Green councillors have expressed their disappointment with the tactics of Bristol’s Labour group after an ‘anonymous Labour source’ falsely claimed to the Bristol Post that Green Lord Mayor Cleo Lake had “demanded the purchase of one of the most expensive cars in the world”.
In reality, the lease on the current Mayoral car is due to expire and the Lord Mayor asked the Council to look into the possibility of electric options with a view to having a vehicle which is lower cost over the lifetime of the vehicle lease, is better for air quality and has lower carbon emissions. The Lord Mayor’s office has also been investigating ‘sponsorship’ options of an electric vehicle, so that the vehicle could come at no cost to the council. As a Bristol City Council spokesperson noted, “Any vehicle replacement would have to be good value for money and be within the existing budget” – a budget which is set by the Labour administration.
Bristol currently has illegal levels of air pollution, which has been linked to early deaths and a growing range of health issues, including increased risk of dementia. The Council is legally obliged to take action and is investigating a Clean Air Zone which could include a charge on polluting vehicles.
The Lord Mayor is a ceremonial, non-political role, and therefore the holder is unable to respond publically. This is why political groups in Bristol have usually respected a tradition of not directing political attacks at the Lord Mayor.