Labour Works for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
by Nik Johnson
Following my election in May as the new Labour and Co-operative Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, I’ve focused on embedding my 3Cs – compassion, co-operation and community – in the combined Authority.
Part of this co-operation has involved working with Daniel Zeichner, the MP for Cambridge, and this has enabled Cambridge Labour to be represented at both a local and the national level. The combined authority is still relatively new, which offers an opportunity for Labour to show how we can do local government differently here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
The last 18 months has brought public health to the forefront of both national and local policy. My background as a paediatrician has spurred me to place public health at the heart of the combined authority’s objectives.
I’ve worked to ensure this has become a prominent thread within our work in transport, housing and business and skills. This has included a change in the composition of the combined authority board, with the recent appointment of Councillor Chris Boden as the lead member for public health and the appointment of Councillor Bridget Smith as the lead member for environment and climate change.
I believe that the climate and environment in which we live in and public health are deeply interlinked. My work to strengthen the combined authority’s focus on the climate and the environment has involved the recent board approval of 31 recommendations, based on the findings of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate (CPICC), chaired by Baroness Brown.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is in a unique position where active travel is often a key choice for many in the region, whether that’s cycling, walking or horse riding. By working to make active travel and public transport a first choice for my constituents, we can improve both the environment and our general health. As part of this, the combined authority is in the process of creating an active travel forum and appointing an active travel tsar to ensure Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents are at the heart of our transport plans.
We have also been involved in a successful e-scooter and e-bike trial with Voi across Cambridge and Peterborough, which we hope to expand to other parts of the region in the near future.
A key part of the combined authority’s goal of improving rural transport connectivity is through the use of buses. We will be launching a demand responsive transport bus trial in October, which will serve rural parts of the region, and we are also exploring the implementation of bus franchising.
I am passionate about ensuring that people are at the heart of all that we do at the combined authority. As part of this we have undertaken a people-centric approach to our work, starting by ensuring that all staff at the combined authority are paid the Living Wage. We have also begun the process of introducing union representation, to ensure staff have the option to join a trade union if they choose.
Labour in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has hit the ground running, and I look forward to sharing and celebrating our achievements over the next four years.
Nik Johnson is Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough