Autumn 2014 | 48 Edition Published by Brighton & Hove Green Party
10 ONLINE EDITION
Plans for an Open Air Theatre get the go-ahead
What’s the story behind the problem with the bins?
City becomes part of UKs first urban ‘biosphere’
Christopher Hawtree for Hove and Portslade
Caroline Lucas writes about air strikes on Iraq
GREENLEAF Cuts: communities at risk Government cuts threaten to decimate public services and withdraw funds for those in desperate need
Photos: DECC, National Archives
• City is losing £26m next year and will lose another £80m after the election, due to government cuts
“We’re making cuts Thatcher could only have dreamt of” Greg Barker, Tory government minister
“The public want to know that we are going to be ruthless” Ed Balls, Labour Shadow Chancellor
Under the guise of austerity, the coalition government is slowly but surely putting an end to local government as we know it. This is not just our opinion but that of council leaders around the country. Over the past four years, Brighton & Hove City Council has had to cut £70m from its main budget. £102m of new cuts are heading our way. Cuts of this scale will inevitably mean cuts to essential services. Meanwhile because of welfare reform and a changing population, the number of people coming to the council for help is rising fast.
Transport on the right road Brighton and Hove wins international recognition for city transport Many dream of living in a people friendly city, with safe roads, attractive walk ways, and lots of open space. A place where
children can walk or cycle to school and families can enjoy their leisure time together in the open air. Our Green councillors have spent the last four years striving to make Brighton and Hove just such a place, and this Autumn their achievements have been acknowledged in a flurry of national and international awards.
Continued on page 7
Two-thirds of councils around the country say there is no more room for efficiencies and it’s the same in our city. That could mean less support for disadvantaged children, people with learning difficulties, families fleeing domestic violence, older people needing support. Moral considerations aside, these cuts just increase costs further down the line. The cross-party Local Government Association says: “If the government pulls the plug on funding, many local authorities will be unable to afford to make up
the difference at a time when we are facing the biggest cuts to council funding in living memory.” Labour and Conservatives have both promised to continue the current level of cuts to local government. Greens say enough is enough. Read more on page 3 Park funding is at risk
Caroline’s Education Bill Brighton MP Caroline Lucas’s Parliamentary Bill to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) a legal requirement in all state funded schools is passing through parliament. If you believe every child and young person should be entitled to PSHE, please go to www.carolinelucas.com to find out more.
your favourite eco-friendly buses and coaches, available for any occasion... only at www.thebiglemon.com
2 | GreenleafAutumn 2014
City news Greens are delighted with news that Hove Park School governors have voted against applying for academy status for the secondary school, which takes children from across the city. Unlike Labour and the Conservatives, the Green Party has consistently opposed academy status for any school, believing it removes control from the local community and allows private wealthy benefactors influence over children’s education - so effectively a form of privatisation. Earlier in the year, Greenled Brighton & Hove City Council organised a ballot of parents of children attending the school which was non-binding on the governors, though a useful way of highlighting concerns.
A majority of parents voted against academy status. Councillor Sue Shanks, Green Chair of the council’s Children & Young People Committee, who led council opposition to the plan, said, “I’m delighted the governors have acknowledged the strength of feeling from parents, staff and the wider community over the academy proposals for Hove Park. Green councillors have worked tirelessly with parents from the start; we have joined them on rallies, helped fundraise and organised a parental ballot. “We did this as the strength of feeling against academy status was so strong and we also have concerns about how useful or helpful academy status might be for results and children’s experience. “The Green Party believe that children’s education should never be privatised.”
Standing up for our schools Caroline Lucas As an MP for the city, I always look forward to visiting schools. Whether I’m meeting Eco Councillors at Hertford Junior or touring Varndean’s revenuegenerating, solar-powered Schoolhaus building, I find our local schools are packed with innovation, inspiring staff and dedicated pupils. So it’s fantastic that plans to convert Hove Park School – one of the most improved in the country – into an Academy have been scrapped. We want fair, transparent, accountable schools driven by the vision of parents, pupils, staff, the local authority and members of the community. Academies promote a marketised model of education – and commercial interests should not outweigh our children’s. I’m so pleased the governors listened to a strong community
Caroline with staff and pupils from across Sussex at an Eco-school day.
campaign involving staff, parents and pupils. Hove Park School is a fantastic success story, and I’m confident it will continue to thrive. There’s also plans for a new secondary school for the city funding has been secured and now the challenge is to make sure it best meets the needs of local children, especially in terms of location. Another school which inspires me is Patcham High.
Taxis to cut emissions
30 taxi minibuses fitted with new technology to reduce NOx emissions will soon be on Brighton & Hove’s streets. Green-led Brighton & Hove City Council won £195,000 from the government’s Clean Vehicle Technology Fund, which paid for the investment. Many of the vehicles are used for large groups such as schoolchildren travelling between destinations. It follows £750,000 won last year from the government’s Clean Bus Transport Fund, which helped to fit clean emission technology to 50 buses, and supports the 13
School meals served in Brighton & Hove’s schools have been awarded Silver Status under the Soil Association’s Food for Life scheme. The upgrade will come into effect from November 2014, at no extra cost to the council. The award is the result of new standards introduced by the Green administration, which require caterers to provide more local, seasonal and organic ingredients. The majority of meals are now freshly prepared, meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards and all eggs are from cage-free hens.
hybrid buses currently running in the city. Councillor Stephanie Powell, Chair of Licensing Committee, said: “With fleet vehicles like buses and taxis making up much of the frequent traffic passing through the city centre, our work to reduce these emissions will not only reduce dangerous pollution at stubborn hotspots in the city centre, it will also freshen the air for residents across the city. The scheme is part of wider work to bring fleet vehicles in line with Brighton & Hove’s Low
Emission Zone, to be introduced next year. Councillor Stephanie Powell added “As far as I’m aware, we’re the first council to work with the taxis in this way to tackle stubborn pollution on our streets, and I look to forward to seeing this progress into the future.”
Women’s refuges in peril Domestic abuse against women is rife in the UK and tragically with the voluntary sector under funding pressure, the number of women’s refuges is falling, says national charity Women’s Aid. Research by the charity released earlier this year found that on one day in 2013, 155 women and 103 children were turned away from English refuges because of a lack of resources. In our city domestic abuse services remain intact thanks to a strong voluntary sector with support from the council. Recently local domestic abuse charity RISE opened a new
service for men experiencing abuse. However services in the city are still under pressure. Even where there are enough refuge spaces, the situation is compounded by government policies which campaigners say force women to remain in abusive situations. What with the introduction of universal credit, women being disproportionately hit by public sector job cuts, cuts to Legal Aid and rising female unemployment, women who are in abusive situations are less able to escape them. Brighton MP Caroline Lucas has tabled an EDM in parliament on the issue which
I’ve long advocated the introduction of statutory, ageappropriate, Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) in state schools, and I’m incredibly impressed with the model employed by staff at Patcham, where pupils learn to debate and discuss sensitive and difficult subjects, with each other and their teachers, in an extremely thoughtful and intelligent way. Continued on page 11
“HANDS OFF HOVE PARK” VICTORY!
Healthier eating is also promoted across the catering service. When in opposition, Greens pushed for the council to adopt Bronze status, and since taking administration have been working to improve standards again. Continued on page 11
Do you need a pay rise? welcomes the launch of Women’s Aid ‘Save our Services’ campaign and calls for protected funding for refuges. Council Deputy leader and Women’s Champion Ruth Buckley, said: “Cuts to domestic violence charities and shelters, cuts to legal aid, cuts to criminal justice and cuts even to the NHS which treats the victims of DV - all are affected. It is high time the government prioritises this, and recognises how the violence of austerity has impacted all aspects of society - otherwise it is complicit in the violence.”
Brighton and Hove Green Party members and councillors joined October’s London march to demand that Britain needs a pay rise. The march highlighted that UK workers are approximately £2000 a year worse off than at the start of the recession, and demand for foodbanks is hitting an all-time high throughout the country – one of the wealthiest in the world. Councillor Phélim MacCafferty stated: “I was among thousands around the country marching in London to demand action over why 3 million people nationally are living in poverty
despite being in work and over 300,000 children live in poverty yet we have never had so many millionaires.” Continued on page 11
3 | Greenleaf Autumnr 2014
City budget Red lines: when it’s time to say “no” With council finance chiefs looking everywhere to find £26m savings needed to close next year’s budget gap it is inevitable that we will see a number of distressing options put forwards. One such measure emerged in October as part of the statutory annual consultation on Council Tax Reduction.
Two years’ ago the government transferred responsibility for Council Tax Benefit for people on low income (including pensionners) to the council, but cut back the funding of the benefit at the same time. Brighton and Hove Council responded with a replacement scheme which saw households
that previously paid no council tax asked to pay at least 8.5%. Now that the government is tightening the purse strings even further, council officers consulted on whether we should make the poorest pay a larger share of the bill and increase the minimum payment to 25%. For some households this could mean a
194% council tax increase in one year. Ollie Sykes gave a firm response from the Green Party: “Let me be clear: Green councillors will definitely not support this change to the scheme. We want to keep the current levels of support in place to help those most in need with their council tax.”
Budget facts you need to know The parties that make up the council
Council house rents - can only be spent on housing
Commercial rents Infographics Ishbel Amyatt-Leir
Other ring fenced grants from government
Grants from Central Government
Highest amount any party has ever raised your council tax in one year
Biggest council tax increases in Brighton & Hove were under a Labour council
How our funding is being cut as costs rise 50 40 30
increasing cost of and demand for services government funding cuts
20 10 0
Where the £778m budget comes from
-10 -20 -30 -40 -50 -60 -70
2016/17 2017/18 financial year
In 2015/16 alone we are losing £18M of core government grant funding
Massive cut in funding from central government to the city
Councillor Ollie Sykes, Green Finance lead:
When it comes to cuts, Tories and Labour sing from the same hymnsheet. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said in his speech to Labour conference last month: “We will need an iron commitment to fiscal discipline... It will mean cuts”. Greens would balance the national budget but in a different way, for example by ending the tens of billions we spend on Trident. In a recent blog, Brighton Labour leader Cllr Morgan blithely accepted the £102m in cuts that are heading for our city, without questioning the austerity mantra started by the Tories. What’s more, by blocking proposals by Greens for modest council tax rises of 3.5% a couple of years ago, Labour’s actions mean the council is now about £7m worse off than it would otherwise be. That’s another £7m of cuts now. Greens are working in a ‘no overall control’ council where the Labour and Conservative councillors can join forces to outvote the Greens: playing party politics instead of putting the city’s needs first.
Take action Green councillors are urgently reviewing budget proposals in order to protect those most in need. Please tell us what you think. Do you think it is reasonable to ask residents to contribute more to maintain services such as children’s disability services, child protection, public libraries? Or are things too tight at the moment?
Let us know what you think Please email us at: info@brightonandhovegreen party.org.uk
Your Green Councillors Brunswick & Adelaide
Phelim MacCafferty Tel: 291357 @Phelimmac Ollie Sykes Tel: 291413
Christopher Hawtree Tel: 291144 @chrishawtree
Goldsmid Ruth Buckley Tel: 291135 Rob Jarrett Tel: 291148 Alexandra Phillips Tel: 294539 @alexforgoldsmid
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too. For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: email@example.com
4 | GreenleafAutumn 2014
Live in Hove or Portslade? Meet your Green MP candidate Christopher Hawtree is the Green Party’s General Election candidate for the Hove constituency.
Christopher Hawtree walks at least six miles a day - often far more. We caught up with him one evening as he drew breath on a sofa in his book and disclined Hove house while pigeons cooed on the roof, a Bach organ piece played and a cat strolled in. He remarked: “I love being out and about - exercise brings enjoyable discussions, off-thecuff talk with innumerable people.”
Other parties acknowledge the energy which he brings to the political sphere. “I took them by surprise in Central Hove in 2011. Nobody knew I was standing until the last minute - and three weeks later I had snaffled that seat off a top Tory. The LibDems came last but called me ‘the Central hurricane’.” Christopher moves some books on another sofa for us, then laughs, “yes, I came into this through that campaign which saved Hove Library from Labour’s plot to close it down. As with a library, one thing leads to another. It’s been an intense time on this Council with the Coalition’s terrible funding cuts. And yet, I’ve learnt so much about so many subjects. I’m not fazed but glad that we have brought on so much. The Tories’ four years only managed a Bandstand. Unlike their inertia, we grasped the nettle. Talk with people, and they get it.” How would Christopher regard the leap from Councillor to MP? He gives that laugh. “Is it a leap? Do one thing, and you
“We are all encouraged by Lord Ashcroft’s poll showing that we have doubled the Green vote in Hove and Portslade.”
“Climate change is the crucial issue in our time. As David Bowie sang, ‘five years, that’s all we’ve got’. Without an Earth we wouldn’t have Hove and Portslade - I’m keen to ensure that Portslade is a part of it. And to address climate change would bring a genuine economic boost. Caroline Lucas has shown that an individual, distinctive MP can do so much more than an off-the-peg backbencher. She and I have different styles, and that’s all to the good. Who knows, I think we could see a bunch of distinctive Green MPs, the mood is there across the country - people to counter the Establishment’s lassitude and Ukip’s bigotry. “We are all encouraged by Lord
Ashcroft’s poll which shows that we have doubled the Green vote in Hove and Portslade, and there are months and miles to go.” His enthusiasm is tremendous. “We had a great time with parents and teachers in stopping Hove Park School becoming an Academy. We’re also the only party opposed to fracking, NHS privatisation, tuition fees. We’re the only ones who want to renationalise the railways. Labour MPs did not turn up to vote against the Bedroom Tax. If I’m elected, I’ll be there. These are tough times, but every door, every talk offers hope.” Email: HawtreeHovePortslade@ hotmail.com Twitter:@chrishawtree Web: christopherhawtree.com
can do the next, and I relish the chance to make the planet’s issues vocal.
Please support us Join the Green Party
Pictured: Christopher Hawtree at dog lovers’ awards with model Jodie Kidd
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Bhopal Medical Appeal
5 | Greenleaf Autumnr 2014
Race for Westminster
UP FOR G N I D N STA MATTERS WHAT ne i
Leading pollsters suggest Caroline Lucas on course in tight race for who will represent Brighton “We’ve seen how polls have gradually been turning in our favour after lower ratings last year with several months of growing support as well as in the Euro election, which put us ahead of all the other parties in the constituency - and this may be informing Kellner’s thinking.
Photo: Kirstin Buse
“Caroline will successfully defend her majority over Labour in Brighton Pavilion” A respected polling expert has put Caroline Lucas, the UK’s first Green MP, on course to hold her Brighton parliamentary seat after a summer of encouraging poll indicators. Peter Kellner, President of the YouGov polling company, has singled out Ms Lucas as the exception to his national predictions of rising support for Labour, saying she is likely to hold her Brighton Pavilion seat in his forecast for the general election, outlined in the September edition of current affairs magazine Prospect. Gazing into his psephological crystal ball, the former BBC
Newsnight political analyst says Caroline will successfully defend her 1,252 majority over Labour in Brighton, while he predicts a Labour Government with an overall majority of 30 seats. Adam McGibbon, national Green Party General Election Campaign Manager, said, “No one is taking anything for granted in our corner; it will be a tough contest and things can change but to have a respected pollster like Kellner predict that Caroline will successfully defend her seat is encouraging and confirms the positive feel we are getting on doorsteps.
Peter Kellner, YouGov research “While no one piece of research is conclusive of this trend on its own, taken together we are seeing real momentum building for Caroline. This is also reflected in the bookies’ current odds which put her in pole position. “It also suggests that Caroline is picking up support well beyond her own political party and attracting people locally to her cause who are not traditionally Green voters or who may not usually vote at all.
Green Euro-MP’s animal welfare role In September Keith Taylor MEP (pictured right at the Brighton PSDA) was appointed VicePresident of the the European Parliament´s Animal Welfare Intergroup (AWI), whose job it is to champion animal welfare issues. The AWI is one of the longest running and best attended Intergroups in the Parliament and has been at the forefront of new initiatives like the EU ban on the import and
trade of seal products and the call for a ban on the cloning of animals for food supply. Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas was also a key member of the AWI. Keith says: “I find it very frustrating when people forget that animals are sentient beings just like the rest of us, and treat them as a commodity to be traded. Continued on page 10
“Caroline is well-known for keeping a vigilant eye on local people’s behalf and turning the heat on the big Westminster parties, so she seems to be gaining credit for getting the concerns of these voters noticed and taken seriously in Westminster.” McGibbon added, “A poll by Tory strategist Lord Ashcroft showed Greens had overtaken the Liberal Democrats, putting the party on a new high of 8% up three points - and just ahead of the Lib Dems on 7%. “Meanwhile in September the Ipsos MORI State Of The Nation Poll shows support for the Greens is rising. When asked whether they would consider voting for the Green Party 43% said ‘I might vote for them’. The answer demonstrates more than two in five people would consider voting Green. “We are also quietly pleased by the European results which indicated Greens were ahead by more than five percentage points in Brighton Pavilion, as reported by the Brighton and Hove Independent newspaper.” However McGibbon sounded a note of caution on the quality of polling and market research data that might emerge ahead of the election likely on 7th May and urged voters to be on their guard. “While we do our best to rely on robust, scientifically
backed polling for our analysis, unfortunately we expect some to be less scrupulous about the accuracy and robustness of surveys they commission or promote. “There are likely to be some unreliable straw polls and ‘voodoo poll’ claims made that are not safe to use as they would not be professionally undertaken to British Polling Council standards. “Our message to people interested in polling trends is to check whether a poll is conducted by a reputable polling company rather than believe the first thing they hear in the news.” If you want to help re-elect Caroline email: Adam. McGibbon@greenparty.org.uk You don’t have to be a member of the Greens to get involved.
Essential election info • The next General Election is on 7 May 2015. This is when you vote to elect MPs to Westminster. There are 3 MPs for the city representing the three city constituencies: Brighton Kemptown, Brighton Pavilion and Hove. To find out which constiuency you live in go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk • Local elections will be held the same day to elect your local councillor to represent you on
Brighton and Hove City Council. There are 54 councillors in 21 wards across the city. • You have to be on the electoral register to be able to vote. • To register online or to notify a change of address go to www.gov.uk/register-to-vote you’ll need to have your national insurance number to hand and it takes about 5 minutes. • For any advice please call us on: 01273 766670
Your Green Councillors Hanover & Elm Grove Bill Randall Tel: 294366 @BillRandallBHCC Liz Wakefield Tel: 291423 @LizGreenB
Hollingdean & Stanmer Sven Rufus Tel: 296429 @SvenRufus
Withdean Sue Shanks Tel: 291410
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too.
Mike Jones Tel: 291149 Amy Kennedy Tel: 296445 Leo Littman Tel: 291152
For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 | GreenleafAutumn 2014
Services Recycling on the turn
Coming clean on rubbish
Green councillors have:
Emma Pruen puts all the questions you’ve been asking about the bin situation to council leader Jason Kitcat
•Introduced communal recycling bins across the city centre following a successful pilot in the Brunswick & Adelaide ward, which was well received and improved recycling rates. They won some money from the government to help fund the roll-out. •Brought in a community recycling incentive scheme where the savings from increased recycling rates are given back to the community to distribute to local groups. • In Summer 2013 the Council launched a seafront anti-litter campaign to encourage tourists and visitors to the city to dispose of their rubbish responsibly or take it home.
With over three years in council administration, you and your council officers still haven’t got to grip with waste in the city have you?
• Introduced recycling bins for small electric items such as kettles, toasters and irons. •Launched a paint recycling scheme, which saw a thousand litres of unwanted paint being put to good use in the first four months. • And are also exploring offering a commercial waste and recycling collection service.
Recycling facilities at the depot in Hollingdean, Brighton
Our NHS is not for sale The ‘For sale’ sign casting its unwelcome shadow over the NHS should be removed immediately say Brighton and Hove Greens. Green councillors tabled a motion at October’s full council requesting the city make a clear statement dissociating itself from the gradual breakup and under-funding of the NHS happening under the Coalition Government, the seeds of which were sown by the last Labour Government when it opened the doors to large scale private operators and created independent Foundation Trusts. In 2009 both the Conservatives and Labour agreed to slash the NHS budget by £20 billion between 2011 and 2015. The council motion called for the “last 15 years of privatisation of the NHS to be overturned” and the service “to be returned to a public service funded by, run by and accountable to local and national government.” It firmly
places the local council against the reforms introduced under the 2012 Health & Social Care Act, the Coalition Government’s flagship legislation to switch from care to competition as the underlying principle of the service. Many view the NHS as being in serious danger of being entirely broken up and becoming a pay-at-point of care service under the reforms. Ruth Buckley, Deputy Leader of the council, said, “We were delighted the council passed this motion. It has added its influential voice to the local debate and sets a marker that whatever damaging legislation is forced on the council by this Government as in this case to outsource health services, we have made our voices heard. The Greens remain the only Party committed to protecting the NHS. Continued on page 9
Some historic decisions have come to a head in the past few years. For example rubbish trucks were bought in large orders in the past, meaning they all come to the end of their life at the same time, causing breakdowns and disruption. There are rightly strict laws in place ensuring equal pay for equal work by council staff. However in the past special agreements were put in place to ensure that refuse workers, who are largely men, got special payments that weren’t offered to other staff doing work at a similar skill and pay level, mostly women. This was wrong in terms of both legality and fairness, and had to be addressed. Negotiating our new system of fair pay and allowances is what led to industrial action that badly affected the city last summer. What’s the recent refuse workers’ industrial action about and why is there a second strike in around a year? Isn’t this a sign that the council’s senior managers have got it wrong in the way they motivate and remunerate the workers and negotiate with the unions?
We’re very sorry about the recent disruption. Unfortunately some refuse truck drivers believe they should be paid more than their colleagues, and are taking strike action to try and create an exception to the new system of fair pay currently in place. This would be wrong, because other staff doing similar jobs would not receive the same increase. It would also leave the council open to expensive legal challenge. Managers have proposed a full service redesign that will review job roles to see how staff can be given new training and skills, and make CityClean the modern, flexible and responsive service that residents rightly expect. Importantly this would
maintain fair pay for all men and women across the council. What have you told senior managers including the new head of CityClean (the council’s waste department) to do to get things in order?
The new Head of CityClean has begun work right away to put the service on the right track. We’ve made clear the issues residents have been facing, and the urgent need to get things sorted. He’s leading on developing an overhaul for the service to make sure that it works better for residents and staff. He is keen to work with local communities to build an understanding of how the service can respond better to the issues in their area. With the Green administration in office for almost four years why is the council still coming in so poorly on recycling rates among local councils – recycling only 26.8% of household waste? Why is there still no food waste recycling especially in the city centre where there are few households with access to home composting facilities?
We inherited falling recycling rates, and have worked to turn those around by introducing communal recycling bins across the city centre, supporting community composting, and introducing a recycling incentive scheme. But as other major cities find, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Kitchen waste makes up about a third of what we throw away – but there is no easy way to collect residents’ food waste across our city. We bid for external funding to develop a food waste collection trial – but it was unfortunately unsuccessful, and neither Labour nor Tories support it. With massive government cuts to our funding, we can’t afford to fund a new scheme. Another complicating factor is that previous administrations agreed a PFI incineration contract, which perversely reduces the financial benefits of food waste or garden waste collection.
Council Leader Jason Kitcat
Helping residents compost at home or in their neighbourhoods is far more effective and sustainable than a garden waste collection. Working with the local Food Partnership, we support community food waste composting schemes which now have over 1000 households participating in 26 schemes across the city. What should residents do if they are receiving a poor service?
The council’s CityClean call centre is available on 01273 292929, and staff there are taking reports of missed collections. Information is also being put up on the council website about the status of the service, and if there are any problems. CityClean contact information: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ cityclean-contact CityClean online report form: http://inmyarea.brightonhove.gov.uk/LVPublic/Sites/ RecyclingRefuse/ Call Centre: 01273 292929
Spell out a council success on waste and refuse in one sentence.
Our introduction of communal recycling bins across the city centre, support for community composting and push for a new recycling incentive scheme will help deliver the modern waste service the city deserves. Continued on page 11
7 | Greenleaf Autumnr 2014
Environment City of the Year
Green transport policies are reaping rewards with safer roads, cleaner air and more thriving communities
At the end of September, the international CIVITAS scheme named Brighton & Hove as City of the Year - Europe’s top accolade for committment to
sustainable transport. And since then two of our schemes to improve our streets – the Lewes Road and Seven Dials were highly commended at the
National Transport Awards. Brighton & Hove has made huge strides towards becoming a more sustainable city, having been runners up in the CIVITAS awards for three years and being named the least car dependent city outside of London in 2012. The redesigning of several dangerous major junctions, people-friendly pavements, new bus and cycle lanes, support for businesses and schools on alternative ways to travel, and initiatives to make bus travel easier such as real time bus information and electronic tickets, have all earned us these awards. The really good news is that much of this work has been funded using some
£24 million of funding from central government and other organisations, all which we won in competition against other areas and could only be spent on these projects. Importantly fewer people are now injured or killed on the city’s streets thanks to measures to traffic calming and slower traffic speeds including the resident-supported 20mph speed limits. Making the shift to sustainable transport is not easy, but it is absolutely essential. We are a growing city, and our often narrow and congested roads just don’t have the room to cram in more private vehicles. Almost 40% of residents do
not own a car, and the majority of tourists visiting our city travel by public transport. The only way we can keep our city moving and economy growing is by making it easier for residents and visitors to choose walking, cycling and public transport to get around. With the hard work of everyone involved in shaping schemes across the city, our city continues to be recognised for making our streets safer and more people-friendly.
development and knowledge, learning and awareness. So what changes could the strategy bring about? Our Biosphere includes some globally unique and rich environments such as chalk grassland on the South Downs, vegetated shingle beaches, and undersea chalk reefs. It’s also home to more than 200 species internationally recognised as in need of conservation. One Biosphere project activity was inspired by the butterfly meadows created by Dr
Dan Danaher, Biodiversity Coordinator at Dorothy Stringer School (a long-established ecoschool). New wildflower sites have been springing up all over the city, fostering greater numbers of native butterfly species. As well as providing habitats for these much needed pollinators, the wildflowers provide a stunning visual feast for the people enjoying these spaces.
£24m funding won See page 10 for details
Rebecca Duffy discovers how butterflies and flowers are bringing major investment to our city This summer our city became part of the first completely new Biosphere site in the UK in almost forty years and the first ever in south-east England. The Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere was awarded this designation by UNESCO’s International Coordinating Council (ICC) in Sweden. Most biospheres are in remote places such as Biosffer Dyfi on the Welsh coast and the Beinn Eighe mountains in the West of Scotland, which is why it is so remarkable that an urban area such as Brighton and Hove has gained this title. So what exactly is a World Biosphere area and what does it mean for the city? Chris Todd, Chair of the Biosphere Partnership, explains. “It is really a celebration of the great place in which we live and a recognition, in part, of the many residents who volunteer to help look after it in one way or another. Unlike a National Park which most people have heard
of, a Biosphere is a bit more subtle and harder to spot on the ground. However it is about making all our lives easier and better: looking after nature to help ourselves, supporting the local economy and investing in education and research. By building better partnerships we can improve our quality of life while reducing our impact on the environment.” The successful bid for the
“Biosphere status puts us on the world map as a place to visit and invest.” accolade was led by the Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Partnership. This is a 40-strong group which spans several local authorities, and includes Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, the city’s two universities, Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation,
Jury’s Inn Hotel and Southern Railway. It is one of only a handful worldwide to include an urban area. The new status will build on Brighton and Hove’s international profile as a groundbreaking sustainable city. Last year, Brighton and Hove became the world’s first One Planet City, giving recognition to the Green Council’s Sustainability Action Plan which sets out ten principles for sustainable living. The Greater Brighton City Deal, which got the go-ahead in March 2014, seeks to drive forward jobs and develop green industries, such as the renewable energy power plant in Shoreham port. The Biosphere designation is not just an award for what’s been achieved so far. It marks the start of a five year phase implementing the Biosphere Management Strategy for 20142019. The strategy has three core objectives: nature conservation, sustainable socio-economic
Photo: Ishbel Amyatt-Leir
Continued on page 9
Your Green Councillors Queen’s Park @ QueensParkGreen
St Peter’s & North Laine
Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too.
Geoffrey Bowden Tel: 291986 @The SussexSquare
Ania KitcatTel: 296447 Jason Kitcat Tel: 291011 @jasonkitcat
Ian Davey Tel: 296430 Lizzie Deane Tel: 291138 Pete West Tel: 296431
For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: email@example.com
Stephanie Powell Tel: 291156
8 | GreenleafAutumn 2014
Brighton’s Green MP on air strikes in Iraq “Killing people rarely kills their ideas” What I said on the day of the Parliamentary vote on air strikes on Iraq: Every vote I cast in Parliament weighs heavily on my mind, especially as, unlike most other MPs, I have no whip telling me what to do – I consider the evidence, reflect on the principles I was elected to stand up for, listen to my constituents in Brighton Pavilion.
Never more so than on a day like today, when MPs are deciding whether to carry out air strikes in Iraq against the so called Islamic State (ISIL). Whatever we decide people will die. Be it directly at the hands of ISIL, whose barbarity
seems to know no limits. Or when they are hit by bombs dropped by the US, France or the UK. And, of course, people are dying as a result of the humanitarian crisis engulfing the region – the Refugee Council tell me it’s the first time since the Second World War that the number of people worldwide who are fleeing their homes is more than 50 million, and the conflicts in the Middle East are a key driver of this exodus. The death toll from the crisis in Syria is heading towards 200,000. Getting aid to all Syrians and Iraqis in need must remain one of the UK’s top priorities. Amongst the questions I have asked myself ahead of today’s vote is how best to help close down the cycles of violence, which are taking so many lives. There are no easy answers. But there is this certainty: killing people rarely kills their ideas. The hateful ideology of ISIL must be stopped but the risk is that air strikes will be counterproductive: every Western bomb dropped will fuel it anew, providing fertile
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recruitment, fundraising and propaganda opportunities. I don’t think this is like the last Iraq war. I don’t think that the Prime Minster is manipulating intelligence or lying to the House. There is much in the Government’s motion with which I agree. It is written in a measured and very reasonable-sounding tone. But the considered, thoughtful tone cannot get away from the bottom line, which is to give permission for the UK to bomb Iraq. Nor can it mask that what is often called ‘precision bombing’ is rarely precise. We should be under no illusion
‘Precision bombing’ is rarely precise that we are debating whether to go to war. With virtually everyone on the Government and opposition benches looking set to vote for air strikes, there is a real danger too that diplomatic and political solutions are side lined yet further – and possibly even made more difficult. The real question should
not be whether to bomb but how we can intensify work politically and diplomatically to address the fundamental hostility between Sunnis and Shias – with regional powers such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia centre stage and support for a fledgling new Iraqi government to deal with seemingly intractable problems like the failures of the Iraqi armed forces, sharing of oil revenues, decentralisation demands and territorial disputes a top priority. Also uppermost in my mind, in a week where it’s been revealed that a young man from Brighton has been killed whilst fighting for ISIL in Syria, is that there is nothing Islamic about what this extremist group are doing. That as well as embarking upon a concerted effort to find a political solution to the current crisis, we must also redouble our efforts to tackle the radicalisation of some members of our communities, and redouble our efforts to address deeply worrying levels of anti-Muslim sentiment and incidents. Our best hope of reducing the numbers radicalised would
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be to champion a new foreign policy doctrine based on clear principles, consistently applied. This should not include selling arms to brutal regimes like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It should not include tolerating war crimes in Gaza. We must stand up for international law. Being the only Green MP can be lonely at times, especially on days like today. But my inbox this morning is full of messages from constituents urging me to vote against air strikes and I know that when I stand up and oppose the Government’s motion, I am representing the views of many.
Promoted by Brighton and Hove Green Party, 39-41 Surrey Street, Brighton BN1 3PB. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01273 766670 Printed by Iliffe Press, Winship Rd, Milton, Cambridge CB24 6PP
9 | Greenleaf Autumnr 2014
Continued articles Urban Paradise
En ha nci ng Br ighton’s environment is the aim of the ambitious Valley Gardens proposal, which if passed, will transform Brighton’s central area from the Level to Old Steine. The plans embody the holistic “Green Infrastructure” approach by providing more streamlined travel routes into the city as well as enhanced tree coverage, sustainable drainage, and attractive landscaping. The area is under-used, rarely visited by residents or tourists, yet is ideally placed to become a stunning centrepiece to the city, providing economic as well as social benefits. But the Biosphere project is not just about changes residents will see happening around them. Empowering local residents to participate is a core principle of the five-year strategy. Challenges such as climate change affect everyone, and there is great potential in our city for developing connections between local people and the quality, culture and heritage of their environment. Pete West, Green Councillor and Chair of
the Environment, Sustainability and Transport Committee, consulted extensively with local people about the Biosphere Project. “The response was wholly positive. What people really grasped was that their environment is special, and that they’re very proud of it. I’m really keen to see this profoundly important designation work, it can really help to shape a better future.” Brighton and Hove Allotment Federation have been at the forefront of changes led by local residents. Site representatives, allotmenteers and volunteers will play a key role in the city’s new Allotment Strategy for 2014-2024, promoting organic gardening, cutting down on use of chemicals, increasing composting and reducing water consumption. These measures all help to meet the city’s Biosphere objectives, which include the social benefits of greater participation and ownership of their environment. So the new designation means many things. To give just a few examples, it is international
NHS not for sale Continued from page 6
The Tories promised to “cut the deficit, not the NHS” before the election, a promise they did not stick to when they began making £20bn of cuts when they began making £20bn of cuts. Every voice of objection raised will help make it more likely that the NHS, a cherished national institution which has served generations of families over decades, stays with us for generations to come.”
What is the biosphere?
Continued from page 7
Brighton Green MP Caroline Lucas has already supported a draft NHS Reinstatement Bill that would reverse damaging reforms and restore the NHS fully back into public hands, reinstating the Government’s legal duty to provide the NHS in England. For more on protecting our NHS: w w w. c a r o l i n e l u c a s . c o m / issues/health
accolade which can attract visitors and raise Brighton and Hove’s profile as a pioneer of sustainable living. It will provide countless opportunities for residents and visitors to learn about their diverse environment, and to connect with their local culture and heritage. In fact, involving residents, visitors, pupils, students, businesses, and a wide range of community organisations is part of the ambition behind this distinctive status. The Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere Project recognises the environmental, social and economic challenges we face and provides a creative framework for addressing them together. As Pete West puts it: “Biosphere status adds to our ambitious work on sustainability as the world’s first One Planet City. But
it also gives us the opportunity to raise greater awareness about our environment locally, puts us on the world map as a place to visit and invest, and it opens the door to attracting more funding to the city. Our Biosphere will help everyone learn about and enjoy the wealth of nature on our doorsteps, help us conserve and enhance it, and set us up for exciting opportunities ahead.” Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere website: http://biospherehere.org.uk/ Biosphere Management Strategy: http://biospherehere.org.uk/wp/ wp-content/uploads/2013/09/ Biosphere%20Management%20 Strategy_2014-19.pdf
The biosphere is a term that covers life, land, water and the air.
What is a biosphere reserve?
A biosphere reserve is an area that has been recognised for its unique mix of plants and animals, valued environment and sustainable way of life of the people who live and work within the biosphere reserve. The biosphere reserves are chosen by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) but rely on local cooperation to ensure the careful management of the resources within biosphere reserves that allow development without harming the area for future generations.
Where is our biosphere reserve?
The city of Brighton and Hove, along with the coastal communities and downland between the River Adur to the west and the Ouse to the east and extending two nautical miles out to sea, is the area that has been awarded official UNESCO Biosphere designation.
Have I heard of any other biospheres?
There are 631 Biosphere sites, spanning 119 different countries. The UK the sites include North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve, the North Norfolk Coast, Biosffer Dyfi Biosphere in Wales, Galloway & South Ayreshire and Beinn Eighe, in Scotland.
10 | GreenleafAutumn 2014
Continued articles City of the Year! Councillor Ian Davey, lead member for Transport writes: “Making the shift to sustainable transport is not easy, but it is essential. We
Continued from page 7
are a growing city, and our often narrow roads simply don’t have the room for more private vehicles. The only way we can keep our city moving and economy growing is by making it easier for residents and visitors to choose walking, cycling and public transport to
get around. “I’m over the moon that under the Greens, our city has been recognised as the best in Europe for making our streets safer and more peoplefriendly.”
Green Euro- World class MP’s animal city beach welfare role Brighton was recently declared Continued from page 5
Green MEP Keith Taylor
BRIGHTON & HOVE IS A WINNER WHEN IT COMES TO TRANSPORT FUNDING The capital investment vital to build a modern sustainable transport network has been won by the city bidding for grants - with unprecedented success under the Greens. PROJECT
Edward Street and Valley Gardens bus routes
Department for Transport (‘Better Bus Area’)
Department for Transport (Local Sustainable Transport Fund)
Old Shoreham Road cycle paths and pedestrian crossings
Sustrans (‘Links to School’)
Seven Dials redesign
Department for Transport (‘Cycle Safety Grant’)
Cycle hub at Brighton Station
Department for Transport/ Southern Rail/ Network Rail
Improving access to the National Park by bike, foot and bus
Department for Transport (‘Linking Communities’/ Local Sustainable Transport Fund)
Reducing emissions from buses in the city
Department for Transport (‘Greener Bus Fund’ - joint bid with Brighton and Hove Bus Company)
Redesign of Valley Gardens
Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal
Low-emission taxi minibuses
Department for Transport (‘Clean Vehicle Transport Fund’) Total value (as of July 2014)
When not in use it will be a recreational seating area for the general public. Green councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, chair of planning committee, said, “In a fitting memorial to the late playwright Adrian Bunting, it will offer a unique stage for theatre and the spoken word in the open air. The city’s younger actors will have an extra venue where they can tread the boards and gain confidence in the performing arts.” “A valuable new asset has been brought to the local community and to the wider city. A suitably sublime and theatrical way to bring people to Dyke Road Park, which will in turn help it survive and thrive. I wish it every success.”
From bowling green to open air theatre Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of Economic Development & Culture Committee has welcomed planning approval to turn a mothballed bowling green into an open air theatre after months of hard work.. The public space in Dyke Road Park, will undergo extensive landscaping to form an amphitheatre shape, with a three-metre acoustic wall to restrain noise during performances. A charity Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT) will manage the facility with the opportunity for local schools, colleges, community groups and visiting productions to play their hand at open air drama.
“Whether I´m calling for bans on live exports, on bullfighting or neonicotinoid pesticides, or an end to the badger cull or cruel farming practices, or for improvements in animal-free testing and control of puppy farms, I am fiercely committed to the protection of animals’ health and habitats. We must speak up for the animals, for they have no voice of their own. “That´s why pushing for stronger regulations for all animals is right at the top of my priorities in the European Parliament.”
to have the 4th best city beach in the world by the CNN Travel website, putting us ahead of Barcelona, Miami and Jumeirah. While other countries might have guaranteed sunny weather, our unique twist on the British seaside resort and the energy and charm of our residents and businesses are unrivalled. Brighton was also recognised by Condé Nast Traveller magazine which voted Brighton and Hove ‘Best UK city for restaurants and bars’ With around 8.5 million visitors we’re a major yearround European business conference and tourist destination. This brings some £772 million to our local businesses including hotels, restaurants and retailers. Over 18,000 jobs are supported by visitors opening their wallets.
Jason Kitcat with the i360 team
This summer, work got underway on the i360, confounding the critics who said it would never be built. Designed by the same team that created the London Eye, when it opens in 2016 800,000 visitors are expected to take to the skies. The UK Public Works Loan Board is financing the scheme. By acting as a broker the council will earn £1m per year in interest, plus a share of ticket sales - money which will be reinvested in the seafront.
11 | Greenleaf Autumnr 2014
Continued articles Do you need a pay rise? Continued from page 2
Councillor Phélim MacCafferty
“David Freud the Welfare Minister outrageously said some disabled people “are not worth the minimum wage. These are among the many important reasons why we took to the streets to tell the Coalition Government that enough is enough. “In research conducted by the TUC, British workers are suffering the longest and most severe decline in real earnings since the 1850s.
“If the economy is improving as Chancellor George Osborne claims, it’s certainly not improving for most working people in our city. So many new jobs are insecure, low-paid and self-employed meaning that too many workers have not felt any of ‘the recovery’. “Our council has introduced a Living Wage for staff and kick-started one of the most successful business-led campaigns in the country. “We need the government to follow suit and implement fair wages for workers the length and breadth of the country. “I want to thank Brighton Trades Council for organising nothing less than a whole sponsored train to London.”
Food for life
A new library
Continued from page 2
Mile Oak, Portslade
Deputy Leader of the Council Ruth Buckley, who pushed for improvements said: “Time and time again research shows healthy school meals are absolutely vital to helping kids study at school and get the most out of their school day. It also creates good habits for life. By improving standards, we are able to not only provide better school dinners, but also support local farmers and ethical producers. “I’m delighted that the Greens have been able to fulfil our pledge to improve school meals, and look forward to working towards gold status.”
Mile Oak has welcomed the opening of the new community library in Mile Oak, the second (after Woodingdean Library earlier this year) to open in the city since the Greens took administration in May 2011. The new facilities are a third larger than the previous library in the neighbourhood. Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of Economic Development and Culture Committee said: “Once again we’re bucking the trend. At a time when the Labour council in Liverpool is proposing to close 11 libraries, we’re able to open new and improved facilities.”
Seafront splendour Some of our incredible seafront Victorian structures are up to 200 years old and over decades, have fallen into disrepair. This not only threatened the structure of the seafront road above, but was a waste of prime space on our beach. Unfortunately these marvellous Victorian structures had reached the end of their lives. So two years ago we began work on not just patching up, but fully rebuilding these arches. Now we have a stable road, a new promenade, and new public toilets. At beach level we’ve restored 26 former fishermen’s rests now home to 10 local businesses, including Finn Hopson’s new gallery Brighton Photography. Finn says “It’s a huge privilege being part of such an exciting development on the beach. “The council have done an amazing job of restoring the exterior whilst giving us a fantastic, practical space inside from where we can run
Brighton Photography gallery
The council is rebuilding other sections of the seafront, too. And, while there will be some short-term disruption on the prom, this work will ensure our seafront remains standing for many more years to come.
Coming clean on rubbish
Standing up for schools
Continued from page 6
Continued from page 2
Have you got any examples of how residents can help reduce their household waste?
Where can residents find out more on how to reduce their waste?
Food and green waste makes up a large proportion of what is thrown away. We offer subsidised ‘Green Joanna’ home food waste composters to enable residents with gardens or outdoor space to produce their own compost.
There are a number of brilliant organisations in the city that are helping to tackle waste. Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has helpful tips on how to save money by cutting down wasted food. Freegle helps match up people who have things they don’t need with people who want them. And finally Brighton Repair Café helps people learn how to give things a new lease of life.
Those without space can join their local community composting scheme - we now have 18 schemes up and running across the city. • Community Compost Schemes: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ community-composting
Brunswick & Adelaide
Phelim MacCafferty Tel: 291357 @Phelimmac
Christopher Hawtree Tel: 291144 @chrishawtree
Rob Jarrett Tel: 291148
Ollie Sykes Tel: 291413
Goldsmid Ruth Buckley Tel: 291135
our businesses. With the i360 finally under way it feels like this part of the beach is going to become another one of the vibrant, creative places that Brighton does so well.”
Alexandra Phillips Tel: 294539 @alexforgoldsmid
• Food Partnership: bhfood.org.uk • Freegle: www.ilovefreegle.org/ brighton
I believe all children should have access to high quality provision and that also means staff getting the necessary support, training and curriculum time to teach it well. So I’ve been delighted to see such strong cross-party support for my call in Parliament to make the subject statutory and make a crucial difference to the health, safety and wellbeing of our kids. I’ll continue to stand up in Parliament – and locally – for an education system that puts our children and teachers first. A huge thank you to all the people who make our local schools so special.
• Repair Café: brightonrepaircafe. wordpress.com
Your Green Councillors Brighton and Hove’s Green councillors are here to help you on issues that concern you most. You can follow some on Twitter, too. For more information on councillors, visit www.brightonhovegreens.org To email a councillor, write to: email@example.com
Community newspaper Brighton and Hove, Sussex, UK