Norwich Green Party Local Election Manifesto for 2019

 

All Norwich City Council seats are up for election on Thursday 2nd May. In Norwich, Greens are aiming to form a strong opposition on the Labour-controlled council.

Supporting the Green Party in local elections makes a big difference. We've been at the forefront of efforts to address the gross social and environmental injustices which lie at the heart of our current economic system.

We listen to residents and work with them to find solutions to their concerns.   

Over this coming year, Norwich Green Party will prioritise:

  • Cutting carbon emissions with ongoing campaigns on clean air and ending single use plastics both of which are linked to use of fossil fuels
  • Affordable housing, with the requirement for developers to pay their fair share.
  • A first class public transport system for Norwich to include electric buses.
  • People feeling safe in their communities.

A Healthy City Fit for the Future

Economic growth policies pursued by all the main parties have resulted in a world facing climate breakdown and mass extinction. The United Nations has warned of the need to cut carbon emissions by 2030 or face climate breakdown.

Green councillors in Norwich have long pressed for strong action on climate change. We successfully lobbied for high energy efficiency standards for new council homes (passive housing), solar panels on City Hall and a ban on idling engines in the city centre. We have persuaded the council to introduce Car Free Day each September. We continue to campaign for clean air. We also continue to highlight the harm caused by single use plastics, with regular plastic clean-up events along the River Wensum. 

Earlier this year Green councillors asked the City Council to declare a climate emergency and work towards a carbon neutral city by 2030. However, the    Council refused and adopted 2050 as the target date for carbon neutrality,   which is far too late. We will carry on making the case for radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

We want Norwich to: 

  • Contribute a fair share of emissions cuts in line with Paris climate goals.
  • Withdraw its share of Pension Fund investments from fossil fuels.
  • Build new developments to zero carbon standards and fit renewable energy measures.
  • Invest in public transport, walking and cycling and not in major new road building.
  • Transform the diesel bus and taxi fleet to electric, trialling ‘traffic exclusion zones’ around schools at peak times and installing more electric charging points to improve air quality.
  • Cool the city by planting more trees, shrubs and grass, with less hard surfacing.
  • Protect green spaces like play areas, parks, sports fields and river valleys
  • Make more space for nature.   
  • Stop using single use plastics.
  • Stop using toxic chemicals in places where children play and nature thrives.

A City to Live In

Norwich City Council has let major developers off the hook when it comes to contributing to affordable housing. People who rent privately have a right to safe, good-quality living conditions and should be protected from indifferent landlords.  Greens have campaigned for sympathetic redevelopment of brownfield sites such as Anglia Square in keeping with the city's character and local housing needs.

We want Norwich to:

  • Ensure that developers pay their fair share towards affordable housing; for example set up an expert in-house team, shared by other local councils, to negotiate affordable housing with developers.
  • Introduce compulsory landlord licensing for private shared houses.
  • Work with residents, students and universities to develop a student housing strategy which sets out where new, affordable student accommodation and associated infrastructure should go, if needed.
  • Link homeless people with residents who have a spare room to rent at housing benefit rates.
  • House homeless people with complex needs and support them within that context, rather than requiring them to seek treatment first.
  • Protect the city's historic heritage from unsuitable development.

 

A City to Thrive In

The closure of the Colman’s factory shows the folly of depending on multinationals. Far more important is a strong and varied local economy.  Supporting small businesses creates jobs and makes the Norwich economy more resilient. Much more must be done to improve the life chances for young people.

We want Norwich to:

  • Offer start-up companies free short-term office space in underused council buildings.
  • Put solar panels on all council homes and buildings to reduce energy use and create jobs.
  • Retain jobs in the city centre rather than facilitate re-location of employment to green field sites.
  • Work towards zero waste through reduce, re-use and recycle. Create a repair hub.
  • Work with schools and other youth organisations to raise awareness of work and career opportunities which are open to them and offer one to one mentoring where support is required.

  

A City to Travel Around In

Most journeys are short and are often made by car. For many years, Green councillors have  advocated the need for high quality, frequent and affordable public transport and safe streets with less traffic that make the city a pleasant place to walk, cycle and spend time in.

We want Norwich to:

  • Use imaginative ways to reduce traffic levels across Norwich overall rather than simply shift traffic from the city centre to new roads on the outskirts.
  • Promote a high quality, reliable, affordable public transport network for greater Norwich.
  • Strengthen local rail services and lobby for new rail halts on the outskirts of Norwich.  
  • Involve disabled people in designing city centre transport changes (Access Charter).
  • Improve road safety by extending 20mph areas, especially around schools and in residential areas. 

A City to Feel Safe In

Being safe in our communities is crucial for our health and well-being.

We want Norwich to:

  • Prioritise putting secure entry systems on council-owned blocks of flats.
  • Introduce 24hr CCTV monitored coverage in areas of the city blighted by persistent anti-social and criminal behaviour, where residents have asked for it to be installed.
  • Seek to introduce a levy on bars and clubs so they pay their fair share of the extra cost of policing.
  • Argue for more enlightened approaches to tackling drugs, such as de-criminalisation.

 

A City to Participate In

Democracy is in a bad state locally and nationally. Green councillors listen to what local people are saying and help them to help themselves. We want to empower communities and trust residents with the power to transform their lives and the places they love.

We want Norwich to:

  • Enable people to take action in their communities and not let the Council pay lip service to its 'help local people to help themselves' mantra. For example, a community group has offered to run Heigham Park grass tennis courts for free. This would enable Council money to be spent  on refurbishing children's informal sports areas at Ely Street and West End Street.
  • Ensure residents can participate in decisions that affect their communities
  • Campaign to protect EU citizens' rights, including the right to vote in local elections.
  • Campaign to be a pilot area for reducing the voting age to 16.

  

A City with Enhanced Public Services

Fair funding and new sources of funding for local government are needed to protect public services. Under the current local government finance system which has operated since the 1980s, people living on moderate incomes in smaller properties subsidise the wealthiest, including developers.   

We want Norwich to:

  1. Lobby national government to replace council tax and business rates with a new land value tax or 'developers’ duty', to ensure the wealthiest pay their fair share.
  2. Campaign for new sources of funding such as an overnight visitor levy which can contribute to the city's upkeep and introduce advice charges for businesses applying for licenses to sell alcohol such as pubs and nightclubs.
  3. Invest in renewable energy projects which bring social, environmental and economic returns and not in commercial property outside Norfolk.