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A green agenda for local government

A Green Agenda For Local Government – 2010

Green councillors would adopt an agenda to reflect their concern for the quality of the environment; the needs of local people for useful and suitable work and a better quality of life; with an emphasis on protection of the poor; on education that fits them for life; and an economy that is rooted in local enterprises, offering chances for everyone.

To this end they would support policies to:

• Encourage the development of local trades and industries; promote the formation of cooperatives; extend apprenticeship schemes , and therefore create opportunities for further employment in the area, whilst supporting the unemployed through the benefits and credits system

• Support community services and enterprises such as post offices, shops, libraries and meeting rooms, and extend access to finances through credit unions and a Post Office Bank ; reject further privatisation of council services,and bring back control to recognised locally-based community enterprises

• Avoid grandiose projects which are a burden on the District, and which undermine community sustainability and development

• Increase the amount of affordable, social housing and improve energy conservation in council buildings whilst encouraging tenants and home owners to install insulation by the use of grants, loans and service agreements

• Develop a greater use of public transport within an integrated transport strategy where the available modes (buses, trains, cars etc) are considered together, and community cohesion is taken into account

• Lend support to the development and implementation of renewable energy sources, such as hydro- power systems on the rivers, solar heating and electricity installation, and wind turbines where appropriate

• Tackle litter and wastage at source by adopting minimum packaging rules for local produce and retail outlets

• Review the recycling scheme to make it more simple to follow, and encourage rate payers to offer materials for recycling or disposal by removing onerous charges

• Protect and enhance open spaces, trees and hedges under council control whilst working on measures to reduce pollution in the air, water and soil

• Help tenants and rate payers gain access to allotments by reviewing the land available, offering half plots where suitable, increasing allotment acreage if necessary, and reforming the system of allocation. Additionally, allotment- holders should be encouraged to treat their plots organically and avoid harmful chemicals

• Promote an education system that emphasises lifelong learning and scholarship, with greater support for students with disabilities or who suffer disadvantage; and support for human- scale, localised health and social services,with advisory panels of local people providing added accountability.

• Adopt a planning strategy which supports these aims

• In addition, a Green council would empower local people through community groups, tenants’ associations or parish councils where established, and seek to change the local three- member ward system so that a proportional vote is employed, thus encouraging a wider representation of views on the council ; change the “cabinet-style” system to a committee-based one, ensuring all councillors have equal influence (rather than being considered as only “back-benchers”,whilst others control conglomerate portfolios and claim higher allowances

• It would also continue to support a policy of open access to council meetings and records, and maintain the highest degree of probity in council affairs.

Brian Else

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