Green politics relates to all aspects of government policy.
- In a world of finite resources, uncontrolled economic growth cannot continue indefinitely.
- Great inequality within and between nations makes it more difficult to support the whole population sustainably
- Some of our aims depend on resources from national government. These are long-term.
- But there are short-term measures that can be taken even in current circumstances and can be achieved in one four-year term.
More economic self-reliance will help to protect communities from the fluctuating fortunes of the global markets. The Green Party seeks to empower all sections of society to meet their needs from their own resources.
At national level, the Green Party would seek to abolish the "poverty trap" by introducing a Citizen's Income scheme to ensure a basic income for all, regardless of employment status.
- Build a local economy that can support itself and meet the needs of its people.
- Stimulate local employment by expanding recycling.
- Provide grants for locally-based enterprises.
The involvement of people in all aspects of decisions that affect their community will mean a major shift in power from central government to local communities and councils, together with devolution of services, duties, resources and tax-raising power.
- Resist the imposition of PFI, which is not the best way of financing public services.
- Keep Leicester's open market in its traditional place.
- Oppose any strengthening of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) that puts the interests of multinational corporations above the democratically expressed wishes of local people.
- Encourage retail outlets to merchandise locally produced goods and services.
- Promote farmers' markets and other retail solutions that enable consumers to buy locally produced goods.
- Emphasise open-access decision-making so that business decisions will be accountable to and influenced by local people.
- Further develop local financial and investment resources such as democratically accountable Community Banks and Credit Unions, and local currency schemes.
- Actively support measures for production to be redesigned with recycling in mind.
Although opposed to an elected mayor for Leicester, the Green Party would participate in a mayoral election if one were called. Nationally, we would wish to see elected regional assemblies. Decisions should be governed by the principle of subsidiarity: accountability at the lowest practical level.
- Encourage communities to become urban Parish Councils, controlling some of their own services.
- Hold referendums to allow people to make decisions about their own community and about the city as a whole.
- Establish greater openness and accountability in local government. Whenever possible, council documents should go on the website.
- Extend the machinery for investigating complaints in local government.
- Establish a regular cabinet 'question-time' for the general public.
- Campaign for a fair system of proportional representation (PR) for all types of elections, with voting at 16 years of age, and for a Bill of Rights within a written constitution.
- Allocate executive power and portfolios (including places in cabinet) to reflect a party's share of elected representatives.
Our principles are based on sustainability and improving the quality of life of all people living in Leicester. Every effort must be made to stop urban encroachment on greenfield sites. We will support planning policies that give economic, social and environmental benefits and oppose any that do not.
- Create a Community Development Department to take control of youth and community work and be responsible for all consultations with local communities.
- Support Residents' and/or Tenants' Associations and help new ones to get started.
- Decentralise services so that they become more accessible to people.
- Support the valuable work of voluntary organisations by offering them service agreements with a three to five year life span, to assist long-term planning.
- Put greater emphasis on meeting the needs of young people through a well-funded youth service, and involve young people themselves in the planning and running of it.
- Support area committees as a first step towards urban parish councils.
- Make it easier for local people to appeal against major planning decisions, including regional developments, that affect their lives and damage the environment.
- Aim to ensure that planning approval for larger schemes, and all developments on greenfield sites, will be dependent on a full independent environmental impact assessment.
- Make housing, work, schools and leisure accessible without a car.
Traffic causes death, injury, illness and distress through noise and smell and is a significant waste of the world's finite resources. We will work towards a city where the need to travel is reduced and more journeys are taken by walking, cycling and public transport.
- Ensure that the local plan review is based on sustainability and reflects the needs of local people.
- Oppose all car-based planning applications.
- Work towards revitalising the city centre and local shopping centres.
- Oppose large-scale, low-density housing, especially on greenfield sites.
- Preserve natural areas with tree preservation orders.
- Conserve buildings of historical and architectural interest, and enhance them by such measures as brick cleaning.
- Campaign for tax advantages for building on brownfield rather than greenfield sites.
- Aim to return public transport in Leicester to public ownership and control.
- Bring in charges on parking spaces at workplaces and out-of-town shopping centres. Ring-fence this revenue for public transport.
- Reduce the need to travel by creating neighbourhoods where people live close to shops, workplaces, schools and other facilities (see also Planning).
- Close the city centre to cars (except vehicles for the disabled and essential users). This will be phased in as public transport improves.
- Build a light rapid transport and/or guided bus system.
- Increase the number of railway stations.
- Build a bus station near London Road Railway Station, forming a major public transport interchange.
- Increase subsidies for public transport.
- Improve the regulation of bus services.
- Introduce integrated bus/rail tickets
- Build no more major roads.
Homelessness is unacceptable in a civilised society. All the people of Leicester must be properly housed according to their needs. Housing should promote community life and not damage the environment.
It is important to develop environments in which people can live, whatever their needs. These may include people with disabilities or people for whom a reduction of the fear of violence is of paramount importance.
- Aim to have all all buses accessible to the disabled.
- Link the bus and the rail stations.
- Create more and better cycleways and other facilities for cyclists.
- Develop facilities for pedestrians, including a pedestrian officer.
- Add more bus lanes and give buses priority at junctions.
- Introduce further traffic calming measures in residential areas where requested by local communities, and "home zones" where these are requested.
- Introduce residents' car parking schemes in all inner city areas where residents want them.
- Produce an annual public transport timetable.
- Improve facilities at railway stations and bus stops, with timetables and "real time" information where feasible.
- Have bus passes and season tickets valid on all buses.
- Aim to have secure cycle storage at stations and workplaces.
- Encourage car sharing in both small companies and local neighbourhoods, and encourage larger employers to introduce green commuter plans.
- Take measures to reduce parking near schools, while ensuring that all schools have safe cycling routes to school and/or "walking buses".
- Aim to make cycling proficiency a part of every school's curriculum.
- Treat taxis as a valuable part of an integrated public transport system, and encourage operators to make them disabled-friendly.
- Ensure where possible that buildings meet stringent environmental standards, such as renewable materials, water recycling, zero CO2 emissions standards and energy supplied from 100% renewable sources.
- Make imaginative use of empty space within the city limits, including car parks or unused office and factory buildings. Play areas, parks, dwellings and light industrial workshops can be created in these places.
- Create mixed developments, including homes and workplaces, different sizes of dwelling and both low-cost and private ownership within the same community.
- Encourage self-build wherever feasible, and create facilities that can be shared, in order both to promote community spirit and to reduce resource consumption.
- Provide at least 30% of new housing as good-quality, low-cost properties for both temporary and long-term tenancies.
- Design 20% of new housing to cater for people with disabilities, so that facilities like an electric bath hoist and through-floor lift can be installed if required.
- Adopt a flexible approach to housing needs when considering tenants' personal, cultural and health-related circumstances.
- Consider the situation of students from both universities, with a view to supplying more campus accommodation.
- Ensure that private houses used as student dwellings are maintained to high standards and that reasonable rents are charged.
Energy is fundamental to our life, but the generation of electricity and the combustion of fossil fuels can damage health and the environment. Reducing the impact of our energy use requires a strategy to improve efficiency and reduce demand and also to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
- Plan the layout of streets to encourage co-operative living and to increase community safety. This should be coupled with easy access to employment, health care, school and shopping from all areas of the city.
- Oppose the sale of council housing, and the transfer of stock to housing associations or the private sector.
- Provide small houses and flats in response to changing social needs.
- Campaign for higher levels of council tax on long-term empty homes, and provide more resources to bring them back into use.
- Use financial incentives to to encourage re-use of old buildings and previously used sites, rather than building on greenfield sites.
- Take steps to provide secure short and longer term provision for travellers, after consultation.
- Ensure rapid completion and refurbishment to a high standard of all housing schemes in progress, taking into account their environmental impact.
- Plan mixed developments of housing, shops and offices, ensuring that separate and secure entrances are provided.
- Make appropriate adaptations to low-cost and private dwellings to enable people with disabilities to remain in their own homes.
- Introduce measures (including energy efficiency, CHP and greener electricity generation) to reduce energy use in Council-owned buildings by 90% by 2030 (from 1990 levels), and encourage others to follow suit.
- Campaign for the amendment of national planning and building regulations to ensure that solar energy systems and/or micro wind turbines are included on all new buildings, and retrofitted to existing buildings where feasible.
- Campaign at national level for a taxation system that puts the environment first and use the proceeds from emissions taxation schemes to fund improvements in public services, particularly public transport, and energy efficiency grants for the less well-off.
- Introduce a district heating programme, particularly to areas of the city with poorer and/or more elderly residents.
The waste created by over-consumption and over-packaging is a scandalously inefficient use of resources. Our first priority will be to use less, followed by re-use where appropriate, with recycling or composting as third in order of priority. Landfill will be used only as a last resort, and incineration will be opposed.
- Ensure that all Council buildings, and where possible all other public buildings, are changed over to green energy suppliers.
- Accelerate the installation of solar energy systems for hot water and (where practical) solar photovoltaic panels in all council-owned buildings, and use this policy to jump-start a solar industry in Leicester.
- Further promote energy conservation and renewable energy through the Leicester Energy Efficiency Centre, including increasing the opening hours.
- Ensure that all new buildings and developments are constructed to the highest (carbon-neutral) energy efficiency standards. Support all appropriate schemes to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings.
- Fit energy-efficient street lighting, designed to reduce light pollution.
- Ensure that all new bus stops are free of illuminated advertisements, unless their illumination is solar powered
- Campaign for a national tax on packaging, with the aim of reducing the amount of waste created.
- Campaign for legislation to make industries responsible for the full product life cycle (e.g. by accepting used products for recycling).
- Encourage and support car-sharing schemes and tool libraries.
- Campaign for a change towards using less and repairing and recycling more.
Strong communities promote good health and positive social welfare. The picture in Leicester is one of inadequate care for people in their own homes, low availablity of residential homes, and one of the UK's highest prescribing levels of psychiatric medication.
More money than ever before is being pumped into social care and health statutory services, yet we still have a failing system.
- Employ a Zero Waste adviser.
- Extend door-to-door recycling collections to include separate collection of all plastics, electrical and electronic waste, and biowaste (food waste) for composting.
- Extend recycling collection to shops, small businesses, schools and community centres.
- Set recycling targets for local businesses and consult with them on how these may best be achieved.
- Introduce a glass recycling system to pubs and clubs.
- Put more litter bins on streets and parks, including dog mess bins.
- Take action against obstruction of the pavement by wheelie bins.
- Reduce social inequality. The poorest members of society are often most at risk, and societies where wealth is most equally distributed tend to enjoy the best overall health. Illness is often related to insecurity and stress: a less competitive and stressful environment will bring greater happiness and general well-being.
- Tackle social exclusion and poverty by reforming the benefits system and introducing Citizen's Income (see The Local Economy).
- Improve energy conservation. This will not only save money and resources but also bring health benefits, especially to the elderly who are at risk from hypothermia.
- Reduce traffic pollution (see Transport) and encourage cycling and walking.
- Invest in smaller community health and social care centres, providing holistic care, rather than unresponsive and bureaucratic health and social service departments
- Develop locally-based provision that is relevant and integral to the needs of local communities.
Policies on safety and crime go hand in hand with those on education, social care, health, economics and housing. Dealing with crime should be concerned with minimising harm and disruption to people’s lives and their local environment.
- Increase funding for community and voluntary organisations that are responsive to local needs.
- Allow small organisations to plan and provide beyond 1-3 years, by securing long term statutory funding rather than frequently having to tender for contracts (see Democracy & Services).
- In partnership with local health bodies, invest in health education that promotes better informed lifestyle choices.
- Encourage and (where appropriate) subsidise the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables where not otherwise available.
- Make more fresh (especially organic and excluding genetically modified) fruit and vegetables available in schools.
- Rigorously monitor and inspect nursing homes to endure that they preserve the dignity and quality of life of residents.
- Ensure that environmental health officers strictly enforce measures prohibiting air pollution and excessive noise.
- Improve sex education, to reduce abortions and unwanted pregnancies and control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Ensure the safety of the most vulnerable members of society, including older people, children, and those subject to racist and homophobic attacks.
- Where appropriate, bring offenders together with victims, for the former to be made aware of the impact they have had on the other person's life, and for reparation to be carried out where possible.
- Ensure that the police force is accountable to the public and is resourced to carry out its duties effectively.
The emphasis of education should be shifted from training for jobs to education for life.
A variety of educational opportunities should be available to provide lifelong learning and meet different educational needs.
- Increase the use of voluntary and community organisations, to voice the needs of the vulnerable and suggest practical solutions, within local Crime and Disorder partnerships.
- In order to assist these aims, police and the local authority and other relevant agencies should be encouraged to put as much emphasis on prevention as detection, thus providing security to individuals and the community in the most effective way.
- Make the city a safer place by encouraging better use of space in a creative, socially and environmentally friendly way.
- Aim for the designing, funding, implementation and evaluation of public educational provision to be the responsibility of the most appropriate local elected body.
Life should be rewarding. Work should be creative. Leisure should be fun.
It is therefore important that facilities to enrich our lives should be both accessible and affordable.
- Explore ways of retaining more local community-based schools.
- Fight against the privatisation of local authority services, opposing PFI schemes and city academies.
- Encourage large schools to work in smaller, human-sized groupings.
- Support parents who wish to provide home education or home/school flexi-schooling.
- Develop effective student councils and parent councils in each school.
- Increase the availability of adult education in local schools and community centres.
- Continue to fight against cuts being made to adult education and community centres by the current administration. Aim to expand provisions for life-long learning in the city.
- Ensure provision of high-quality, nutritious food for school meals, suitable for all dietary and religious requirements, while continuing to exclude GM foods.
- Ban from publicly-funded schools all direct and indirect commercial sponsorship of teaching materials or teacher training.
- Ensure that all neighbourhoods have community centres, libraries and sports facilities within easy reach.
- Situate specialist leisure facilities in the city centre if possible, otherwise where there is good public transport.
Animals have rights. The Green Party will endeavour to ensure that these are upheld and animal welfare taken seriously.
We will work closely with animal groups and charities to develop coherent strategies on these issues.
- Give financial support to community organisations that provide art, educational and leisure services.
- Tackle the excessive bureaucracy that may be imposed on such voluntary activities.
- Encourage “public art” such as good quality busking in designated areas in shopping centres.
- Enable local artists and craft workers to display their works both in the city centre and in local neighbourhood facilities.
- Introduce stricter licensing of pet shops, including a ban on the sale of wild caught birds.
We have been abusing Nature on a grand scale for too long, and continue to do so.
Open space, particularly green open space, is vital to our physical, mental and spiritual health but is being sacrificed to development in all our towns and cities. Economic growth has taken precedence over all other values.
- Ensure that no products (such as cleaning material) bought by the council are tested on animals.
- Support the banning of circuses with performing animals in Leicester.
- Support vegetarian and vegan options for meals in schools and other Council-run institutions.
- Employ an animal rights officer.
- Promote awareness of animal rights issues including vivisection, factory farming, hunting and the transport of live animals.
- Recognise that other species have a right to co-exist and to preserve their habitat.
- Give remaining parks, allotments and playing-fields proper legal protection from all forms of development except those strictly relevant to them (e.g. cafes and sports pavilions).
- Aim for small parks, allotments and other green spaces to be controlled by "parish" councils (see "Democracy"). Large parks falling within the area of several parish councils will still be controlled by the City Council, which must involve the parish councils in their management.
With a Green Government at national level, resource and pollution taxes (e.g. an extended fosssil fuel tax) would be introduced in place of some other taxes, particularly income tax for the lower paid. Those on benefits will be fully compensated for any increase in the cost of living.
At national level, government income could also be raised by measures such as reducing defence expenditure and stopping all trunk road building. We acknowledge, however, that some improvements might also have to be paid for by the people of Leicester.
- Provide for green space in all major new developments.
- Ensure that parks and playing fields are properly maintained and supervised. Introduce park managers for large parks, supported where necessary by other staff. These would have the role of rangers rather than upholders of petty restrictions.
- Allow the setting up of woodland burial sites.
- Increase the number of dog wardens and lead a vigorous campaign to prevent dog owners from allowing their pets to foul pavements and parks.
- Improve and extend the local network of footpaths and cycle routes, including canal towpaths.
- Oppose the private finance initiative (PFI), which is more expensive in the long run than other ways of financing public works.
- Campaign to scrap the Council Tax and replace it by a local income tax together with a land tax.
- Explore what funds may be available from government, the European Union and other possible funders.
- Don't waste public money on large "image" projects.
- Save money by replacing Leicester Link with an easily readable annual statement of Council activity, including simple accounts of expenditure.
- Make available, on the web and in libraries and council offices, more transparent information on Council income and expenditure, including elected representatives' salaries, expenses and gifts.