Green councillors are making a difference on councils up and down the country. Below, the first two Green Councillors to be elected onto Swale Borough Council, local GP Alastair Gould and Tim Valentine, share their successes from their first 4 months in office.
Not only did Alastair and Tim become the first two Greens to be elected to the Council, but they are now part of the ruling Administration with alliance partners Labour, Liberal Democrats and Independents.
During their election campaign they heard a strong message from constituents that they want to see change, especially to cancel plans for large housing estates in the countryside. Since being elected, they have:
• campaigned against inappropriate housing developments in the countryside. Swale Borough Council has announced a new priority for affordable homes to meet local need, close to transport links. Building large estates in the countryside is no longer a priority. A new local plan is being developed to reflect these new strategic goals.
• campaigned against the industrial scale solar power station on Graveney Marshes. Before the election Swale Borough Council had not engaged with the consultation. Alastair and Tim made sure that a strong objection was submitted from the council to the government’s Planning Inspectorate, who will make the decision. The Greens oppose this development due it the loss of a much loved wild, open space and the impact it will have on the precious wildlife of the marshes.
• campaigned for zero tolerance of racism on the council. This autumn the Council will introduce a requirement for all councillors to undertake high quality diversity and equality training. The Council should never again be bought into disrepute by individual councillors’ public support for racists.
Tim and Alastair are also working hard to look after their area. Since their election they have reported more incidents of fly tipping, including bathroom fittings, fridges & freezers and all incidents have been removed.
Swale Borough Council has now comitted to making its operations carbon neutral by 2025, and to do all it can to make the Borough carbon neutral by 2030. It has also promised to eliminate single*use plastics from its operations by 2021, take steps to improve air quality in the borough, provide facilities for charging electric cars to encourage the switch to electric vehicle and to make room for nature to provide the habitats for wildlife to flourish.
Not bad for the first 4 months….