Tag Archives: Green Party

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Green Party slams Conservative migration target

8 May 2017

The Green Party has condemned the alleged Conservative Party manifesto pledge to cut net migration to tens of thousands [1].

Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, said:

“The Tories have repeatedly failed to reach this target since it was first in their manifesto in 2010 but in the process have split up families and encouraged hostility towards migrants.

“It’s time the Conservative Party stopped trying to pin the blame for unemployment, the housing shortage and NHS overcrowding on migrants and acknowledged the abject failure of its own policies, cuts and severe underinvestment.”

Notes:

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39840503

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Green Party makes formal complaint to BBC over local elections coverage

8 May 2017

*Letter accuses BBC of breaching its fair coverage guidelines

*Greens won 40 seats while UKIP won just 1

*Co-leader Jonathan Bartley: “It’s time the BBC recognised the widespread support for our positive vision for Britain”

The Green Party has today (May 7) sent the BBC a letter of complaint over the broadcaster’s coverage of the May 4 local elections results.

The BBC’s guidelines [1] state the Green Party should receive coverage “proportionate to the larger parties” and “more than those parties with less evidence of past or current electoral support or fewer candidates”.

The Greens fielded a record number of candidates in this round of local elections, overtaking UKIP, [2] and 40 Green councillors were elected, compared to UKIP’s one. However, with the exception of a few items, most of the BBC’s coverage failed to report the Green Party’s results, while giving disproportionate coverage to UKIP.

Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader, said:

“It’s time the BBC recognised the strength of the Green movement and the widespread support for our positive vision for Britain as a confident and caring country. When people see what we stand for, they vote Green.

“While UKIP makes cheap attempts to win headlines with blatantly Islamophobic policies [3], Greens are out making a difference to their local communities and this contrast was made clear in Friday’s election results. The Green Party is making gains across the country – from the Orkney Islands to the Isle of Wight – and it’s only fair we’re given proportionate coverage by our national broadcaster.”

Notes:

  1. http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/editorialguidelines/pdfs/2017localelectionguidelines.pdf
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ukip-overtaken-by-greens-in-english-council-seats-contested-big-drop_uk_58e68cb2e4b0773c0d3f1e26
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ukip-muslim-face-veil_uk_58fdfd2ae4b018a9ce5cdd3b

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Green Party promises “walking and cycling revolution”

6 May 2017

The Green Party has pledged to invest £2bn in renovating and creating safe cycling and walking routes. The funding will be drawn from a cancellation of the Government’s new roads programme which was expected to cost £1.2bn and from environmental taxes which will be used to fight climate change.  

The party argues that Government’s walking and cycling investment strategy [1] does not go far enough. The Greens would make a proper commitment to enabling walking and cycling, while redesigning dangerous junctions and roundabouts.

The party’s announcement, its second major announcement on environmental legislation, comes after a plan for cleaning up Britain’s air [2] was launched yesterday (May 5).

Amelia Womack, Green Party deputy leader, announced the policy at an event in Totnes today, where she also launched the South Devon Green Party’s election campaign.

Womack said:

“While the Government dithers around with half measures and evasion, the Green Party is promising to invest in the solutions we know will clean up our air. We want a walking and cycling revolution to replace the diesel fuelled congestion that’s choking Britain.

“The air quality crisis in the UK is now a public health emergency, costing the NHS billions of pounds. But the Green Party has clear policy solutions which will transform our transport system to take us away from diesel, make polluting companies pay, and rapidly roll out renewables.

“It’s a time to be bold and hopeful – yesterday in the local elections we saw the absolute collapse of UKIP while the Green Party won seats up and down the country. People are ready for something new and only the Greens will build the confident and caring country we need to be.”

The party’s general election candidates are Kathryn Driscoll, Andy Williamson, Win Scutt and Jacqi Hodgson, who was also elected as a councillor in yesterday’s local elections.

Notes:

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-investment-strategy
  2. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/2017/05/05/greens-release-air-pollution-challenge-as-government-unveils-plan/

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Air pollution announcement: Caroline Lucas full speech

5 May 2017

* Greens reveal ten-point checklist for Government’s air pollution plan

* Caroline Lucas: “We must have a new Clean Air Act to protect the health of future generations”

The Green Party has today (May 5) unveiled an ‘air pollution challenge’ as the Government is due to release their own plans to tackle the high levels of toxins in the air.

Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, was in Bristol highlighting what she calls a ‘catastrophic failure’ by a Government ‘trying its best to shirk its responsibilities on air pollution’.

Notes: 

1. Caroline Lucas’ full speech (check against delivery):

Good morning everyone. Thank you for coming down here this morning to talk about the air pollution crisis.

After seven years battling environmental lawyers in the courts, the Government has now been forced to publish a plan to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in towns and cities across the UK.

The facts around dirty air are widely known, but worth repeating.

Each year in the UK, around 40,000 early deaths are attributable to air pollution.

It affects us all – but its impacts are not felt evenly.

You’re more likely to suffer if you’re young or old. If you live in poverty. If you’re not white. And people who are already ill suffer disproportionately.

This is a national public health crisis.

The air quality plan – expected today, and due by Tuesday at the latest – comes after a totally shambolic week for Ministers.

First they tried to delay its publication, claiming that to do so would unfairly influence local and national elections.

That last ditch attempt at inaction was rightly rejected.

In a strongly worded judgment, the High Court noted that Ministers had plenty of time to act, having known about the deadline for over six months.

Less than a week later, and the day before people across the country went to the polls in local elections, the details of the Air Quality Plan were leaked to The Telegraph by the Conservative party.

So much for election rules.

As we wait for the Government’s long overdue policy to be released, the Green Party has today release a ten-point checklist for what a serious plan would include.

First and foremost, it must announce a new Clean Air Act – enshrining the right to breathe clean air into UK statute – protecting the health of future generations forever. 

It must strengthen and expand the network of Clean Air Zones – including here in Bristol. 

It must overhaul our transport policy – investing in walking, cycling, and clean, public transport. 

To help fund comprehensive action, the plan should also set out how car companies who cheated vehicles emissions testing over many years, will pay for the damage they have caused to our health and the environment.

Despite a 14 billion dollar fine being levied by the United States government on one car company alone – here in the UK, not a single penny has been paid by the car manufacturers who deliberated cheated the system at the expense of people’s lives across the UK.

And whilst the Government – supported by opposition parties – continue to invest in the dirty fuels of the past – credible action on air pollution must include a huge programme of investment in the clean, renewable energy that we have in abundance.

Anything short of wide reaching action on the air pollution emergency is utterly unacceptable. 

If the plan is as weak as expected, it will condemn thousands of children and families to continue to suffer the deadly effects of this preventable crisis.

The Green Party has the plan – and if we act now, we can create a healthier future for children across the country – and build a more caring, confident country for everyone.

Ends

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Greens release air pollution challenge as Government unveils plan

5 May 2017

*Green plan includes a fine on cheating companies, a new Clean Air Act, and increased air pollution monitoring 

The Green Party today unveilled an ‘air pollution challenge’ ahead of the Government releasing its own plans to tackle the high levels of toxins in the air. Party co-leader, Caroline Lucas, was in Bristol to highlight what she calls a ‘catastrophic failure’ by a Government ‘trying its best to shirk its responsibilities on air pollution’.

Lucas said that any air quality plan which fails her party’s ‘checklist’ isn’t ‘worthy of the name’. She said: 

“Any air quality plan which fails this test isn’t worthy of the name. We’ve seen catastrophic failure on air pollution from a Government trying it’s best to shirk its responsibilities. It’s astonishing that today’s plan had to be dragged out of the Government – as ministers tried their best to use the election as cover for their continuing refusal to take action.

 “The Green Party’s air pollution plan would tackle this emergency – and force car companies to pay their way for the damage they have done to people’s health. Half measures are not good enough when 40,000 premature deaths are linked to air pollution every year – we need bold action now.

 “Through a clean air act we would enshrine the right to breathe in the law – and ensure that Britain becomes a world leader in new technologies which help us clean up our air. The Government must also plough resources into decent public transport – reversing years of underinvestment and skyrocketing fare prices.”

Lucas’ intervention comes after it was revealed that the cost of public transport has skyrocketed in recent years, while motoring has become cheaper. According to the Government the cost of motoring has dropped 20% in the last 26 years, while the cost of travel by train and bus is up over 60%.

Real terms changes in the cost of travel:

Real terms change in cost of transport

Motoring, including the purchase of a vehicle

Bus and coach fares

Rail fares

(1) Between 1980 and 2016

-20%

+64%

+63%

(2) Between 1997 and 2016

-16%

+33%

+23%

(3) Between 2010 and 2016

-10%

+7%

+5%

(4) Between 2015 and 2016

-0.3%

+2%

-1%

 

Lucas will be joined by children at Fairfield School in Bristol to unveil her party’s air pollution plans.   

THE GREEN PARTY’S AIR QUALITY PLAN CHECKLIST

Over the last two years, the Government has lost two UK court cases about its plans to tackle the key pollutant nitrogen dioxide – NO2. As it stands, a total of 37 out of 43 regions of the UK are in breach of legal limits for NO2, and, according to the Royal College of Physicians, air pollution is associated with 40,000 early deaths each year, and the annual costs to the health service and society are more than £20bn.

In November 2016, the High Court ordered the Government to publish a draft new clean air plan to tackle NO2 by 24 April with a final plan by 31 July. The Government attempted to delay the publication of that plan (again) after calling the General Election, citing Purdah rules. That application was rejected by the High Court last week.

The Government will publish its plan today, but leaks suggest it will not go anywhere near as far as it needs to.

Here is what a comprehensive Air Quality Plan should include.

Clean Air Act: It should rapidly introduce a new Clean Air Act to tackle the sources of modern day air pollution that are harming people’s health, enshrine the right to breathe into UK law, and ensure the UK becomes a world leader in the new technologies and industries that will help us clean up our air.

Expand ‘Clean Air Zones’: It should expand and strengthen the network of Clean Air Zones across the country – limiting the most polluting vehicles, including cars, from entering air pollution hot-spots – creating funding for local authorities to invest in walking, cycling and clean public transport. These should be strong enough to ensure legal compliance on NO2 by the end of 2018.

Increase VED: It should increase the first year Vehicle Excise Duty on new diesel vehicles (except vans) by around £800, to reflect the additional cost to society of dirty diesel engines, raising £500m to help fund a targeted diesel scrappage scheme.

Diesel Scrappage: It should introduce a targeted diesel scrappage scheme to take diesel vehicles off the road as soon as possible, and ensure that all those who live within Clean Air Zones can affordably replace polluting diesel vehicles. As well as offering replacement clean vehicles, these schemes should also offer alternatives such as car club membership and rail season tickets.

Note: Despite a $10bn vehicle replacement programme in the United States, VW has only embarked upon an opaque programme of ‘technical fixes’ on its 1.2 million vehicles in the UK . The Greens, working through UK regulators, would ensure that VW and others offer free vehicle replacement or retrofitting – as has happened in the United States.

Fine the Cheats: It should set out a plan for how companies who cheated emissions testing would be fined. Despite a $14.7bn settlement in the US, Volkswagen, for example, has yet to pay any damages in the EU – an equivalent fine in the UK could raise more than £8 billion from VW alone.

Independent Regulation: It should guarantee the independence of the Vehicle Certification Agency – changing the way it is funded ensuring that the car industry doesn’t have a disproportionate influence on its activities.

Monitor Pollution Hotspots: It should ensure there is a comprehensive network of air monitoring stations in pollution hotspots – ensuring that air quality is monitored around hospitals, health clinics, and schools, so that those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution, notably children, the elderly and infirm, are protected. 

Active Transport: It should undertake a national review of transport system with serious investment in buses, trams and trains along with safe routes for walking and cycling. People need an alternative to car use and we must protect our towns, cities and countryside from the pollution and congestion that comes with new roads.

Clean Energy: It should scale-up investment in renewable energy – which, as it stands, is set to drop by 95% over next two years. Harnessing the clean energy that we have in abundance would be a win-win, both for tackling climate change and air pollution.

Ditch Coal: It should should bring forward the coal phaseout date to 2023 at the least, and gradually end the £6bn a year subsidies in the UK to dirty energy. Pollution from the UK’s coal-fired fleet causes roughly 2,900 premature deaths a year.

HOW SHOULD THIS BE FUNDED?

There are no cheap fixes when it comes to cleaning up the air we breathe: the long term solution is to completely change the way we travel to reduce the traffic on our roads. Further, any action we take now will relieve pressure on our health services in the future, and reduce the £20bn cost of dirty air – as calculated by the Royal College of Physicians. As note above, the Air Quality Plan should ensure that car companies who cheated emissions are appropriately fined, and that such levies are used to fund action on air quality. UK regulators – namely, the Competition and Markets Authority, the Vehicle Certification Agency, and the Serious Fraud Office – should force car manufacturers in the UK to replace or retrofit polluting diesel vehicles.

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