Bristol Green Party Logo

Thursday, 20th Feb 2020

Green budget amendment tackles transport and climate crisis

Green councillors have submitted a budget amendment to next week’s Budget Full Council to boost the Council’s work to tackle the climate emergency. The amendment allocates almost £10m for the housing department to dramatically scale up ‘retrofitting’ improvements and renewable energy schemes on council houses. It also proposes training council staff and apprentices to install low carbon and green technologies like heat pumps. To tackle the city’s gridlocked traffic system as well as the climate crisis, the amendment earmarks over 12 million pounds for transport improvement works in the city, focusing on local walking and cycling improvements.

In order to help fund transport improvements Greens propose a congestion charge on out-of-town drivers which could raise over £6m per year, and starting work on plans for a charge on companies that provide private workplace parking (a workplace parking levy). Cardiff council is planning a similar congestion charge to boost its transport plans and in Nottingham a workplace parking levy has raised over £44 million in 5 years, used to fund the city’s tram network.

As well as raising funding for transport improvements such as making buses faster and cheaper or pedestrianising parts of the city, these changes would reduce the number of private cars in the city centre, thereby improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions, reducing bus journey delays and making it easier for people to walk and cycle.

"After years of talk with no action from politicians, Bristol is crying out for practical answers to the city’s problems."

Leader of the Green Group, councillor Eleanor Combley said:

After four long years, in the Labour administration’s final budget, the sense of urgency to tackle Climate Change is still lacking. And where are the big ideas to unstick our transport system and get our city moving again? After years of talk with no action from politicians, Bristol is crying out for practical answers to the city’s problems.

“In our amendment to the budget we have proposed simple and necessary work to reduce our climate impact and tackle long-standing problems for Bristol. Adding solar panels and battery storage to council houses and improving their heat efficiency will lower people’s energy bills and carbon emissions, and generate green energy for Bristol, while creating much needed employment. We’ve found funding to train up council workers with the skills the city’s going to need to install green technology like heat pumps. To address years of stagnation in Bristol’s transport, we’re allocating money to make walking and cycling improvements actually happen rather than leaving it to the lottery of grant applications.

“Finally, we’re proposing action to deal with our city’s interlinked problems of air pollution and traffic chaos. Ultimately you cannot tackle either of these without addressing the root cause: there are just too many private vehicles in the centre of town. Our amendment would fund better buses, raising millions of pounds to improve public transport – through introducing a congestion charge for those driving into Bristol from out of town. This addresses the gridlocked traffic system that costs buses more and stops them running on time. 

“If accepted at the budget meeting our amendment would help get Bristol moving again and take urgent action to address the climate crisis. As opposition councillors we do what we can for Bristol, but at the end of the day we need leadership in this city that deep down understands these issues and treats them as priorities rather than window dressing.”

More information on the Green amendment is below. For full details, see pages 210 to 212 in the reports pack submitted to the council meeting here. Update: see also the attached document.

Cycling and walking improvements

These measures would set money aside for cycling and walking infrastructure each year to ensure it is delivered, as opposed to the current approach which bids for small pots of government funding as and when it is available.

Bristol’s current piecemeal approach to cycling and walking infrastructure is in part due to its reliance on small one-off pots of grant funding, released occasionally by central government. While the Council’s transport plans in theory prioritise cycling and walking, in practice money is frequently set aside for roads and not for the other infrastructure. The Green amendment would deal with this and guarantee delivery by setting £8.75m aside over five years for cycling and walking infrastructure projects identified in the Council’s recent Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan.

On top of this in year 5 (2024/25) the Greens expect revenue from the congestion charge to be available and from this would allocate an extra £4 million for local transport improvements. This could include new bike lanes, low-traffic neighbourhood schemes, pedestrian-only areas, making changes to roads to speed up bus journey times or subsidising bus routes and reducing ticket costs.

Retrofitting Council houses with insulation, solar panels and battery storage, plus upskilling council staff

These measures would help tackle the climate emergency by insulating much more council housing to good standards, piloting solar panels and battery storage to council buildings, and training council staff and hiring apprentices to install renewable energy and low carbon technologies such as heat pumps.

The Green amendment would allocate £9.9m to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) to scale up retrofitting work and piloting renewable energy projects with Bristol’s council housing stock. Just over a quarter (around 27%) of council homes have an energy efficiency rating of D or below, which means higher carbon emissions and energy bills for residents. The Green amendment would prioritise these first, before moving onto the thousands more with a rating of C. Retrofitting work would improve insulation, but also look at preventing overheating which will become more of an issue in the coming years. The amendment would also scale up a planned trial of solar panels and battery storage on council housing. This would reduce people’s energy bills as well as generate green energy for the city with surplus electricity.

At the same time, the amendment provides funding to train council staff on changing low carbon and renewable energy technologies, so the Council can complete installation and maintenance in-house, and hire up to twelve apprentices in those areas, helping to develop a workforce in Bristol which is able to fill the skilled Green jobs of the future.

Congestion charge and Workplace parking levy

These measures would reduce private car use in the city centre and raise money to fund improvements to public transport or for cycling and walking infrastructure.

A congestion charge would apply only to commuters from outside Bristol. A similar charge is being introduced by Cardiff Council to support a package of transport changes including cheaper bus fares. Last year finance officers approved Green calculations that this could generate over £6 million in revenue each year. In order to reduce the cost this scheme could use the same number-plate recognition cameras the council is already buying for its clean air plans.

Greens also propose funding a feasibility study to build on previous work and take the next steps towards a workplace parking levy. This would introduce a charge on employers in Bristol who provide private workplace parking. (Frequently this is provided as a perk to some of their highest paid employees.) Nottingham used the revenue generated by their scheme to double the size of their tram network and fund other transport work, generating over £44 million between the scheme launch in 2012 and 2017.

Greens welcome first steps towards addressing Bristols dirty air

Greens welcome first steps towards addressing Bristol’s dirty air

Green councillors have welcomed the announcement that next week Bristol bridge, Baldwin Street and Union Street will be closed to through traffic and new bike lanes installed along Park Row, Upper Maudlin Street and Marlborough Street. The changes mark much needed first steps towards improving dangerous levels of air pollution in Bristol. They will also help people move safely about our city during the pandemic by making more room for walking and cycling.

Greens respond to Council licensing changes

Greens respond to Council licensing changes

Bristol’s Green Councillors have expressed solidarity with communities concerned about the loss of Cumulative Impact Areas, and promised to continue to support the residents they represent.

Greens support trans rights protest 18th July

Greens support trans rights protest 18th July

Cleo Lake welcomes new statue on Colston plinth

Cleo Lake welcomes new statue on Colston plinth

Bristol’s former Lord Mayor and artist Cleo Lake welcomed the filling of a ‘political vacuum’ in Bristol by a black woman and black lives matter activist.

Mayor has questions to answer on investment in clean energy

Mayor has questions to answer on investment in clean energy

Bristol’s Green Councillors say that the Mayor has tough questions to answer about the City Leap project, which was supposed to be delivering funding for clean energy across the City.

Green Budget Amendment creates more space for foster families

Green Budget Amendment creates more space for foster families

The first family is already benefiting from new rooms in a pilot scheme set up by Bristol City Council thanks to Green councillor Martin Fodor’s budget amendment, which pays for extra rooms in cramped council housing. Bristol has a shortage of larger council houses – the waiting list is twice as long as for smaller properties, and families needing larger homes have to wait for around 2 years.

Cleo Lake to ask Mayor to lobby government over reparations

Cleo Lake to ask Mayor to lobby government over reparations

At a Bristol Council meeting on Tuesday 7 July, Green Councillor Cleo Lake, activist and former Lord Mayor, will ask the Mayor to lobby the government to set up a commission to acknowledge, apologise and instigate reparations for the UK’s role in the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans.

Clean air is a right not a luxury

Clean air is a right not a luxury

“Our right to clean air is as basic and important as our right to clean drinking water. It’s now nearly 4 years since the Council passed a Green motion calling for a Clean Air Zone and yet despite the Council spending millions of pounds on consultants, Bristol is no closer to clean, breathable air. After four years of failure from Marvin Rees to act on clean air, I fully support protesters taking peaceful socially-distanced action to voice their frustration at the city's continuing illegal and unsafe air quality and call on the Mayor to speak with the protesters to explain just how he intends to clean up Bristol's air, with the urgency that is needed."

Good progress on homelessness but MPs must do more nationally

Good progress on homelessness but MPs must do more nationally

Green councillor and Bristol West MP candidate Carla Denyer has praised staff at Bristol City Council for their work tackling homelessness during lockdown [1], but highlighted that some more radical changes are still needed to fix the UK’s broken housing system. Councillor Denyer has called on the Government to do all it can to support renters, but has also made a particular plea to local Labour MP and Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire to reconsider her party’s proposals [2], which seem to favour landlords over their tenants.

Green Councillor Carla Denyer named one of the top women in engineering

Green Councillor Carla Denyer named one of the top women in engineering

Green Councillor Carla Denyer has been named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2020 by the Women’s Engineering Society.

Bristol needs clean air now

Bristol needs clean air now

As Extinction Rebellion gears up for a week of action and protests around Bristol’s illegal air quality levels, Green Councillors say clean air is now more important than ever. With growing evidence that dirty air exacerbates the impact of coronavirus and growing calls for a nationwide review on the Government’s air quality strategy, Greens say the time for talking is over – immediate action is now needed to clean up Bristol’s dangerous air.

Prevent a second wave of Coronavirus  give Bristol tools to track and trace

Prevent a second wave of Coronavirus – give Bristol tools to track and trace

As lockdown restrictions are eased in Bristol, early evidence suggests the government’s ‘track and trace’ program is not reaching enough people to be effective.

Let this mark a new era for Bristol

Let this mark a new era for Bristol

Green Party Councillors in Bristol and the Green mayoral candidate join the voices calling for a new era to begin, now that Colston's statue, and the oppression it represents, no longer looks out over Bristol.

Safe streets needed now

Safe streets needed now

As more people return to work and children return to school it is more important than ever that we have streets that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and enable social distancing, Bristol’s Green Councillors have said.

Greens of Colour call for independent COVID inquiry to factor in institutional racism

Greens of Colour call for independent COVID inquiry to factor in institutional racism

Green Party demands independent BAME Covid-19 inquiry: The Green Party has backed calls for an independent inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black, Asian and minority ethnic people. Greens of Colour chairperson Azzees Minott said: “The government’s inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on BAME people has let communities of colour down.

Tackle rising unemployment with a Green New Deal

Tackle rising unemployment with a Green New Deal

Green councillors have been calling for a ‘Green New Deal’ to reboot the economy, provide jobs and tackle the climate crisis. On 2nd June Bristol City Council's Cabinet meeting included the news that the Council is forecasting a funding gap of around £86 million as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is made up of a combination of loss of income and additional expenditure to pay for the response to the emergency. Unemployment is also forecast to rise steeply in coming months.

Bristols carbon neutral 2030 target essential

Bristol's carbon neutral 2030 target essential

Green Councillor Carla Denyer proposed Bristol Council’s original Climate Emergency motion – the first of its kind in Europe – in November 2018. She said: “Hidden away on page 107 is a warning that there is now a high risk of failure to deliver the Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. This is very concerning. We cannot afford to lurch from one emergency to another. Some form of Green New Deal is essential to help the city and country to ‘build back better’. A green recovery is the only way to deal with the huge economic challenges while tackling the climate crisis, creating security and leaving behind the inequality that has damaged our society for so long.”

Secrecy and concealment as Bristol Energy loses millions of pounds

Secrecy and concealment as Bristol Energy loses millions of pounds

Bristol Energy has lost tens of millions of pounds of Council tax payers money, so Greens ask why this week's Cabinet meeting will hold the discussion's on what has gone wrong in secret.

Cleo Lake launches GiveNTech campaign to tackle digital exclusion

Cleo Lake launches #GiveNTech campaign to tackle digital exclusion

Green Councillor Cleo Lake has launched a campaign to redistribute unused IT equipment to tackle digital exclusion during pandemic

Protecting renters shouldnt mean that renters pay more

‘Protecting renters’ shouldn’t mean that renters pay more

Green Councillor Carla Denyer has responded with alarm to Labour’s ‘five-point plan to protect renters’, which would require struggling tenants to take an economic hit, rather than landlords.

Trace every case of coronavirus to save lives

Trace every case of coronavirus to save lives

Bristol’s Green Party councillors have called for a new local emergency workforce to “contact trace” new cases of coronavirus to be ready for when the country emerges from lockdown. They call for a local system of testing, contact tracing and quarantine which would enable us to take control of the deadly coronavirus, save lives and avoid further lockdown. The call follows a Green report (1) on the issue published earlier in the month and increasing calls from public health officials for Government to rethink its centralized approach which puts too much focus on a tracing app without the wider system of support needed. (2)

People need clean safe air now more than ever  Greens call on Mayor to rethink delays

“People need clean, safe air now more than ever” - Greens call on Mayor to rethink delays

Bristol’s Green Councillors have questioned the Mayor‘s calls to delay the start date of Bristol’s Clean Air Zone next year, pointing to mounting evidence that air pollution is linked to greater fatalities from Coronavirus

Green Councillors more funding needed for coronavirus support

Green Councillors: more funding needed for coronavirus support

Bristol Green councillors have joined Green councillors from across the country demanding urgent funding for local authorities to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus Bristol Greens call for calmer streets and more space for social distancing

Coronavirus: Bristol Greens call for calmer streets and more space for social distancing

Bristol’s Green Councillor group have today (Wednesday April 15) called on Bristol Council to look into road space reallocation and traffic calming measures to combat coronavirus.

Information and support in Bristol

Information and support in Bristol

Coronovirus (COVID 19) – what we all need to know We must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home). If you have to go out stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people. Wash your hands as soon as you get home. Do not meet others, even friends or family as you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

We will continue to work hard for you

We will continue to work hard for you

We have all been affected in different ways by the coronavirus pandemic, but it is the most vulnerable across our city who continue to be impacted the most.

A defunct plan for a bygone era  regional authority approves roadbuilding plans

A defunct plan for a bygone era” - regional authority approves road-building plans

Last Friday (20 March) the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) approved a transport plan that will fund new road building projects across the region but commits no funding for public transport or walking and cycling schemes.

Greens lift the ban on asylum seekers working

Greens: 'lift the ban' on asylum seekers working

Green Councillors call for end to illogical ban on asylum seekers supporting themselves

Council heading in wrong direction on climate emergency

Council heading in wrong direction on climate emergency

Over a year after Bristol Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency, Green Councillors say the Labour administration are making a series of bad decisions that will only make the emergency worse.

Mayors inaction on air pollution  plans delayed again

Mayor's inaction on air pollution - plans delayed again

Letter on the Mayor's inaction on air pollution from Green Group leader Eleanor Combley

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience, by using our website you accept the use of these cookies. Read More Close