Green Party pledges to 'speak up' on environmental issues and reduce inequality

Cambridge Green Party candidates

Cambridge Green Party candidates, from left to right, Jeremy Caddick, Naomi Bennett, Matt Howard and Hannah Charlotte Copley. Credit: Hannah Charlotte - Credit: BEN HATTON

The Cambridge Green Party has launched its manifesto for the upcoming elections, pledging to “speak up” on environmental issues and reduce inequality.

The party does not currently hold any seats on Cambridge City Council or Cambridgeshire County Council, but is fielding a full list of candidates in Cambridge for the May 6 elections.

In its manifesto, the Cambridge Green Party takes aim at the city and county councils – currently run by Labour and the Conservatives respectively – saying they are “recklessly pursuing a model of endless growth”, and that greater action is needed to address climate change.

The group says it would “consider” the climate and ecological “emergencies” in every decision made.

It says their councillors would “campaign” and “lobby” for higher standards for house building and more funding for active travel and public transport.

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They would also “put pressure” on major employers and institutions in Cambridge to adopt “strict” net-zero commitments by 2030 at the latest.

Green Party campaigning for in Cambridgeshire for this year's county council elections 

Green Party campaigning for in Cambridgeshire for this year's county council elections - Credit: Green Party

Policy proposals in the manifesto include:

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– identifying and developing “wildlife corridors” between the city biodiversity hotspots

– opposing development that will increase the ongoing removal of water from the chalk aquifer

– working towards introducing an “emissions-free zone” in the city centre

– funding community hubs and groups that have sprung up in the response to the pandemic, and to develop them into “points of connection between residents of all backgrounds”

Not mentioned in the manifesto is the Green’s stance on the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s busway proposals.

A spokesperson said that the party supports “moves towards an integrated, zero emission public transport system for Cambridge and the surrounding area”.

But they also said “new segregated routes run the risk of using money that could better be used elsewhere”, and that “in the immediate future Greens will campaign to make existing networks more integrated and to promote active transport such as walking and cycling”.

The group said Cambridge needs to be “more equal”, to take action in response to climate change that “recognises the scale of the threat”, to improve its public and active travel transport system, and to build a higher proportion of “genuinely” affordable homes.

Naomi Bennett, a Green Party city council candidate, said: “The deficiencies in our transport system disproportionately impact the less well off. Green councillors will campaign to reduce reliance on cars, and to make buses both greener and cheaper.”

And county Council candidate Jeremy Caddick added: “We need development that will enhance the lives of all residents and not just enrich developers and landowners.”

The Cambridge City Council elections will be held alongside other local elections on May 6, 2021.

Some of the ward boundaries have changed, and so every seat on the council – all 42 seats across 14 wards – are up for grabs. Each ward has three councillors, and residents will be able to vote for up to three candidates.

The city council’s responsibilities include waste collection, council housing, public toilets, planning and setting the local plan, as well working with other authorities on policy affecting rough sleeping, community safety and more.

The political group that wins control of the council will also send a representative to serve on the boards of the Greater Cambridge Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which both have separate powers and budgets, with a particular focus on transport.

Going into the election the Labour group currently hold the majority with 25 councillors, the Liberal Democrats have 12, there is one independent councillor, and four vacant seats.

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