Victoria Borwick is a Conservative candidate who has made it through the first stage to be the Party's candidate for Mayor of London. Key policies in Victoria's campaign focuses around crime, accountability and scrapping the congestion charge.
Victoria has been kind enough to fill in LondonUnlocked's questionnaire. As stated in the preamble of the first questionnaire, the same questions have been posed to every candidate running for the nomination, and the position of Mayor itself, in order to provide a searchable archive of the various candidates views.
Firstly, how do you travel in to work on an average week? Usually by tube and sometimes by bus
If you own a car, what model is it? How often do you use it? A Volkswagen Golf which I use for shopping expeditions with my family
What is your current view of the London transport network? The transport network is too focussed on central London. We need more orbital routes so people can travel from town centre to town centre without having to come right into London. We need also to improve transport interchanges to give greater flexibility to both the transport system and individuals.
Why would London be best served by you being Mayor? London’s Mayor should be a hands-on chief executive with a clear focus on doing the practical things that would make London a safer, more pleasant place in which to live and work. I want to get things done for Londoners, not engage in the kind of juvenile posturing that characterises the Livingstone regime. I want more jobs for Londoners, better training and to play my part in boosting business and the City.
What are you transport priorities for London? To get London moving. I want to explore all possible transport opportunities to make sure travelling in London is easy as possible. Getting people moving and traffic circulating must be the main priority. I also want Londoners to feel safe wherever they are whether on the tube, the bus or walking on the streets.
What would you like your legacy to be for London's transport future? Fewer breakdowns and a more reliable transport system that responds to passengers needs.
Current Transport Policy:
What is your view of the Mayor's transport plan? Whilst a few schemes such as the Oyster Card have of course been successful so much of his strategy is badly thought through, wasteful and does not give Londoners a say. He is the mayor who introduced the Congestion Charge against the wishes of Londoners and which now sees average traffic speeds inside the zone lower than they were before the Charge’s introduction. There are more traffic pinch points now in London than before and traffic light rephrasing has slowed rather than helped the movement of traffic. Congested traffic is polluting traffic. His bus policy has also been a disaster. Buses receive £428 million in subsidies yet are still incapable of providing an effective service. Central London is a bus park. Look at Oxford Street. All you see is queues of empty buses holding up the traffic. They take up space and pump out tons of Co2. Livingstone’s flagship bendy buses are racked with flaws. Fare dodging is rife and the Evening Standard recently revealed that they are more than twice as likely to cause an accident as their predecessors.
Are you happy with the Olympic transport plan? I wait to see whether the transport plans turn into successful projects. With regards to the Olympics as a whole I am appalled by the budget mismanagement of Livingstone and the Government. Costs are out of control. It is disgraceful that it has tripled to £9 billion in a couple of years. GLA Conservatives will have to watch this project like hawks to ensure that no more costs are piled on Londoners and that the project runs to time and budget.
What would like visitors to the Olympics to see when they arrive in London? Clean, green streets free of graffiti and no fear of pickpockets or being victims of crime.
What is your view on the public sector taking the lead in funding transport projects in the future given the Metronet crisis? I think it is best to consider each project in turn.
What is your view on CrossRail? Crossrail is a good idea and ideally we would have Crossrail two to compliment it. The problem is one of funding and who will pay for it.
Transport and Security:
What security measures would you like to put in place on London's transport network? More money for the British Transport Police is needed and more police on the transport network in outer London. We must also change the command structure of British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police so that they work closer. We should also learn lessons from the 7/7 attack.
What is your view of the Mayor's plan to take cars out of certain areas of central London? Whilst we enjoy London’s squares it is important that businesses are able to operate effectively in London.
What is your position on the Congestion Charge? The congestion charge is a yet another tax. Traffic speeds have fallen rather than quickened since the introduction of the charge and out of the £677 million extorted from motorists, only a fraction has been reinvested in transport. It was introduced against the wishes of Londoners and does nothing to make London move more quickly.
What is your view on using containerisation to reduce the number of vehicles travelling into central London for deliveries? It is sensible to group loads together however one must be careful and not have overly large vehicles blocking London’s roads.
How do you intend to tackle the issue of climate change whilst balancing this with London's transport needs? There are two ways of fighting climate change. I want to use carrots. Livingstone uses sticks. Livingstone wants to penalize London families for using their cars and businesses for delivering their produce. This harms small businesses and puts more pressure on Londoners who are already trying to make ends meet in an increasingly expensive city. I believe we need to fight climate change using incentives and technology. We need to invest in carbon capture technology, energy saving devices and think more about how we use our resources. Livingstone’s stick may put a dent in climate change, but it will put a hole in London’s pocket.
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? No
Transport Planning/The Future:
Would you continue with the Mayor's transport plan if elected? As I have said above some of the measures taken have worked and it would only be sensible to stick with them. The Oyster Card is one example. There are, however, many improvements to be made across the transport network and my transport policies aim to give London the transport system it deserves.
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? Only where appropriate.
What steps, if any, would you take in involving the public in transport decisions that affect London? I would welcome practical and sensible input from user groups to help improve London transport and especially looking at ways of improving not just Zone one but all of London’s transport zones.
Many thanks to Victoria for taking the time to give us her views.