Achievements of Bristol's Green Councillors (from May 2016)
Climate emergency action
- Green councillors proposed a motion in Bristol that declared a climate emergency - the first motion of its kind in Europe - and set a bold target for the city to go carbon neutral by 2030
- Councillors have put forward ambitious proposals to reduce emissions as soon as possible and holding the Mayor to account for a proper response to the emergency
- We’ve also been challenging the Mayor’s support for Bristol Airport Expansion, which is incompatible with reaching our carbon neutrality targets
- Councillor Carla Denyer led a successful campaign which saw Bristol University commit to divest its huge endowment fund away from fossil fuel companies
- Councillor Martin Fodor has been putting pressure on multi-billion pound Avon Pension Fund to do the same through motions to council meetings
Council budgets - fighting austerity and investing in services
At annual council budgets Greens have successfully proposed budget amendments that will improve services and save the Council hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, including:
- Expanding council housing to make more rooms available
- Providing more housing for adults with disabilities
- More specialist housing for children in care with complex needs
Other budget amendments proposed by Greens included climate action, street improvements and reversing some of Labour's cuts to services:
- Climate change planning, street improvements and more action on fly tipping – funded by charging commercial landlords whose buildings do not meet the energy efficiency requirements [passed]
- Fund the Local Crisis Prevention fund, a vital lifeline for vulnerable people, by raising charges on private property development which blocks streets [passed]
- Improve pay for foster carers by cutting some of the increased budget of the Mayor’s Office [did not pass]
- Reverse some cuts to Parks services by scrapping councillors’ free parking perks [did not pass]
Fighting for clean air
- Green Councillors passed the original motion calling on the Council to develop Clean Air Zones in November 2016 then led on work with Green Cabinet member Fi Hance
- Councillors have been keeping up the pressure on the Mayor to deliver on this and challenging the administrations frequent delays and inadequate plans
- Greens want to go beyond the Mayor’s bare minimum – proposing real changes to Bristol’s transport system in order to make real improvements to congestion, health and quality of life. While other parties seek only to address the symptoms of the problem, Greens aren’t afraid to tackle a major cause of Bristol's air pollution - too many private cars on our roads.
Opposing Labour’s austerity programme
- Greens campaigned with renters union ACORN against Mayor’s plan to cut Council Tax Support, which would have been a huge tax hike on the poorest and most vulnerable in the city. Greens found the Mayor’s consultation was potentially illegal. The Mayor U-turned.
- Greens campaigned against Labour's plans to cut libraries and parks budgets. After this Labour kept libraries open and reduced planned cuts to parks.
- Greens have called on Bristol to unite the UK’s core cities to take the fight to central govt on austerity, if needs be refusing to pass cuts budgets together.
- In 2017, 2018 and 2019 Greens refused to vote for Labour budgets that contained millions of pounds in cuts to vital services. However Greens still found millions of pounds in savings for the council to tackle city-wide problems and protect services through budget amendments.
Rejecting bad planning
- Councillors challenged and defeated a planning application for a massive city centre car park at Cabot circus. It would have greatly increased traffic and air pollution in central Bristol.
– Bristol Arena - Green councillors oppose the Mayor’s expensive private sector giveaway of valuable public land on Temple Island, and brought the arena decision to a Full Council meeting to challenge it.
- Green councillors prevented the development of Avonbank standby biodiesel generator, and a gas plant in St Phillips that would have been by a nursery – they would have damaged local air quality.
Fighting for social justice and decolonisation
- Councillor Cleo Lake led calls for justice for race relations advisor Judah Adunbi, tasered by police outside his own home. She challenged the city’s celebration of its colonial past through the Countering Colston campaign and as Lord Mayor removed a portrait of slave trader Edward Colston from her office.
- She has repeatedly challenged the administration on its cooperation with the Home Office which may have led to involuntary deportations of rough sleepers in Bristol.
- Green councillors proposed and passed a motion which saw the Mayor commit to supporting the Votes at 16 Campaign and the council will explore ways of lowering the voting age in local elections.
- Councillors have developed a Better Buses plan which would raise at least £6 million to improve bus services – we could make them faster, cheaper, and more frequent.
- Bus improvements would be funded by a congestion charge for out of town drivers – this would tackle traffic, which is the number 1 cause of bus delays. Positive knock on effects of this would be improving air quality and cycling.
- Green councillors have been persistently lobbying the Mayor to act on the increasingly dangerous parking situation in some parts of the city, which could prevent emergency vehicles getting to people’s homes in time
- Green councillors support enforcing a ban on pavement parking which makes getting around difficult and dangerous for people with small children or those with disabilities.
- Bristol really needs more affordable and social housing but tall tower blocks aren’t always the best way to do this and can come with a unique set of problems – Greens have challenged the Mayor’s preference for tall buildings based on ‘ambition’
- Commercial billboards are distracting, ugly and may be harmful to people’s mental health. Greens have successfully challenged applications for new billboards around Bristol. We favour a planning ban on new advertising billboards in Bristol, as cities like Grenoble and Sao Paulo have done.
- Greens would support pedestrianizing more parts of the city centre to improve air quality and create places that are a pleasure to be in.
- Public space should be for everyone – Councillor Martin Fodor has challenged ‘quasi-public’ spaces such as Cabot Circus, where private security makes the rules.