Carla is a Councillor for Clifton Down ward alongside Tom Hathway, MP candidate for Bristol West, and Co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. This page is about her role as Councillor.
Carla is an award-winning councillor who led Bristol in declaring the first Climate Emergency in Europe, committing the city to go carbon neutral by 2030. She became Co-leader of the Green Party in 2021.
In recognition of her work on the Climate Emergency, Carla has been named politician of the year by The Big Green Politics Podcast, given the Outstanding Achievement Award by the LGA Independent Group, been named one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering, and was also nominated in the LGiU councillor achievement awards and the Bristol Diversity Awards.
Carla wrote and proposed a motion to Bristol City Council in November 2018 calling on the Mayor to declare a climate emergency and bring Bristol’s CO2 emissions target forwards 20 years to 2030. Councillors from all parties unanimously backed the motion, meaning that Bristol now has ambitious emissions targets with radical policy implications. This was the first Climate Emergency declaration in Europe. Since then, three-quarters of UK councils have followed suit by passing similar motions, plus many universities, businesses and other organisations. The main demands of the motion were:
Eight weeks later the Green Group published their ‘Change Starts Now’ report outlining the first steps Bristol City Council needs to take, and the Green Group continues to make proposals and hold the administration to account on delivery towards this carbon-neutral target.
In Clifton Down ward, Carla’s priorities include integrated and reliable transport options for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport alike, as well as campaigning for affordable and decent housing for everyone through measures such as landlord licensing and rent controls. In 2016 Carla called on the Mayor and Cabinet to look at extending the city’s existing landlord licensing scheme to other areas of the city and in 2019 the Cabinet did just that. Carla also hopes to increase council service responsiveness and safeguard and develop community facilities including Redland Library. And Carla teamed up with University of Bristol student ambassadors and a local community association to improve street lighting in unsafe dark spots around St. John’s Road. Elsewhere in the ward, Carla has been supporting local residents to apply for funding to make a community centre wheelchair accessible, and improve road safety outside a primary school.
When the Labour administration planned cuts to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme, Carla challenged Labour’s proposal on the grounds that it would result in a tax rise for the city’s poorest households. Working alongside ACORN tenants union, she and other Green councillors successfully persuaded the Mayor to announce a u-turn on his proposals. Carla has also been involved in drafting and proposing Green amendments to Council Budgets to prevent some of the worst cuts to essential Council services – in February 2018 her amendment to reverse some of Labour’s damaging cuts to the vital Local Crisis Prevention Fund (which provides emergency payments for some of the most vulnerable people in the City) was successfully passed at the Council’s annual budget meeting.
Carla has also pushed forwards with several different campaigns including the Air Quality campaign to improve Bristol’s air, calls to increase affordable housing, the proposal of a Bristol living rent and fossil fuel divestment (which was instrumental in the University’s full divestment commitment announced in March 2018).