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Devon County Council elections: Green Party manifesto

By NDJNews  |  Posted: April 08, 2013

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The Green Party has published its manifesto for the Devon County Council elections in which it pledges to reverse all planned incinerators and to scrap all incineration contracts where possible.

The party says its manifesto provides a set of distinctive and deliverable policies that elected Green Councillors will work hard to implement.

It says:

"The Green Party is the only Party that can offer the bold yet desirable solutions to the many social, economic and environmental challenges facing us. Our manifesto is guided by our

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commitments to social and environmental justice. We believe in equality, a prosperous and resilient local economy and community participation."

The Green Party manifesto states:

Economic stability:

Green Party County Councillors will strive for economic stability, equality and sustainability and focus on the needs of the least fortunate.

Our priorities will be to create more quality jobs and fairer pay levels, which enhance quality of life and in turn increase productivity and profitability for local businesses and enterprises.

We believe a resilient economy is built on locally based economic activity which keeps money circulating in communities.

We will:

Introduce a Living Wage for all County Council employees.

Introduce the Living Wage Employer Mark to Devon, based on the successful scheme in London

Move towards a circular economy; one which uses and re-uses materials, encouraging re-manufacturing, less consumption and less waste.

Support the growth of innovation in the renewable energy generating sector, manufacturing and the knowledge-based sector.

Lead a Devon-wide Buy Local, Buy Green campaign to prioritise procurement of local and sustainable produce.

Support Farmers’ Markets through more permanent market sites, improved infrastructure, increased frequency and wider promotion to help them flourish.

Support the Transition Town movement across the county and publicise ideas, initiatives and achievements to build more resilient local economies.

Green Party County Councillors will oppose cuts to public services.

We believe they are not only morally wrong but also financially short-sighted.

Many public services save far more money than they cost, because they prevent social and health problems.

We will seek to increase the status of working in the public sector, to increase wages and reduce excessive private profit in health and care sectors.

We will:

Work to ensure the highest quality services are delivered to all the people of Devon in all their diversity.

Focus on returning services in-house wherever possible.

Focus on vulnerable people as a priority and ensure that care is based on need.

Embrace trade unions as important partners in forming policy regarding public service delivery and in achieving and maintaining fair pay and conditions for employees within public

services.

Invest in the workforce to increase training opportunities and job satisfaction for those doing ‘unskilled’ jobs and we will recognise and celebrate the value of such work.

Planning

Green Party County Councillors will seek planning solutions that help Devon maximise its natural and human resources while preserving and enhancing the environment.

We will:

Consider the impacts of all planning decisions on future generations.

Ensure that flood risk assessment, water supply, energy conservation, energy generation and carbon emissions are central to planning decisions.

Challenge regional economic and housing growth forecasts to agree more realistic and sustainable projections.

Prioritise development on brownfield sites and prioritise social needs when making decisions about how to use these sites.

Balance the needs of our rural heritage and National Parks with local economic needs such as supporting the region’s growing renewable energygenerating, manufacturing and

knowledge-based sectors.

Involve local people appropriately when considering strategic planning decisions.

Energy and climate change Green Party County Councillors will ensure that the people and businesses in Devon get the help they need to reduce their fuel bills and, where possible, to

generate their own energy from renewable sources.

We will lead by example by making the Council dramatically reduce its own energy use and will work with others to ensure that the County is better prepared to deal with more frequent

extreme weather events.

We will:

Ensure the development and use of renewable energy technologies and oppose nuclear and fossil fuel based energy generation.

Prioritise the development of renewable energy technologies which are community owned.

Instigate a county-wide energy efficiency and insulation programme targeting residents living in fuel poverty as a priority.

Ensure that 100% of electricity used in DCC offices is sourced from renewables by 2015.

Work with others to deliver an education and media campaign to keep climate change at the forefront of people’s minds and encourage behavioural change across all sections of the

community.

Transport

Green County Councillors will seek to create a transport network in Devon that is integrated, affordable, safe and accessible for all.

We will push for measures that have been shown to decrease traffic levels, reduce health-damaging levels of air pollution and provide funding for sustainable transport solutions.

Our priorities will be on increasing the safety, convenience and comfort of walking and cycling and improving public transport.

We will:

Set traffic reduction targets to reduce the impacts of congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions.

Introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) on all large employers in major urban areas to secure funding for green sustainable transport solutions.

Ensure transport considerations are integral to all new housing, business or industrial developments; ensure that anyone could live or work happily in such a development without a car.

Improve cycle provision and integration between cycling and public transport through, for example, introducing secure Cycle Park & Ride sites at major bus interchanges.

Make 20mph the default speed on all residential streets across the County; create Home Zones in all new developments.

Establish a dialogue with the public on transport planning, health and safety issues including school pupils and college students and public transport user groups.

Waste as a resource

Green Party County Councillors will operate a waste hierarchy that places waste reduction at the top, followed by reuse and then recycling. We will push for all residual waste to be dealt

with in an environmentally safe manner, be a source of revenue and provide energy.

We will continue to oppose sending any waste to landfill or incineration.

We will:

Reverse all further planned incinerators and terminate all incineration contracts where possible.

Implement alternative technologies to deal with residual waste, such as plasma gasification and anaerobic digestion, for the safe, efficient, sustainable conversion of waste into electricity,

gas, soil conditioner and building materials.

Establish community ownership of small waste treatment plants so that local people benefit from the energy generated and gain financial returns.

Provide incentives to encourage the public and businesses to reduce, reuse, repair and minimise waste.

Work with supermarkets and other retailers and the communities they operate in to reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging.

Decision-making

The Green Party believes the highest form of democracy is direct participation, which requires open and informed debate.

We believe people should be able to contribute ideas and evidence that lead to policies and decisions which best serve society, the environment and broad democratic interests.

The Green Party believes that local authorities run by single party cabinets are not in the best interests of local democracy and support a return to a committee system of local government.

We will:

Offer local people a greater say in designing, delivering and monitoring local services by giving them power to set up local neighbourhood

councils with devolved community budgets and decision-making powers.

Provide fully open and transparent government, ensuring Council records and information are easily available.

Ensure open access to information on all public and private organisations performing public functions and/or operating with public funds.

Encourage cross-party cooperation and oppose a system of whipping councillors into line; Green Councillors will call on other parties to support this.

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