the main financial tool through which the EU supports research and technological development and demonstration activities. Its “cooperation” sub-programme includes Transport. One key initiative for cycling projects is CIVITAS. This initiative funds the development and evaluation of new approaches to safe cycling in cities.
- Programme of Community Action in the Field of Health
The Health Programme is the key means of implementing health objectives at European level. Cycling could be funded under the “health promotion” strand which includes the promotion of physical activity.