Simon Fawthrop is a Conservative candidate running for the nomination to be the Party's candidate for Mayor of London. His campaign slogan is 'Communities 1st', a theme which runs throughout his policies for London.
Simon was kind enough to be the first candidate to fill in LondonUnlocked's questionnaire. The same questions will be posed to every candidate running for the nomination, and the position of Mayor itself, providing a searchable archive of the various candidates views.
Firstly, how do you travel in to work on an average week?
Generally work from Home. When travelling to London varies between various combinations of car, train, bus, tube and walk.
If you own a car, what model is it? How often do you use it?
Mazda 2 Diesel, daily for Council and constituency work.
What is your current view of the London transport network?
At breaking point through lack of capacity at peak times.
Why would London be best served by you being Mayor?
I have a long term vision to reduce congestion by investing in people rather than transport infrastructure.
What are you transport priorities for London?
Tackling the causes of Congestion and not the symptoms, encouraging businesses to allow employees to work from home. The Long term benefits outweigh the problems of trying to expand capacity at peak times. There are personal, commercial and environmental benefits to this policy. Rein in the powers of TfL with regard to the London Boroughs to give a more direct and accountable approach to local needs. Remove the one size fits all centralising approach of the current Mayor.
What would you like your legacy to be for London's transport future?
I’m not interested in my legacy, but in helping ordinary people go about their daily lives with a little less stress than currently endured.
Current Transport Policy:
What is your view of the Mayor's transport plan?
Rubbish. It is a backward looking plan more akin to the 1960s and is inappropriate for a modern vibrant Greater London. It is zone one centric and fails to recognise the genuine problems and needs of the residents living in the Outer London Boroughs. (one of the Mayor's big failings)
Are you happy with the Olympic transport plan?
In general no because it shows the usual dogmatic distaste of the Mayor for cars as a transport mode – one of the reasons why the Millennium Dome was surely such a financial disaster.
What would like visitors to the Olympics to see when they arrive in London?
What is your view on the public sector taking the lead in funding transport projects in the future given the Metronet crisis?
Transport projects should only be funded when they make economic sense, and if the private sector is unwilling to fund them then usually you should take a long and hard look as to why public funding should be provided. In any case, there is limited public funding available which is why private funding has been promoted by the Government in recent years.
What is your view on CrossRail?
A waste of money in its current form, for the same amount of money used to build CrossRail (based on the current £10Bn estimate) you could connect every house hold in Greater London to the internet free of charge for 20 years (and that is at retail rates). Which will have more benefit at increasing capacity on the network?
Transport and Security:
What security measures would you like to put in place on London's transport network?
I think we should not over-react to the recent events which were a rather inept terrorist attack that caused no injuries. Excessive security measures can be enormously costly and inhibit personal freedom and privacy, with no guarantee of preventing terrorist attacks. But perhaps the Mayor should reconsider his preference for high-rise buildings which are a major problem in terms of protecting them against terrorist attack. Likewise we should ensure that there is no excessive reliance of one or two systems, and a surplus of capacity in the network, so that alternative routes can be used when disruption does strike. The key role for me as the Mayor is to underline and support advice which asks people to be vigilant and encourage people to do their public duty by bringing any information they may have forward to the police and security services.
What is your view of the Mayor's plan to take cars out of certain areas of central London?
This should be a matter for local people. Cars are not as evil as the current incumbent makes out.
What is your position on the Congestion Charge?
For an independent review which will be binding on me as Mayor.
What is your view on using containerisation to reduce the number of vehicles travelling into central London for deliveries?
This is a worthwhile initiative if it shown to be cost effective and is implemented voluntarily.
How do you intend to tackle the issue of climate change whilst balancing this with London's transport needs?
The question presumes that the Mayor of London can tackle climate change, which is very King Canute like. It is unlikely that any steps taken by the Mayor of London alone will have any significant effect on climate change, and certainly not in respect of transport emissions, which are only a minor element in overall air pollution and emissions. However my Communities First approach of encouraging more people to work from home, helps reduce certain types of carbon emissions and has a knock on effect of reducing vehicle and public transport use in general, none of which is carbon neutral.
Do you believe that it is the role of the Mayor of London to make deals with other countries/cities around the world for cheaper petrol/bio-fuel etc?
This is not necessary the role of the Mayor, but it makes good commercial sense for the procurement people at TfL to get a good deal on transport fuel.
Transport Planning/The Future:
Would you continue with the Mayor's transport plan if elected?
Looking at schemes such as Poma's cable cars, MonoMetro's urban monorails, and Skyweb's Sky Taxis, all of which have been implemented in urban environments around the world, would you be prepared to look at such systems as a way to compliment the current London transport network?
Consult properly and widely, with no axe to grind or closed mind, and adhere to the results of any such democratic consultation.
Many thanks to Simon for taking part in this questionnaire.