Policies for the County Council Election 2017

6 April 2017

The County Council is being put under huge and unfair financial pressure by the Government. Electing Greens means putting these things at the top of our agenda:

Promoting investment in public transport, safer streets, road maintenance and drain clearing
When public transport links are poor studies show that rural areas suffer more than urban ones. Rural buses are vital to combat social exclusion for the young and the elderly, to bring in tourists and support small businesses. Decline in rural public transport is not inevitable and many other countries are doing much better than us. Strong local transport strategies are vital to increasing public transport use, with benefits for road safety, traffic reduction, air quality in towns and climate change, reducing carbon emissions from car use. Read more at http://www.bettertransport.org.uk

With the increasing frequency of torrential rainstorms it is vital to prevent flash-flooding from road run-off by keeping roadside drains, gullies and culverts clear from blockages.

We believe 20mph should become the default speed limit on residential and urban streets. This can be done on most streets without the need for any physical calming and we accept that on some streets it may be appropriate to have a higher limit based on the road, vulnerable road users provision, etc. But any limit above 20mph should be a considered decision based on local circumstances. The week after the election 8th - 14th May 2017 is the fourth UN Global Road Safety Week and the theme is Slow Down, Save Lives. One of the key calls will be for a 20mph or 30km/h limit where there is conflict between motor vehicles and vulnerable road users.
Read more here http://www.20splenty.org

Prioritising small business and a strong local economy over big business
The unaccountable exercise of economic power by large corporations has done much to destroy the environment and social structures. Smaller and more democratically structured enterprises are more open to community regulation, ensuring that greater care is taken both of the people who work in them, and of the concerns and needs of the local community and the environment. Where businesses are locally owned money remains and circulates in the local community. Multi-national companies and large corporations suck money out of local communities.

Supporting children's services, early learning and our schools

Increasing social care services for the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable

Increasing affordable housing, especially for young people
Housing is a fraught subject in the County at the moment. There is a need for more housing but we believe the wrong kind of housing is being built, often in the wrong places and this is causing unnecessary friction in communities. Because house-building is largely done by private companies who wish to make a considerable profit large, expensive houses are built which are not only expensive to buy, but also expensive to run.

Much of the housing needed is actually affordable housing so that people can stay in the places they grew up rather than being forced into cheaper areas. Housing Associations and Community groups are in the main providers of such housing and should be supported in their plans. The Green Party policy supports the building of half a million homes for social rent. Building firms are usually required to include affordable housing in their large developments but can drop these plans by claiming it would make the development unprofitable. This should be challenged whenever it occurs. The definition of affordability needs to be changed as currently even “affordable” housing can be out of the reach of the majority.

As early as 2013 the Allerdale and Copeland branch of the Green Party launched some general principles regarding housing developments inspired by the furore of Story Homes development at Strawberry Howe, Cockermouth but applicable to any development.
General guidelines include the principles that
• housing should be planned on the basis of independent housing needs surveys, which can then determine size and type of house needed
• for  large developments an independent environmental impact  assessment should be done
• commercial housebuilders should not be involved in identifying sites
• rainwater collection and recovery systems should be fitted as standard, along with micro-generation (solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels) and renewable heating systems, coupled with significant levels of insulation for maximum energy efficiency.
• to reduce the risk of accidents, protect pedestrians and improve quality of life for residents, the estate should be a 20 mph zone from the outset.
• community benefits should be planned to benefit the whole community.

There is much more about the benefits of and strategies for affordable housing at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation website https://www.jrf.org.uk/housing?gclid=CP-zorq29NICFQ0R0wod-ZwA9w

Supporting renewable energy developments, whilst opposing fracking,  other unconventional fossil fuels and nuclear power
We believe it is an environmental and social necessity and perfectly possible to reduce carbon emissions to to almost zero To do this we need to embrace renewable energy in all its forms including renewable heating and transport fuels. Cumbria is well-poised to exploit tidal power, solar and wind energy, energy from farm and food waste.

We also need to leave fossil fuels in the ground and to avoid another generation of nuclear power. Nuclear reactors are expensive and risk not only catastrophic accidents but also dangers from regular discharges of radioactivity to air and water and the ongoing problem of how to deal with nuclear waste.
You can read more about this by following these links

Supporting farmers to deal with increasingly uncertain weather patterns and global food markets
Agriculture is very vulnerable to extreme weather events affecting both crops and the amount of cultivable land. Small farmers are also vulnerable to the increasing mechanisation and globalisation of food markets and the drive for low cost food production.

We encourage support for rewilding initiatives, tree-planting and the use of non-productive agricultural land for initiatives to slow water run-off, and to encourage the view of floodplains as part of river systems not land to be continuously cultivated. There is more information about re-wilding at www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/

We aim to support the localisation of food markets and developments such as farmers markets and food assemblies, or other innovative ways of linking farmers, food producers and customers, reducing food miles and encouraging customers to support local farmers rather than large corporations. A food assembly has recently been started in Cockermouth and you can contact them through their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/cockermouthfoodassembly/ or read more about food assemblies in general

Increasing support for Credit Unions to help people - especially those dependent on foodbanks - avoid payday loan companies and loan sharks
26 wards within Cumbria rank in the top 10% of most deprived wards in the country on 2015 figures. Just as in the rest of the country inequality is rising and while parts of the Cumbria are doing very nicely (none of the most deprived wards are in Eden or South Lakeland) some real hardship exists.
Sterling work is done by credit unions and by volunteers in food banks to help alleviate this and we believe they must continue to be supported.
You can find foodbank information here www.trusselltrust.org and credit unions exist in both Allerdale https://allerdalecreditunion.org.uk/ and Copeland www.cleatormoorcreditunion.org.uk/

Supporting action and education on waste reduction and increasing the range of goods which can be recycled
Waste is a man-made problem. Waste does not exist in nature, everything degrades naturally, has a function and can be used by other creatures.

Zero-waste week runs from 4th to 8th September this year and could be actively promoted by the County Council. It’s aim is to educate the public about reducing waste, repairing and reusing items. It is promoted by http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk with information and help for householders, local authorities and businesses

There are items which can be easily recycled which are not collected either kerbside (by the Borough Council) or at the Bring Sites run by the County Council - examples include food waste and tetrapaks.

It is important to encourage the use of recycled items as this improves the market for recycled goods. With its purchasing power the County Council could have an influence in this respect.

Opposing the introduction of chemical fluoride in drinking water
Many in the scientific community now acknowledge the lack of evidence that supports adding fluoride to water and have identified the topical use of fluoride through toothpaste as being responsible for  international improvements in dental health.

The Green Party opposes water fluoridation due to a number of health concerns, which could be caused by accumulation of fluoride in the body. We also believe that enforced medication through the water supply is fundamentally wrong.

We believe the precautionary principle should prevail.

You can find information on the Fluoride Free Cumbria website http://www.lakestay.co.uk/fluoridefreecumbria/


Click the "Our Policies" tab on this webpage to read more about Green Party policies.

Click the "Local Elections" tab to view profiles of our candidates.


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