Green councillor achievements
Changing the way councils think
Ending dependence on polluting fossil fuel
Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding is encouraging the county’s £5bn pension fund to take into account ethical as well as financial factors and has persuaded it to sign up to the United Nations Charter Principles for Responsible Investment.
Kirklees's three Green Cllrs managed to get approved a groundbreaking provision that said any applications to drill for hydrocarbons (including fracking) in their district, would have to demonstrate as part of their planning application how they would have ‘net zero impact on climate change’. The justification for this policy is based on Government pronouncements supporting the Paris Climate Agreement.
Working with Labour and Lib Dem councillors as part of a "Rainbow Alliance", Stroud Greens have helped Stroud District Council to become the first Council in Europe to become carbon neutral in that carbon dioxide emissions from its operations have been outweighed by the reduction in emissions from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy installations it has put in place. Green Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the committee, said: “This is a tremendous achievement, which has been delivered through a multi-pronged strategy focused on households, businesses and community buildings, as well as reducing the council’s own operational emissions. We have brought in over £36m investment into county allowing us to create jobs, cut heating bills and, of course, reduce carbon emissions. It’s been a win-win approach to tackling climate change, helping households and stimulating the local economy.
As part of keeping its own house in order, council buildings have seen significant solar panel arrays installed, lighting upgrades, and insulation and air tightness improvements. On top of these has been a programme of behavioural change encouraging staff to become more energy efficient. Village and community halls have also received funding to make them environmentally friendly and businesses across the district have also taken part in initiatives to help them reduce their emissions. However, the greatest contribution by far comes from the council’s work with households: through the Gloucestershire Warm and Well Partnership, advice and support to households on energy efficiency projects saved 2,468.6 tonnes of CO2 (75% of the carbon savings).
Sheffield Green councillor Brian Webster persuaded fellow members of the board of the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority to agree to seek to reduce exposure to fossil fuel in its investment portfolio. The fund agreed to commission a carbon audit of the portfolios every two years. Greens on Sheffield City Council also persuaded the Labour-controlled council to agree to promise never to invest in fossil fuels.
Bristol councillor Martin Fodor’s motion supporting fossil fuel divestment of Avon Pension Fund was voted through Full Council, after being diluted by a Labour amendment (but divestment hasn’t happened yet because Bristol City Council is only one part of Avon Pension Fund).
The three Green councillors on Aintree Parish Council, on Merseyside, got a resolution passed by their parish that told Sefton Borough Council that the parish "wishes to state its clear opposition to fracking and its belief that promotion of and investment in renewable energy sources would bring a safer and more sustainable alternative."
Liverpool Greens managed to get a motion passed in November 2015 by which the city council agreed that the Mayor would write to the fund manager of Merseyside Pension Fund asking for a full and comprehensive review of the £350 million of fossil fuel investments in the fund and what it is doing to address the risks of these investments.
In what could become a pioneering move for councils across the UK, Aberdeenshire Council agreed in March 2016 to give its carbon cutting budget the same status as its financial budget. The proposal, which won unanimous support from all political parties on the council, will ensure both budgets are set at the same full council meeting. It was driven by Green councillor Martin Ford and his independent colleague Paul Johnston.
Greens are working to save City heritage
Green councillors in Sheffield have been working to save the Old Coroner’s Court on Nursery St, an attractive building opposite the Nursery St Pocket Park after a developer gave notice of his intention to demolish it in August 2018 and clear the land to build flats.
The issue has opened up the debate about the protection of what is left of the heritage in the city centre.
The court is an attractive and balanced building that lends a sense of calm to the area – no doubt something that was intended when family of the deceased had to attend the official courtroom of the coroner. However, it is not a listed building. When Green Councillor Douglas Johnson raised his concerns with council officers in the planning department and with heritage campaigners, he found out that the formal powers avalable to the council to protect heritage are very limited. So he then talked directly to the developer about his concerns and discussed the opportunities for a sensitive development of the area. As a result the developer agreed to withdraw his application to demolish the building and to have a fresh look at what could be done with the site.
The work with heritage campaigners has led to Green councillors asking the council to give further protection to the heritage of the Castlegate area, so that the forthcoming development there will preserve the remainder of the historic heart of the city.
Greens are protecting libraries
In July 2018 Reading Green Councillors supporting local resident campaigners, suceeded in challenging Labour's proposed cuts to library services with the result that Palmer Park Library will remain open to the public on Saturdays.
Commenting on Labour's u-turn on cutting weekend opening at Palmer Park library, Green Party councilor Rob White said: "Well done to the library anti-cuts campaigners, especially Dave McElroy – who handed in the over-600 signature petition to save Reading libraries. He spoke well about the importance of libraries.
"Following pressure from the petition which Green Party councillors have been supporting I was pleased to see Labour change their mind and propose not cutting the Saturday morning opening of Palmer Park library. Unfortunately, the other cuts to libraries, which Greens oppose, remain – a reduction of almost 10 hours at Central, cutting evening opening at Palmer Park and shaving off a few hours at each of the other libraries. It was therefore a bittersweet evening, but we will keep working to prevent further cuts to libraries and build the hours back up."
In 2016 Green councillors on Brighton and Hove council succeeded in persuading other opposition councillors to vote with them to block the Labour administration's plan to close and sell Hove’s Carnegie library, by identifying flaws and exaggerations in the financial plan. Since then, the council has reversed its decision to close the library.
In November 2014, Green Camden Councillor Sian Berry's motion for an emergency community fund to support community organisations, including libraries and community centres was supported by all Camden Councillors, and a £1 million fund was introduced into new budget proposals.
Tom Leimdorfer, sole Green in North Somerset unitary council, chaired the working group to save Congresbury Library in his village. A pioneering partnership model was developed which allowed the Council to save on staffing, but kept the library going and even extended the service with special activities. Now (December 2016) the Council needs to make further cuts, but the involvement of the Parish Council and volunteers will enable the Council to keep the library fully open but transfer management to the Parish Council.
In October 2015 Lambeth's Labour cabinet agreed to close five libraries in the borough, including the famous Carnegie library in Herne Hill, gifting three to a private gym company. After Greens began a campaign with residents and staff to save them, three of the five have been given a reprieve and as of December 2016 a high profile fight continues over the two that they have closed.
Rainbow Alliance - changing the culture
Stroud Greens entered a five-year power sharing deal with Labour on their District Council between 2011 and 2016. This was renewed after 2016 elections. One of the conditions of the deal was to move to a committee system with key decision-making meetings to be in the evening. After the five years, the council's annual independent survey revealed the highest ever resident and business approval rating of the council services since records began 14 years ago. Stroud Greens have encouraged Conservative ("opposition") councillors into cross-party meetings with officers to discuss difficult decisions, ending previous habits of closed-door decisions by a single-party cabal followed by confrontational "show" meetings.
Stroud Green councillors played a key role in ensuring the district was the first in Gloucestershire to complete its "local plan", which means it has some protection from speculative green field developments. The plan "has Green policies that are as strong as we could make them to comply with NPPF and get through an enquiry, including promoting renewable energy, self-build, and innovative ways to protect important habitats."
Recycling and promoting the circular economy
Green councillors in Exeter gained unanimous support for a motion pledging Exeter City Council to become a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018.
According to recent research, eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans each year, endangering marine life and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will exceed that of fish. There is also a growing understanding of the risks posed to human health by toxic chemicals present in plastics.
Councillors agreed to make Exeter City Council a ‘single-use plastic-free’ authority by the end of 2018, including an end to the purchase and procurement of SUPs through the ECC supply chain and ending the sale and provision of SUP products, such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws, in council buildings. The Council will also investigate the possibility of requiring pop - up food and drink vendors at council events to avoid SUPs as a condition of their contract.
The motion, proposed by Green Councillor Chris Musgrave, also commits the Council to work with tenants and operators in commercial properties owned by Exeter City Council to support the phasing out of SUP cups, bottles, cutlery and straws and re-usable and affordable food containers are available for sale in public markets and to work with festivals organisers to create policy in which single-use ‘disposable’ plastic cups are replaced at all city festivals with reusable or deposit scheme cups. The aim is that ultimately this will become a condition for obtaining a licence for large scale events.
Cllr Musgrave said: “Councils can play an important part in the fight against the eight million tonnes of plastic waste that end up in the world’s oceans each year. Exeter does well at recycling some plastics through its Materials and Reclamation Facility operation, but much plastic doesn’t get recycled, is totally unnecessary and hugely damaging to our environment. This motion gained cross-party support. We can now make Exeter single-use plastic free. We must do all we can to prevent our children inheriting a world where the weight of plastic in the oceans exceeds that of fish.”
In 2016 Stroud Greens were instrumental in introducing a new food waste recycling scheme for households. In the first two weeks, 60 per cent more food waste than expected was collected. The waste food goes to an anaerobic digester (below) which turns it into methane for use in the national gas main while and the digestate is used for fertilizer on farmland.
In September 2016 Liverpool Green councillors won full council approval for their motion calling on the Mayor and council to develop a strategy to move from a linear economy (take, make and dispose) to a circular one. A circular economy is one that 1. Maximises the use of resources. 2. Minimises waste and pollution. 3. Encourages the production of longer lasting products 4. Uses renewable forms of energy production
Green councillors are a catalyst for changing minds and seeding ideas
In September 2015 Bristol Green councillor Carla Denyer emailed all councillors in the city to say she had put a box of white poppies out for sale in the council offices. Her move gained extra attention when one Conservative councillor hit reply-all and said she should withdraw them. She refused.
Firsts - Green solutions are cheaper and better for people
Glastonbury Greens managed to implement what is thought to be the country's first ban on chemical herbicides (for use on council owned areas). They introduced Foamstream, an eco-friendly herbicide as a replacement. You can see a video about it here
Thanks to seven years of effort by Green Gloucestershire County Councillor Sarah Lunnon, (below) Stroud District is running the first catchment-wide natural flood prevention scheme in the country. The scheme uses tree trunks to dam streams instead of expensive engineered concrete embankments. Sarah worked with residents, gaining political support and negotiating with government agencies to achieve what is now recognised as a pilot project for whole country in how to
construct and deploy such measures (also known as Rural Sustainable Drainage).
Under the Green/Labour coalition running Stroud it became the first carbon neutral council. The CO2 saved by investments in renewables is greater than the total emissions from the District Council – thought to be a World first.
Ending the use of toxic herbicide
In Brighton and Hove, Greens obtained an agreement with the ruling Labour council to end the use of Glyphosate – the weedkiller thought to cause cancer.
Edinburgh Greens have called for alternatives to the use of glyphosate by the city.
The three Green councillors on Lewes District council have persuaded the council to trial a pesticide free alternative and are running a campaign to push for a ban.
Cutting car dependency
Mid Suffolk District councilllor Rachel Eburne battled for six years to get super fast broadband for residents of her Suffolk village Haughley Green where many residents had internet services equivalent to dial up. The move importantly reduces car dependency for residents of villages by allowing them to work and shop from home.
Edinburgh Greens consistently backed schemes which improve walking and cycling in the city - and developed the first "towpath code" for the Union Canal.
Standing up for residents against the developer's bulldozers
Lambeth Greens joined residents of a sheltered housing block campaigning against the Labour-led council's plan to demolish it and sell the site to developers. As a result of the actions in Green councillor Scott Ainslie's ward, Labour shelved demolition plans for that block and other sheltered units in the borough.
The success of Lambeth Greens' sheltered housing campaign led to residents of other council-owned housing estates facing the bulldozer asking for Lambeth Green Party's help. Cllr Ainslie forced the council to publicly scrutinise its decision to demolish Cressingham Gardens - a large estate in Lambeth. This bought the residents time to build a legal case to seek and win a judicial review. Residents have overwhelmingly voted for a retro-fitted refurb and to stay in their homes. Labour, who nearly lost an important by-election to the Greens, appear to have backtracked on demolition plans.
Safer streets for people
York Greens secured the first 'trial' 20mph residential street in York that ultimately led to a citywide scheme. They also secured a 20mph limit outside two local schools in spite of it being on a trunk road.
Stroud Greens have implemented area-wide 20mph limits across much of the town and further afield as well as introducing innovative traffic calming measures. In the London Borough of Lambeth, the Labour-led council introduced a borough-wide 20mph limit after years of Green campaining.
Norwich Greens got scrutiny sommittee to take an “access walk” through the City Centre, highlighting barriers for disabled people. In November 2016 a motion was passed unanimously agreeing to create an Access Charter for Norwich, involving disabled people early in the design stages of street-scene changes.
Greens in Lambeth managed to get a notoriously dangerous and busy junction close to a school made safer and a three year campaign. A new cycle lane, cycle mirrors, better pedestrian crossing were all introduced. Green activist Christine Holt is a leading light in the "Safer A23" campaign and has brought a long-awaited pedestrian crossing at another notorious junction on that road in the borough a step closer.
In Islington lone Green councillor Caroline Russell has worked hard on making streets safer in her ward, getting new zebra crossings installed and resurfacing local paths. Katie Dawson, Caroline's predecessor Green councillor from 2006- 2010 was able to win over the council to bring in borough-wide 20mph speed limits, the first in London.
Putting green space and public access above developer profit
Vicky Pearson, parish councillor in Lincolnshire has been put in charge of a four year development plan for council-owned green spaces in the four villages the council covers. Subject to public consultation, she aims to include an open-water collection area with hand pumps for allotment holders, a sensory garden with wind and water wheels, a community orchard and an intensively farmed field being turned into horse grazing to generate more income for the council.
Before he was elected a councillor, Paul Woodhead at Cannock Chase Green Party launched a petition which gained over 11,000 signatures to stop the council selling off green spaces. This forced a debate at Full Council which resulted in a unanimous decision not to sell. Several community groups are now involved in the shaping of green spaces in their localities.
In the town of Frome, Somerset, Mendip District Council wanted to sell off an island of green space with a school on one side and houses on the other three. The three Green councillors led by Shane Collins persuaded the council to change its mind, instead leasing it back to the community for kids to play and parents to meet after school.
In Birkenhead, a Green Party campaign supported by Councillor Pat Cleary successfully defeated new road building plans in historic Hamilton Square.
Other Green campaigns in Birkenhead have blocked plans to close public rights of way and build a new drive through fast food restaurant in the town.
York Greens led a community campaign that saved a popular riverbank area from being fenced off for private yacht moorings
Green councillors in York saved two community buildings for continued community use when threatened with closure (Melbourne Centre and Clements Hall).
Greens prevented the planned installation of ticket barriers at York train station which would have closed off a public walkway.
York Greens organised a summer community fair to promote volunteering in the local area
Lancaster City Council created its first new allotment site for many years following a Green Party initiative. Cinder Lane allotments opened in 2014.
Working with local residents, Lambeth Green councillor Scott Ainslie managed to secure one of two potential sites belonging to Network rail to create a community garden. The residents in winter 2016 were setting up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and looking to secure some seed funding to launch in spring 2017.
Wildflower Stepping Stones
Lewes Green councillors set up a group with the aim of creating wildflower stepping stones across the town linking it to the rare chalk grassland downland that it is nestled in. Local people have nominated patches that they would like to see filled with wildflowers. The District Council has agreed to include some of these in their estates management contract for next year.
Stroud Greens introduced a policy of sowing wildflowers on grass verges to create habitat for bees, which created an attractive entrance to Stroud on all major roads and cut the cost of verge maintenance.
Saving money with clean renewable investments
In 2014 the Sheffield Greens proposed a fully costed scheme to install solar panels on council housing which would have created 250 jobs in the solar sector. The Labour-controlled council voted it down but then in 2015 introduced their own smaller scheme – without the 250 jobs - a year later. But no solar panels had been installed more than a year later.
Lancaster Greens negotiated for solar panels on council buildings which generates £55k a year.
Green Lancaster City cabinet member for climate change Cllr Tim Hamilton-Cox has also set in motion plans for a wildlife-friendly solar farm at Middleton that could net the Council £4m profit over 20 years.
In Norwich, Green councillors involved residents in a planning application for an industrial scale biomass plant, exposed the dubious claims and helped generate a public outcry that helped stop the annual burning of 25,000 tons of straw close to the city centre. They then proposed a solar alternative for the site and have helped develop Norwich Community Solar, now in the process of registering as a co-op with 3 potential sites hoping to install.
Norfolk Green county councillors proposed that as part of the major refurbishment of County Hall renewable energy should be included. As a result of a question in 2011, in 2015 the council installed 225 Solar panels on the south wing roof of county hall, generating electricity and reducing the Council’s energy bills.
Better bus services
Buses in Sheffield now run on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, thanks to the minority Greens.
Green councillors in York set up a grassroots non-party political campaign to defend local bus services against cuts.
Lancaster Greens successfully campaigned with residents’ groups to keep evening and weekend buses to the Marsh and Ridge estates.
Support for community policing
Faced with cuts in full time police officer numbers, the minority group of Sheffield Green councillors proposed a budget for 10 extra Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Labour’s police commissioner has since then agreed to protect PCSO numbers.
Standing up for fairness for residents
Labour controlled Sheffield proposed a big council tax rise for the for the 30,000 lowest-income families in the city. Greens insisted the council should first end subsidies for people owning empty homes. The Greens demands for more help for poorer families were finally granted by the Labour council in 2015.
After two trips to Whitehall to speak to both the House of Lords and House of Commons committees over the HS2 rail line going through his Solihull ward, Chris Williams (pictured above) defeated Department for Transport barristers who said no extra noise protection was needed. The hearing found Chris was right and four metre high noise barriers will now be provided along the line in Chelmsley Wood.
In Reading, Green councillors won approval for their Living Wage motion which meant Reading won accreditation as a Living Wage town. The Green councillors are maintaining pressure for new council contracts to pay a Living Wage. Lewes Greens did the same. Worcester and Lancaster Greens helped introduce a Living Wage for all council employees.
Green councillors argued successfully that Lancaster City Council continues to offer council tax support, keeping a burden from the district's poorest residents.
Norwich Green councillors have helped several residents get their housing benefits re-instated after administrative errors arising from changes in circumstances.
Lambeth Green Party activists backed their Green councillor Scott Ainslie (pictured) in April 2015 in occupying a property in the borough where the council tenant was threatened with eviction to make way for a sale to private developers. Shortly after, the harassing eviction notices from the council ceased and as of December 2016 the tenant is still there.
Looking after the vulnerable
Bristol's Mayor announced 25 more beds for the homeless of the city, the week after a Green Party motion and lobbying from Green councillor Ani Stafford-Townsend.
Bristol Greens proposed the ‘social care precept’ in February 2015 and it was successfully voted through Budget Council meeting, raising £3.5million for the people with the greatest need
Bristol Green councillors in May 2016 successfully lobbied the Labour Mayor to include tackling inequality and climate change as their condition for supporting a proposed "devolution" deal which would create a new West of England authority made up of Bristol and two surrounding local authorities. They also have concerns about lack of public involvement.
Edinburgh Greens forced the city council to adopt a "no evictions" policy for tenants affected by the bedroom tax.
In Solihull, which has one of the highest rates of homelessness in England, Cllr Chris Williams secured better temporary accommodation for homeless families, who used to be kept in dilapidated B&Bs. Now, no one stays in a B&B and all have a decent home while their homelessness case is assessed and permanent accommodation is found. As a result of his efforts, the Council is now pursuing the Gold Standard for homelessness.
Victory for ethical advertising policy - January 2014: Camden Council confirmed in a reply to a written question by Green councillor Sian Berry that they will introduce an ethical policy for new advertising spaces aimed at raising money for the council. Payday loan companies will be prohibited from advertising on council sites, among other restrictions
In November 2016 Lambeth Council finally bowed to pressure from the Green Party to stop sending bailiffs to the poorest families in the borough who had fallen into arrears on council tax payments. As a result, collection rates increased from 80% to 93% and court and bailiff costs have been saved. Green councillor Scott Ainslie first raised the issue with the council in January 2015.
In Islington, Green councillor Caroline Russell successfully fought for full time contracts for council staff languishing on seasonal agency contracts with no sick pay or holiday pay
Lewes councillor Johnny Denis suggested to the District Council in 2014 that they should set up an asset management company owned by the council but a separate legal entity. This allows the council to build and manage homes for affordable and social rents that are not subject to right-to-buy, nor highest value asset sell-off. In winter 2016 the council is voting to set up such a company.
Fighting unsustainable Developments
Our sole Green on North Somerset Council managed to get the Council to refuse one large unsustainable housing estate on green field land in his ward. The developer's appeal was dismissed on grounds of sustainability and damage to the environment. Cllr Tom Leimdorfer also managed to get another scheme reduced from 54 to 38 dwellings and part of the land may be managed by the local Wildlife Action Group to enhance local wildlife.
Tackling Fuel Poverty
Reading's Green councillors in 2016 won agreement from the council to investigate whether to implement a collective energy switching scheme which would see the council partner with an energy company and offer householders cheaper bills if they switched. Similar schemes elsewhere have been shown to reach people who have never switched before, saving fuel bills for the poorest.
In November 2016 Bristol Green councillors won unanimous support for proposal for a Clean Air Zone covering a part of the city known to exceed safe pollution levels. The motion also called for a Clean Air Zone for the whole city once legislation enabled it. In the meantime the city council agreed to work with bus and taxi companies to cut emissions city-wide and to promote electric cars and car sharing.
Bristol Green councillors joined residents campaigning against a proposed polluting biodiesel generator in a city centre site (Lawrence Hill). In September 2016 permission was refused.
Green councillors in January 2016 helped obtain over £400,000 funding to clean up 24 of Norwich’s dirtiest diesel buses. This followed a sustained campaign by Norwich Green Party councillors to improve air pollution levels in the city.
Air pollution monitors were switched back on in the London borough of Lambeth after Greens there, including our the sole Green councillor, exposed the fact that the Labour-led Council came off the London Air Quality programme. The Greens got the council to approve a Green motion to make exhaust emissions from hybrid-buses compliant with the latest European standards. They also won funding for new air pollution monitors in the borough.
In Islington, lone Green councillor Caroline Russell and fellow campaigners have placed pollution minotiring tubes in the borough, exposing the fact that the air near nearly all schools in the borough is polluted well above legal EU limits.
Boosting the local economy over interests of big business
Stroud Green councillor Simon Pickering in 2016 steered the creation of a one-off £100k investment fund to increase local food production through the relevant council committee, overcoming initial opposition from some Conservative and Labour councillors. Simon said: "Now we are well on the way to helping 18 small businesses and organisations to increase local food production, creating 45 jobs, over 200 volunteering opportunities and directly or indirectly safeguarding a further 600 jobs. This will bring a further six acres land into food production." One grant is being used to develop a new local food brand “Cotswold Choice”.
The five Edinburgh Green city councillors championed a Green "City Region Deal" for a future city economy which is low carbon, sustainable and backs local business.
Lancaster Green councillors were instrumental in keeping open the outdoor market in the centre of town.
Concerned by the lack of independent greengrocers and a source of fresh vegetables, Edinburgh Greens led the way on setting up the city's first community-owned greengrocer, Dig-In in Bruntsfield
Edinburgh Greens also proposed and consistently backed an energy services company (ESCO).
Norwich Greens got Norwich City Council to adopt Sexual Entertainment Venue regulations in 2014. In 2016 they are trying to get the council to implement its own regulations to prevent the spread of lap-dancing clubs.
Soon after Lesley Grahame was elected Norwich City councillor in 2010 she received a voicemail asking her to re-open a sports hall that the council had closed with a view to selling as development land. She campaigned to get the hall re-opened by a community group. It's up and running since 2012 and in December 2016 was about to sign a 20 year lease, which will give it access to large funding streams to enable its vision of going solar and increasing its offer disabled sportspeople.
Democracy and transparency
Worcester Green Cllrs Louis Stephen and Neil Laurenson teamed up with Conservative councillors in November 2016 to scrap the cabinet system and bring in a more democratic committee system. Greens hold the balance of power between 17 Conservative and 16 Labour councillors. The choice was essentially to leave Labour running the cabinet as a minority, have the committee system or have an all-party cabinet, which was Labour's proposal.
Edinburgh's five Greens have also persuaded the council to devolve decisions on local council spending to local communities - known as participatory budgeting - where local people decide who gets the money: in Leith, in South West Edinburgh, in Inverleith and in South Central neighbourhoods.
Edinburgh Greens opened up the council by calling for the introduction of webcasting of council meetings and chairing a committee that receives petitions from the public.
Norwich City and Norfolk County Green councillors successfully lobbied for the Greater Norwich Development Partnership to hold its board meetings in public.
In 2014, Norfolk's four Green county councillors, by holding the balance of power between Conservative, Labour and UKIP, won agreement to scrap the county council's cabinet system (which allowed ten councillors of one party to make all the decisions) and replaced it with a cross-party committee system.
Cllr Paul Woodhead of Cannock Chase District Council successfully lifted the lid in autumn 2016 on a secret decision by his Labour-led council to try to privatise burials and cremations. After protests to the council solicitor, he managed to get confidentiality lifted on the council's discussions on this public matter so that the public became aware.
Community right to build
Stroud Greens, who co-administer the council, won the first 'Community Right to Build' order in the country was recently approved for the town of Nailsworth, allowing a local Community land Trust to build 10 new affordable houses for rent which will not be subject to right to buy .
Worcester's two Greens devised a city plan with the other parties which highlights the need to enhance the City’s biodiversity and to source renewable energy. A biodiversity working group has been formed. They also secured a ban on the use of snares, which cause unneccessary pain to animals, on Council-owned land.
Supporting and protecting kids
Edinburgh Greens championed a “Playing Out” project to allow street play for children
They also proposed extra investment for school repairs and improvements and first called for inquiry into the public/private schools building scandal.
Edinburgh Greens exposed the scandal of horsemeat in school food and pushed for higher quality school food, using local, healthy and organic produce.
In January 2016, thanks to a motion from Green councillors, Liverpool became the second city in the UK (after Bristol) to adopt One Tree Per Child policy which encourages every child in the city to plant at least a single tree. The motion also pledged the council to finding continuing support for Forest Schools and outdoor education in the city.
Saving children's centres for the community
David Williams, a Green councillor on Oxfordshire County Council won council agreement not to charge rent to community organisations that are having to take over children's centres as council funding is withdrawn.
Compassion for refugees
Green Party Councillors drafted a successful motion that Stroud District should welcome and prepare for its share of refugees, working with communities and organisations to ensure a welcome (through fundraising and other practical support) that is truly a community undertaking. As of December 2016 three of the five families expected to arrive in Stroud are already here and settled in.
Three Syrian refugee families are settling into new homes in Hertfordshire a year after Green councillor Simon Grover jolted St Albans council into doing something. The three familes are living in housing that was offered to the Council by a housing association and are being supported by the Refugee Council, amongst others. They have come direct from Syrian camps and were identified by the UN as being in particular need. His initiative was inspired by an earlier move by Green councillors in Malvern Hills.
Greens on Lewes Town Council (they have half the seats) implemented a "Lewes Welcomes Refugees" policy.
Promoting tolerance and understanding
Lone Green Islington councillor Caroline Russell pushed the council to make the teaching of LBGT History year-round, rather than confined to a solitary month.
She also encouraged the council to spread the use of anonymous CVs by Islington employers, to try to reduce the systemic barriers that can keep ethnic minorities and women out of work
When Islington schools were publicly criticised for an over-draconian approach to implementing the Prevent Terrorism strategy, Caroline moved the council and Islington schools to revise their approach, encouraging a community-led approach to tackling extremism.
Adopting a canal
Town Councillor Janet Alty has arranged for her town, Royal Leamington Spa. to adopt a 3km legnth of the canal.
Promoting community art
Working with a local mural artist Leamington town councillor Janet Alty helped him to make arrangements with four local companies who were willing to have mural art painted by a large team of artists from all over UK.
Greens on Lancaster City Council have worked hard to ensure continued funding for voluntary and arts organisations, including a new £11k small grants pot.
Installing a BMX track
Working with a local champion BMX cyclist, Leamington councillor Janet Alty arranged for him to work with Warwick District Council Officers to install a BMX track in a local park.
Greens believe in putting the community first and decisions being made at the closest possible level to where they are carried out. Many Green town and parish councillors are heavily involved in helping draw up neighbourhood plans for their communities. Janet Alty was elected Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee for Leamington Town Council, Eflrede Brambley-Crawshaw is chairing the Neighbourhood Plan committee on Beccles Town Council, Suffolk. Eamonn O'Nolan did chair the equivalent committee on Woodbridge Town Council, Suffolk, until the Conservative-controlled council scrapped the plan while he was on holiday.
Bringing empty homes back into use
In 2015, Sheffield Greens proposed a detailed plan which would more bring empty and abandoned houses back into use as rented homes and increase council revenue. These plans have now been adopted by Labour, as have Greens’ calls for more resources to enforce private rented standards of housing.
Edinburgh Greens secured commitment from the council for a dedicated Empty Homes Officer for city.
York Greens helped to establish a network of volunteer Snow wardens across the city.
Protecting community pubs
National legislation changed thanks to Norwich Greens: following a Green motion to council in 2013, the council submitted a proposal under the Sustainable Communities Act to protect local pubs from change of use, with support from 20 other local authorities. This proposal was accepted and introduced via changes to the Community Right to Bid in early 2015
Paul Martin, Green parish councillor for a village called Wales in the principle authority area of Rotherham, suggested in 2013 that his parish finance some sports coaching for youngsters. A week-long sports camp that year extended to two weeks in 2014. In 2016 the parish signed a contract with sports fund raising charity Active Regen and now puts on five weeks of sports camps for between 50 and 70 children each week, along with ongoing weekly low-intensity sporting activities for elderly members of our community. Said Paul: "I would never have believed we could deliver all this when I first made this suggestion three years ago."
Support for dementia
Green councillors in Lewes won unanimous backing for the town to become "dementia friendly"
There are bi-monthly Dementia Friends sessions open to the public run by two Green councillors, who are also providing dementia information sessions to various groups and clubs in the town.
Five Town Councillors including the current Mayor are now Dementia Friends plus two council officers.
In March 2016 the then Green Mayor Susan Murray hosted a reception for Dementia Friendly Lewes which brought together many interested parties.
Click here for Green councillor achievements across the country - pdf version see also below
Click here for the achievements of Brighton and Hove's Green administration pdf version
Click here for Achievements 2012-2014
The Association of Green Councillors RSS Feed
Back to main page