New parks, simpler fares and more free school meals promised by Green mayoral candidate

The Green Party’s mayoral contender Zoë Garbett launched her election manifesto in Walthamstow on Monday, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Green London mayoral candidate Zoe Garbett launched her campaign in Walthamstow on Monday (credit Green Party)
Green London mayoral candidate Zoe Garbett launched her campaign in Walthamstow on Monday (credit Green Party)

London’s tube and rail fares should be simplified to become a single, flat fare for every journey on the network, the Green Party’s mayoral candidate has said.

Unveiling her manifesto on Monday (8th), Zoë Garbett said she would “set an ambition to flatten fares and create a single zone for tube and rail, just like we have on buses and trams, helping everyone in outer London pay less for travel”.

The Green candidate said she would work towards that goal by first introducing a flat fare system across the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

Garbett also promised to “create at least ten major new parks for people to access, children to play in and for nature to thrive, and protect our current green spaces”.

On culture, she pledges to “support smaller, local venues and events to survive, and implement a ‘big venues levy’ to redistribute funding away from the big venues that are already thriving, and towards the small venues that need every penny to survive”.

The Green manifesto is the first to be published among the main parties, with the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates all yet to publish theirs. The London mayoral election is just over three weeks away, on 2nd May – along with elections to the London Assembly.

Garbett had already set out plans to expand Labour mayor Sadiq Khan’s free school meal programme to cover secondary schools, not just primaries.

She had also pledged to extend free bus travel to under 22s, and to asylum seekers, as well as reinstating free pre-9am travel for Freedom Pass and 60+ Oyster card holders.

On a recent visit to Hammersmith Bridge, she said the bridge should remain open to pedestrians and cyclists but closed to cars – arguing that this would save money and reduce pollution.

On car travel more generally, Garbett has said that she would consult with Londoners on introducing a “smarter, fairer road charging system” for drivers, which would replace the congestion charge and Ulez, and would be based on “distances driven, vehicle emissions, time of day and location”.

Khan had previously asked Transport for London (TfL) to investigate a similar ‘pay-per-mile’ system, but has since promised not to pursue the idea, pledging: “As long as I am mayor, we’re not going to have pay-per-mile.”

This has not stopped Conservative candidate Susan Hall from arguing that he will go back on this promise, pointing out that he said in 2021 that he would not expand the Ulez to outer London, before announcing such plans in 2022.

Hall has however refused to criticise Khan’s Conservative predecessor, Boris Johnson, for considering ‘road user charging’ in his own transport strategies.

Independent candidate Natalie Campbell meanwhile launched her own campaign on Monday, promising to end youth homelessness and to match Sadiq Khan’s pledge to build 40,000 council homes by 2030.

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