The Greens have been at the forefront of improving our environment and making our city sustainable, pushing the council to make change happen.
The Greens have clearly been the major force behind moves to create a sustainable Oxford and countless initiatives can be traced back to Green budget amendments, questions or motions to the City Council.
When Greens held the balance of power on the City Council 2004-2008, we succeeded in creating a sustainability programme and increased recycling. The amount of waste generated by our society is scandalous and an ineffective use of resources. The present administration’s record on waste management is poor and there is still a great deal to do if we are to make Oxford into a truly sustainable city.
Over the years, Green Councillors have been the foremost advocates of moves to tackle climate change. The City is now recognised as a leading authority in tackling climate change, primarily because of the constant efforts of Green councillors to focus the work of the Council on achieving energy efficiency and reducing emissions.
Recent years have shown the local impact of climate change fully with issues such as flooding and local storm damage from freak weather occurring year on year. Only the Greens are committed to reducing the carbon footprint across the board from all of Oxford’s sources of emissions and taking the lead on other environmental matters.
Greens highlight the scientific consensus on climate change. It is happening to us now in Oxford and we must face up to the likelihood of all sorts of threats from weather changes, one of the most pressing at this time being flooding. We recognise however that it is going to be vital for us to adapt to a whole range of challenges by ensuring we have access to a good supply of locally produced food and that there is adequate clean water should there be drought and the air we breathe does not damage our health.
- Pressed for improvements in sustainability saving Council energy bills by better insulation schemes and reducing Council waste.
- Were behind virtually every sustainable policy initiative such as food waste collection, green energy suppliers for the Council, local Farmers’ Markets, promoting allotments, the Local Car Club and many, many more Green initiatives.
- Pushed for the Council to adopt a Fairtrade policy for its suppliers.
- Established a Climate Change officer team to improve the City Council performance at cutting its climate emissions and providing the expertise to do the job.
- Ensured Redbridge Waste Centre was retained for domestic users.
- Ensured food waste collection returned to free of charge.
The Green Party will:
- Work with other authorities to create a municipal energy provider using renewable systems such as solar farms and hydro schemes to generate local energy at cheaper rates.
- Build into our alternative budgets real systems of insulation in all Council housing and municipal buildings.
- Create Low Emission Zones across the City that have real regulations that will deliver genuine reductions in pollution rather than purely a wish list.
- Demand a dramatic increase in present stagnant recycling rates to at least 80% and set the date for zero land fill as 2020.
- Push for a greater number of more varied types of recycling centres focusing on different products and a quicker response time to clear grot spots, and oppose incineration.
- Push for real improvements in waste disposal with more staff committed to litter collection, Green space blitzing, and deep clean programmes.
- Promote a Zero Waste approach in which all types of waste are assessed for re-use and recycling, creating new, useful employment as a result.
- Push for growth in home grown food by developing community gardens, sale and production of local food, and enhancing allotments, as we are aware that food will become increasingly costly in family budgets.
- Ensure support against flooding by protecting local communities, but also pursuing a whole river basin approach that recognises that environmentally sensitive measures are required that will lessen the volumes of water coming down from the upper Thames and its tributaries.
- Support water conservation measures by all users. Development agreements must include a commitment from developers to install water butts on new houses, provide means of using greywater for toilet flushing and low water use appliances as standard fixtures in new and refurbished homes.
- Introduce a water poverty standard similar to the fuel poverty standard in its original form (rather than as redefined by the Coalition Government to reduce numbers in fuel poverty). Oxfordshire Green Party urges the Government to give consideration to setting 3% of net income as the level above which it is unreasonable to expect a household to meet water charges, acknowledge a higher expenditure to imply water poverty, and develop policies to reduce the numbers of households affected.