An informed perspective on key issues

At this time of year, with polling day looming, other parties tend to produce leaflets describing our policies and activities in ways that we sometimes regard as negative and inaccurate.

The Green party is committed to positive campaigning. We will always focus on what we have done, and what we can do, for local communities and for the city. We will always acknowledge complexities as openly and transparently as we can, so that you can make up your own mind from an informed position.

Below we lay out our position and our actions on a number of key issues in response to some allegations starting to fly about:

Bristol City Council Budget:

Green Party Councillors: Rob Telford, Tess Green and Daniella Radice voted against a proposed revenue budget that entailed an £80 million cut.

We felt this would lead to unacceptable cuts in services, and the loss of much expertise from the council – neither of which we could support.

We voted in favour of the Labour amendments to put back money towards parks maintenance and children’s services, ensuring that when the budget eventually went through these items were included.

Residents Parking Schemes:

Our policy has always been that we will support these schemes where and when local residents want them. We believe in incentivizing fewer car journeys and in local decision-making and proper consultation. You can read a detailed statement from our councillors on our position, written in June 2013.

Green Party councillors are working hard in their wards to ensure that the voice of their residents on RPS is heard. Cllrs Rob Telford and Gus Hoyt (Ashley) are the only councillors in Bristol to have held their own consultation meetings throughout their ward and to produce their own report for the Council on RPS for Ashley.

Green Party Councillors, along with all the other political parties, voted in favour of the Mayor having to reconsider his implementation of RPSs.

Cllr Daniella Radice (Bishopston) was a member of the RPS working group which examined how the system has been working so far and made constructive recommendations for the future, particularly with regard to greater consultation and getting more details on schemes.

Air Pollution:

The Green Party has long campaigned on air pollution throughout the city, and we are pleased that other parties are now acknowledging its importance.

Cllr Tess Green (Southville) fought for the Sustainable Development and Transport working group enquiry into air pollution. One of its recommendations was to try to set up a Low Emissions Zone for Bristol.

Greens are aware that most of Gloucester Road is an Air Quality Management area (i.e below EU standards for air quality) because the Council already monitor it and we pay close attention to the data.

We consistently call for practical action to reduce traffic congestion and other emissions. It is not clear to us how setting up further monitoring (as suggested by some other parties) will actually help the underlying problem.

Rail

All political parties in Bristol are demanding investment in Bristol’s local rail network.

The Green Party has campaigned on this issue for many years. Cllr Charlie Bolton (Southville) initiated the subsidy of the Severn Beach line so that half hourly services could run. Since then it has become so successful, a subsidy is no longer needed.

In Bishopston we support a new station at Ashley Hill which we see as crucial for the College, Cricket ground and residents.

Because transport is such a key issue, we have written a 15 point local election transport manifesto. Rail is vital, though just one part of the answer. We are also calling for a proper city wide cycle network, revision of bus routes and an integrated transport authority, among other things.

Housing standards

Green party councillors in Bristol support the landlord licensing scheme to ensure landlords provide good quality accommodation. We would like to see the current scheme rolled out across the city.

Nationally, Green MP Caroline Lucas has co-sponsored Jeremy Corbyn’s bill to protect tenants in privately rented homes.

In 2012 she published her own Private Member’s Bill to require local authorities to operate landlord accreditation schemes.

http://www.carolinelucas.com/media.html/2013/10/18/lucas-signs-bill-to-protect-tenants/

Bristol Green Capital Partnership

Green party councillors and cabinet member are playing a full part in preparations for European Green capital year 2015.

Cllr Radice is part of the Nature and Green spaces action group. She is also a Director of Gloucester Road Traders Association ltd, to help the small businesses of Gloucester road form links with other organisations across the city as part of the Green Capital Partnership.

Tim Malnick is involved in forming a Green Capital Partnership facilitator’s group – helping the individual action groups to work well together, share and record learning.

We fully support the 300+ local organisations from all sectors, who are working hard to ensure that the Green Capital works for everyone in the city.

TRASH campaign and local planning:

The fact that the High Court gave the TRASH campaign leave to take the judicial review showed that there were valid grounds for the review. If the case had not been sound, the High Court simply wouldn’t have granted leave.

The TRASH campaign was therefore winnable in principle and had widespread community support.

Other parties have claimed they are setting up a planning zone related to Gloucester Road. Generally we regard neighbourhood planning areas as of use in areas where there is scope of lots of new developments. In Bishopston, we don’t regard this as being the case, although Cllrs Willingham (Lib Dem) and Radice did suggest setting up a local planning group a few months ago when there were rumours that the prison was to close.

Cllr Radice regularly discusses planning and development with the Gloucester Road Traders Association which represents the whole of Gloucester road.

You can read Tim Malnick’s personal views on the Memorial Stadium / Sainsbury’s here.

National Energy and Climate Change Policy

The Green group is the 4th largest group in the EU parliament, and has achieved many, many improvements in climate change and energy policy over the years.

A large vote for the Green party in 1989 Euro election pushed climate change and environmental issues high onto the political agenda.

The Greens are today an established force in European politics, having been represented in the European Parliament since 1984. The Green group strives to make Europe the global leader in terms of environmental protection, peace and social justice, fair globalisation, and in the fight for human rights.

Greens on Brighton Council

Other parties have launched attacks on the actions of the Green Group leading Brighton council. To make your own mind up about Greens on Brighton Council visit:

http://www.brightonhovegreens.org/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/15/greens-blown-it-in-brighton

We suggest that the minority Green Group grasped the nettle and at considerable political cost to themselves, and addressed longstanding issues around equal pay.

While other parties often adopt a ‘my party, right or wrong’ approach, Green councillors do not operate a whipping system and vote according to what they think is right. Sometimes there will be divisions because issues are not simple. We continue to emphasise dialogue as a way to address these complexities.

Who to vote for in the Euro Elections

In Bristol, a Green vote in the Euro Elections is likely to make a very significant difference

European election is by Proportional Representation, so all votes count. There are 6 seats to be contested here in the South West. Currently there are 3 Conservative, 2 UKIP and one Lib Dem. In 2009, the Green Party got more votes than Labour. That was at the height of Gordon Brown’s unpopularity and we expect Labour to win a seat this time. But it is highly unlikely that Labour will win 2 seats. That means that the battle for the sixth seat is likely to be between the third UKIP candidate, the second Tory and Molly Scott Cato for the Greens.

Greens would need about 10% to win a seat (just 1% more than we got in 2009), and recent polls suggest that we are on target to achieve that. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/12/support-labour-drops-tories-lead-guardian-icm-poll

 

 

 

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One thought on “An informed perspective on key issues

  1. I saw you on the panel tonight at the Bishopston hustings and was tremendously impressed with your responses. Unfortunately, as I live a hairsbreadth outside of the ward. I cannot vote in this election. However, as someone who was a natural Labour supporter who shops, socialises and generally loves all that goes on on the Glos. Rd.& hates the proposed Sainsbury’s development, I’ll support you in anyway possible.

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