Social media users were left perplexed as to why the local Green party would not support a project to improve public transport in the Pendlebury area.
The Green party manifesto states that the Party commits to “providing more bus priority measures on the roads to improve punctuality”, which seems in contradiction with the Salford Green candidates’ position.
Bryan Blears, Green parliamentary candidate for Salford and Eccles, argues that the development would lead to more congestion, and thus increase exhaust fumes released by vehicles waiting in traffic.
To the argument that the actual aim of a bus lane is to make buses quick and reliable to take cars off the road and thus efficiently reduce emissions, Mr Blears responded: “As Greens we obviously want to make sure that everybody does use public transport that is reliable and affordable, and in this case we think that that money could be much better used.
We wouldn’t just agree on principle with everything if it’s not going to be effective.”
But Catriona Swinson, transport planner at Arup and a former council employee familiar with the bus lane project, tweeted: “I used to work for @SalfordCouncil so I know the scheme and it’s sensible.”
My @TheGreenParty candidate opposes a bus lane which will speed up buses and make them more reliable.
— Catriona Swanson (@CatrionaSwanson) December 8, 2019
A Labour source argued that Mr Blears’ stance has more to do with systematic opposition to Labour and Council policy than actual green issues.
Mr Blears said: “Labour proposed quite a lot of things that the Greens proposed five or 10 years ago.
If they want to do those things, I support them, it’s not a party politics issue, it’s about what’s best for Salford.
“We would support green initiatives, but only if they’re in the right place and if they provide value for money.”
Campaigners last week demonstrated against the bus lane, mostly on grounds that it would impede traffic and parking.
Mr Blears said: “I have no love for parking, that’s not the reason why we were fussed about it. The main reason is that that’s gonna cost £1.6m from our public purse and we feel that money could be used in much greener initiatives.”
To the argument that his position is giving grounds for people to oppose bus lanes “because the Greens say it’s ok”, Mr Blears responded that he’s registered the concerns and he is happy to talk to people one by one to explain that this is an individual case and that he does not oppose bus lanes generally.