Sunday, 28 February 2016

Bristol: zero waste by 2025

In 1987 as the Green Parliamentary candidate for Bristol South my election address talked of 'keeping resources within the local economy' and went on to say that we should develop  'repairs, maintenance, recycling and energy efficiency - jobs to to conserve by sustainable activity, not to pollute and waste'. I've been advocating going well beyond recycling to building a circular economy for over 30 yrs (see here and here). 

Circularity has been inherent in the Greens principles and policies on the economy since its foundation. Research by  the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP)  and the GreenAlliance shows that half a million jobs would be created by radically transforming our economy through efficiency, renewability and working with environmental respect. 

Its great to see that Bristol City Council is now beginning to catch on to this thinking with a strategy being discussed by the Mayor's Cabinet this coming week (see news clip left; click to enlarge).

One of the reasons the city is catching on is that there is now a 14 strong group of Green Councillors, including representation in the Cabinet. Bishopston's Green Councillor and Cabinet member Daniella Radice is leading on taking the city towards zero waste on an ambitious timescale. 

Electing more Greens onto the council this May will help to turn this strategy and others into a reality. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Petitioning for a Green Arena

This week I submitted my petition calling on Bristol's Mayor and councillors to ensure the city gets a Green Arena that fits with the aspirations Bristol has as EU Green Capital 2015. The committee meets to discuss the two current planning applications on 2 March: the full planning application for the Arena (reference number 15/06069/F) and the outline application for mixed-use development on the remainder of the Arena Island site (reference number 15/06070/P). 

My petition specifically calls for:

  • A fully participative approach to the Arena development, from planning, through to construction and operation (proactive, widespread work on community involvement hasn't been that good to date though). 
  • Measuring the success of the development in broad terms, including: the proportion of Arena and associated development users not travelling there by car; the quality of the air in and around the Arena site as indicated by on-site monitoring stations.
  • A diverse mix of facilities and services, integrated well and using local people, local businesses and resources.
  • Walking, cycling and integrated public transport to and from the area to be top priorities.  
  • Minimum provision for cars, except for essential users.
  • Green, open spaces integrated into the development to benefit biodiversity, human health, efficiency, reduction of noise, light and air pollution.
  • Meeting the highest possible social and environmental standards. 
  • A total, ecosystem style, joined up approach to managing people and resources based on a sustainability charter drawn up through cooperation with Bristol’s public as co-authors. 
  • An annual report facilitating ongoing public input into site sustainability.
  • A partnership that enables the provision, purchase and consumption of fresh, healthy, local foods on and around the site.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Registering to vote

Encouraging people to register to vote has been one key focus of my Bedminster campaigning activity this week. This included handing out hundreds of cards to students and passers-by with information on how to register to vote at the University of West of England’s Bower Ashton campus on Friday. Maximising the number that register to vote and then convincing them that there is something/someone worth actually voting for is crucial to our democracy.
The Tory Government’s changes to voter registration are taking effect. According to council data 316,414 people were registered to vote in Bristol last December. This is 2,726 lower than the 319,140  people on the register the year before. Government policy meant the council removed 6,857 people because they had not successfully got on to the new system (Individual Electoral Registration), under 2500 of which had moved away.
The council’s electoral services department has worked hard to keep as many on the register as possible, so the situation could have been even worse. The fall is numbers registered is still bad news for our democracy, thus the Greens action. Those in temporary accommodation or who are not permanently based in Bristol, such as students and homeless people are particularly at risk of not being registered so Greens are using their volunteer base to help tackle this. You can register to vote here.

Friday, 5 February 2016

What Bedminster's people want

I've been spending a lot of time surveying in the Bedminster area, along with Will Quick and others. This will be ongoing for several weeks or more yet and may well involve a number of different survey types. We want to know what matters most to people locally.

We are asking those surveyed to give their view on: the level of importance of a range of issues; to raise any local issues not mentioned on our form; to describe any particular local problems for us to take up. 

The numbers surveyed now run into many hundreds and as they rise we will start to analyse and report on what we find. Its been very pleasing to see how many people are happy to give us feedback. Also very pleasing is the level of positive reaction and support when we say we are from the local Green Party and that we are their councillor candidates. This has reinforced what the figures from past elections tell us: that Green support in Bedminster is rising fast and that we can win the May 2016 election there. 

The thinking behind our campaign approach is that to become a fairer, healthier, more sustainable city we need: 
  • Inclusive, informed, genuine public participation in community life.
  • Open, involving, accountable, ethical attitudes and policies
Contact me via Glenn.vowles@bristolgreenparty.org.uk with your views. More detail on priorities for the city here.