Our policies

For national Green Party policies, go to Green Party of England & Wales

 

St Albans District Green Party manifesto

Would you like:

  • A society that puts people first and works for the common good
  • A planet protected from climate change now and in the future
  • An economy that gives everyone their fair share
  • A publicly funded, publicly provided NHS free at the point of use
  • Affordable and secure homes for all
  • A public transport system that puts passengers first
  • Sustainable local communities
  • Open and accountable decision-making

Greens have the right policies

We have affordable practical ideas for all areas of policy.

Greens are a serious part of political life

We campaign widely and mean what we say. Our support has soared and our membership has quadrupled.

Greens are electable

We've had a hard-working district councillor in St Albans since 2011. The Green Party has an MP, MEPs, Scottish MPs and over 160 local councillors.

If you share our vision, vote for what you believe in

Summary of our policies

Local economy

We will:

  • Promote local buying and food projects
  • Support local businesses
  • Promote adoption of the Living Wage
  • Encourage ethical business practices

Affordable housing

We will:

  • Raise affordable housing quotas to 50%
  • Insulate all homes that needs it
  • Cut the number of unoccupied homes
  • Work to ensure all homes are of acceptable standard

Sustainable travel

We will:

  • Develop a joined-up travel strategy
  • Make walking and cycling safer and more attractive
  • Promote affordable and integrated public transport
  • Adopt a 20mph limit in residential streets

Climate change

We will:

  • Combat air pollution
  • Promote renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Produce a district energy plan
  • Fund an Energy Reduction Officer

Waste and recycling

We will:

  • Support recycling
  • Promote a 'reduce, re-use, repair and recycle' programme
  • Develop a district- wide zero waste policy
  • Work with local retailers to cut down on packaging and celebrate efforts in annual green awards

Planning

We will:

  • Protect communities from harmful development
  • Preserve our city's historic character
  • Protect the Green Belt and open spaces

Green spaces

We will:

  • Improve local green spaces and promote bio-diversity
  • Protect and plant trees
  • Promote local gardening and food growing
  • Discourage loss of front gardens
  • Provide more allotment spaces

Democratic decision-making

We will:

  • Make council language clear and understandable
  • Be open and accountable
  • Make sure consultations are genuine and easy to understand
  • Give local people a direct say in certain spending decisions

Children and young people

We will:

  • Help children to attend nearby schools
  • Open youth clubs and advice centres
  • Work to make services accessible for children with specific needs

Health and social care

We will:

  • Improve facilities for people in vulnerable circumstances
  • Develop a strategy to make neighbourhoods inclusive and accessible
  • Improve help for carers

Policy Sections

Local economy

 

Across the St Albans district, many shops and businesses are struggling. Independent local businesses continue to be replaced by chains with most of the money going out of the area to parent companies. This can be bad news for our local economy and for people who live and work here.

That's why we are passionate about promoting the local economy across the whole of St Albans district. One practical way of doing this is by raising money through a small levy on the biggest retailers (with a rateable value over £500,000). The money raised would be used to support local independent retailers, social enterprises and co-operatives, for example, by offering affordable accommodation for new businesses. Our Green Councillor Simon Grover has already proposed this to St Albans Council.

We need responsible local businesses that generate jobs and make the most of existing local resources. We will work with local businesses to support them in efforts to benefit the environment, for example, by cutting waste and reducing air pollution. We will also encourage farmers' markets and other retailers to promote locally produced food - a crucial factor in helping to cut carbon emissions produced by transporting food across the country.

We will also explore other ways of helping the local economy, for instance, by promoting access to affordable credit, developing community energy projects and looking into the feasibility of having a local currency to be spent locally.

Greens will:

  • Promote local services and businesses, organic food and farmers' markets
  • Encourage sustainable environmental efforts of local businesses
  • Support local small businesses, social enterprises and new business start-ups through a small levy on the biggest retailers
  • Promote a new market-place for local businesses making their own products
  • Support local markets to be vibrant, friendly and accessible community hubs
  • Encourage co-operatives, fair-trade, and ethical banking, support local food projects and reduced food mileage
  • Support initiatives for access to affordable credit and a local currency

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • End austerity and restore the public sector, creating over 1 million jobs that pay at least a living wage
  • Pay for this with a wealth tax on the top 1% and closure of tax loopholes
  • Increase the minimum wage to reach a living wage of at least £10 an hour by 2020
  • Strengthen local authorities' powers to prevent changes of use for important community facilities
  • Keep trade local by allowing local authorities to favour local procurement to help their local economy

Expanded farmer's market: thanks to a Green budget proposal, St Albans popular farmers market was expanded, creating more opportunities to shop locally, more space for businesses, and increased income in stall rents for the council.

Affordable housing

 

Vibrant, successful communities need people to live and work there. But many people who work in St Albans can't afford to live here and young people are often forced to move out.New housing developments are frequently full of expensive buy-to-lets rather than affordable homes. The council should make sure that all landlords keep privately rented homes to acceptable standards.

The Government's introduction of the Bedroom Tax is unfair and penalises people who are in vulnerable circumstances. A Green Council would not evict anyone because they can't pay this iniquitous tax.

We must make homes more energy efficient. That makes them cheaper to heat, more pleasant to live in, and is an effective painless way to cut carbon emissions. Another gain is that it can help to create local jobs.

Greens will:

  • Raise the affordable housing quota to 50% for all new developments
  • Make better use of existing housing stock and other buildings, for example through use of Empty Dwelling Management Orders
  • Help insulate every home that needs it
  • Reduce the number of unoccupied homes with incentives and penalties
  • Support organisations that work to tackle homelessness and provide information, advice and advocacy to people in housing
  • Require development plans to include zero carbon sustainability measures, such as zero carbon housing, nature conservation, traffic reduction and excellent public transport provision
  • Build new council houses and supported homes for people in vulnerable circumstances

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Provide 500,000 social rented homes by 2020 and bring empty homes back into use to ensure everyone has access to an affordable home
  • Cap rents, introduce longer tenancies and licence landlords to provide greater protection for renters
  • Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax
  • Recognise fully the housing needs of people who are disabled, including support with planning and obtaining housing

Greens tabled a two-part debate at St Albans Council to push up the affordable housing quota to 40% and to track whether developers keep to the rules. The council voted in favour but the first part was postponed by the cabinet. The campaign continues!

Sustainable travel

 

People need a variety of ways to get around. Urgent action is also needed to tackle harmful levels of air pollution and avoid St Albans being strangled by traffic. There are a number of locations where levels of pollutant concentrations can be unacceptable such as Holywell Hill in St Albans. Latest figures suggest around 80 people a year in St Albans die prematurely from air pollution.

We need to reduce harmful vehicle emissions. But, faced with crumbling pavements, unreliable buses and poor cycle provision, many people resort to cars if they can afford to do so. The answer is better traffic planning, affordable public transport, improved cycle provision, and safer roads and pavements. Bus services are not directly controlled by councils but they can subsidise some routes. We will campaign for better and affordable bus services that take proper account of the needs of local people.

Greens will:

  • Develop an integrated transport system that flows smoothly, gives people choices and is pleasant to use
  • Press for better monitoring and reporting of air quality across the district and develop practical action plans to cut pollution
  • Promote safer walking through clear information and signposting, rapid fixing of dangerous pavements, and reduced waiting times at crossings
  • Adopt 20mph limit in all residential streets and engage with local residents and schools to encourage a low speed culture
  • Promote safer cycling through more and better cycle lanes, secure bicycle parking, and rapid fixing of dangerous potholes
  • Increase and publicise electric car and taxi charge points
  • Work with schools and local employers to encourage walking, cycling, use of buses and car-sharing
  • Structure parking pricing to favour cleaner, smaller and fewer cars
  • Encourage hybrid buses and taxis, and car clubs
  • Look into ways to provide park and ride schemes
  • Introduce Green Awards for sustainability efforts
  • Create more pedestrian zones and traffic management schemes
  • Tackle air pollution hotspots by reducing traffic congestion
  • Encourage people to use buses, and bus users to get involved in decision-making

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Return railways to public ownership and support re-regulation of buses
  • Introduce an immediate cut in rail fares of 10%
  • Promote walking and cycling to help reduce pollution and improve people's health

Support for electric taxis: Councillor Grover helped a local company install the district's first electric taxi charging station in Adelaide Street.

Climate change

 

The traditional Westminster parties are failing to act as guardians of our planet. They are putting homes at risk of flooding and watching as native species are driven to extinction by rises in temperature. Meanwhile they back the big corporations who are doing the most damage, allowing them to frack our countryside and pollute our air and waterways with toxic waste.

We will prioritise action on climate change to avoid further devastating harm to people's health, our economy and local environment. Locally this means increasing the supply of sustainable affordable housing and 'green' jobs, bringing all our homes up to the highest standards of energy efficiency, and making sure publicly owned buildings and commercial buildings are energy efficient.

We will aim for all local councils to adopt Passivhaus standards for all new developments on land that they own or as a condition of sale. Passivhaus is a highly energy efficient standard designed for ultra-low energy consumption combined with consistently good internal air quality.

Greens will:

  • Produce an Energy Strategy Plan to reduce the amount of energy used in Council buildings and across our communities, and help tackle local air pollution
  • Specify Passivhaus Standards on all buildings on Council-owned land or as a condition of sale on any council land
  • Invest in measures such as solar panels and microgeneration
  • Recruit an Energy Reduction Officer to manage and promote energy efficiency, maximise take-up of funding for insulation and energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and support community energy projects
  • Help schools and other public buildings to install and use renewable energy
  • Use available powers to boost energy efficiency and renewables use in all housing including private rented homes
  • Support award schemes to recognise efforts to use less fossil fuel-energy

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Take serious action on climate change by working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not rise beyond two degrees
  • Phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power
  • Invest in a public programme of renewable generation, flood defences and building insulation

Green Party Councillor Simon Grover secured almost £1m of investment in renewable energy and low energy measures. As a result, three leisure centres boast solar panels and wind-driven air conditioning, and other public buildings have been insulated.

Waste and recycling

 

Reducing the amount of waste we produce and being more careful about how we dispose of it has benefits for our planet, our economy and society as a whole.

Sending waste to landfill is expensive and not sustainable. Incinerators add to pollution and encourage us to produce waste to be burned. Instead we need to move to a 'zero waste' strategy. This means reducing the amount of waste produced, re-using, repairing and recycling as much as possible, and composting organic matter.

We will aim to have incentives for re-use schemes, and for businesses that repair, recycle and reduce packaging. We will also work with local businesses to encourage recycling and the reduction of food waste.

Greens will:

  • Avoid incineration in favour of recycling and reduce landfill costs by collecting more on the doorstep
  • Promote a 'reduce, re-use, repair and recycle' programme within councils and across the district
  • Develop a district-wide zero-waste strategy
  • Encourage better use of food waste
  • Introduce incentive schemes to encourage businesses to cut waste and recycle
  • Promote recycling in schools
  • Work with local retailers to minimise packaging and celebrate efforts in annual green awards
  • Encourage organisations that recycle and repair

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Reduce what we use, reuse it when we have finished with it and recycle as a last resort
  • Provide the framework and the infrastructure to help people make more positive choices
  • Use taxation and regulation to ensure that products and packaging are designed with a view to what happens to them when they stop being useful - we want waste designed out and fixing things designed in
  • Follow Scotland in banning waste food and other organic material being sent to landfill
  • Increase national spending on recycling and waste disposal, and move towards a zero-waste system

When Herts County Council wanted to close some recycling centres, Greens organised a petition and debate to save the one in St Albans.

Greens are calling for Herts County Council and District Councils to recognise that incineration is a waste of waste, as it's not sustainable and there are many cheaper, cleaner and greener alternatives.

Planning

 

Planning and architecture contribute far more than mere bricks and mortar. Our cities and towns need to be built in ways that are sustainable and provide lively, friendly and accessible places for residents, businesses and visitors.

Planning should protect great buildings and great public spaces but it should also create fairness and be built to last. We want the city and towns in St Albans district to develop in a way that creates comfortable, attractive homes, space for local jobs, protects local facilities and invests in the infrastructure for walking, cycling and public transport.

Sustainable development also helps to tackle health inequalities and climate change.

Greens will:

  • Require developers to include renewables, resource conservation and energy efficiency measures
  • Use the planning system to support local businesses and independent shops
  • Vigorously defend the Green Belt and plan for green 'spokes' reaching into built-up areas
  • Work to protect the character of St Albans and other historic areas and ensure new building is appropriate and high quality
  • Relax planning applications for solar panels and/or roof windows where these are linked
  • Support local arts and cultural organisations, prioritising community arts and initiatives to promote access for all

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework, especially the presumption in favour of development
  • Put planning back in the hands of local people and local government
  • Give local councils planning powers to support local shops and businesses including business conservation areas, ensuring basic shops are available within walking distance in all urban areas
  • Introduce a community right of appeal where a development does not comply with a neighbourhood plan or local plan

Green Councillor Simon Grover led opposition to an unacceptably large and ugly new hotel in the centre of St Albans. Six months later the developer came back with a smaller, more attractive and more environmentally friendly design.

Green spaces

 

Green spaces are crucial for the environment and local communities. They provide opportunities for relaxing, playing, exercising and growing food. They also provide vital wildlife habitats and the chance for people to learn about and care about nature. And they contribute to the local economy as tourist attractions.

We are passionate about improving our green spaces and creating new ones, including parks, allotments, sports facilities and play spaces, orchards, 'guerilla gardens' community woodlands and wildflower meadows.

Greens will:

  • Protect local green spaces and create new ones
  • Protect and plant trees, and develop the district-wide Tree Strategy
  • Improve park facilities, including water quality and sustainable planting
  • Reorganise park management to prioritise bio-diversity
  • Promote community and individual gardening and food growing, including 'edible' beds in public spaces
  • Discourage loss of front gardens through planning applications
  • Encourage the establishment of more local nature reserves and oppose restricting publicly accessible open space for private use

Provide more allotment spaces

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Promote a new Nature and Well-being Act
  • Aim to ensure through planning that everyone lives within five minutes' walk of a green open space
  • Ensure that local councils have resources to extend and maintain local parks
  • Introduce a nature improvement area in every town, city and county
  • Help bees by reducing pesticide use, 'greening' farming, and by making bees a priority species in biodiversity strategies
  • Increase the amount of land offered long-term protection through the European Union's Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, and make sure these are properly enforced

Campaigning on the local environment: Greens pressed for environmental improvements as part of the Green Ring and the Greenspace consultations. We also campaigned successfully for good signage for the Jersey Lane path to Sandridge village.

Planting in parks: Greens saved thousands of pounds from St Albans District Council's budget by getting parks staff to use more low-maintenance, longer-lasting plants. Such plants also promote biodiversity.

Action for bees: Greens co-authored a pollinator strategy to help protect bees and butterflies in the district. The strategy has been adopted by St Albans Council.

Democratic decision-making

 

It can be difficult for people to understand how their local council runs. Local government often seems remote from everyday life. Yet people are affected everyday by the decisions that councils make. We believe that people deserve more of a say in how local councils operate and take decisions.

Councils should be run in an open and welcoming way that encourages people to be involved and builds trust in how councils take decisions. We need more imaginative ways for people to be more involved in discussions and policy-making. And people need to see how, by getting involved, they are actually making a difference.

An important part of being more understandable and welcoming is getting rid of jargon and bureaucratic language. Everyone should be able to understand what their council is doing.

Greens will:

  • Make our local councils be more open and transparent, and improve the language used in meetings and written communications so people can understand it
  • Involve residents when policies are being developed with clear information and feedback about decisions
  • Encourage and help people to ask public questions at committees and full council meetings
  • Help people to understand and comment on planning applications that affect them
  • Improve training for councillors to help them to scrutinise council policies and decisions more effectively
  • Make sure that public consultations are genuine, easy to understand and easy to comment on, making it clear what can and can't be changed
  • Change how councils make spending decisions so that people can have a direct say over certain matters in their local area

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Provide a £10 billion a year uplift in local authority budgets to allow local councils to restore essential local services
  • Allow local councils to run local public transport and other services such as waste disposal, community energy schemes and local food production as they wish, including using publicly owned and run services
  • Introduce referendums on local government decisions if called for by 20% of the local electorate

Opening up the Council: following a Green proposal, all St Albans Council meetings are now open to the public by default unless there is a good reason for them not to be, such as confidentiality.

Opening up budget-setting: following another Green proposal, there is agreement to develop a web-based Council budget simulator to help residents get involved in the budget-setting process.

Children and young people

 

We want to help children and young people be part of a sustainable future and we are committed to help improve local education and leisure facilities.

By putting a price tag on education, running schools as businesses and making them exam factories, we are wasting children's potential and stifling their creativity. This approach also bolsters already-existing selective and discriminatory policies and practices that disadvantage children and young people who have particular needs.

We support phasing out tuition fees, and introducing healthier school meals and smaller class sizes. We will support efforts by the county council to run schools itself rather than creating more academies and free schools.

Greens will:

  • Support moves to enable more children attend a good local school
  • Create an event and advice centre/café for young people
  • Work with the voluntary and community sectors to improve out of school activities and facilities for young people across the district, and ensure they are accessible and affordable for all
  • Encourage outdoor play through partial road-closure schemes
  • Require developers to provide on-site play space for all new developments of more than a few homes
  • Support moves to ensure that education and leisure activities are accessible and appropriate for children and young people with specific needs
  • Encourage 'sustainability councils' for pupils, parents and teachers

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Abolish student tuition fees
  • Bring back the Educational Maintenance Allowance
  • Restore local authority control over education, with full delegation of the appropriate budget

In 2013 Greens proposed and won an addition to St Albans Council's Corporate Plan, to commit the Council to working towards creating a Youth Centre in an area of St Albans identified as having a high concentration of young people.

Health and social care

 

Many people in vulnerable circumstances are treated unfairly and do not receive the help and support they need. We also need to recognise the huge diversity of needs and circumstances among older people and disabled people, and avoid discrimination and stereotyping.

As well as good access to services, health and well-being depend on having a good quality of life. We need to ensure that our neighbourhoods are designed inclusively - to meet the wide range of people's needs and enable people to be active and involved. Green policies prioritise local services, shops and good public transport. These are vital for our communities and especially to help people live independently at home and tackle social isolation.

Over 13% of households in St Albans district are fuel poor - spending more than 10% of their budget on fuel. Cold homes are especially damaging for the health of people in vulnerable situations, including young children, many older people and people with disabilities. Green policies aim to combat fuel poverty, help people who need to use more energy because of health needs, and harmful reduce air pollution.

Greens will:

  • Improve services and facilities for older people, disabled children and disabled adults and people with mental health problems
  • Develop a strategy to make our neighbourhoods, streets, green spaces and meeting places inclusive and accessible
  • Support networks and help for carers and volunteers
  • Promote healthy eating including vegetarian and vegan options in Council owned premises and schools and work to make junk food unavailable in all schools
  • Promote positive images of older people and disabled people and combat discrimination
  • Support housing and council tax benefits for people in vulnerable circumstances
  • Provide free residents' parking for older people and disabled people
  • Help people in vulnerable circumstances to access grants and loans to make their homes more energy-efficient, and set targets to help eliminate fuel poverty
  • Support direct and accessible low cost bus services to hospitals and clinics
  • Support credit unions and community banks, and help people to access free reliable financial advice and avoid exploitative sources of credit

Nationally the Green Party will:

  • Maintain a publicly funded, publicly provided health service free at the point of use
  • Run NHS and social care for the public good, not private profit
  • Promote preventative health and early intervention as much as possible
  • Ensure free social care for all of pension age
  • Increase support for carers

Protecting free parking for disabled people at local hospitals: after leading a Council debate and delivering a petition, pressure from the Greens helped to persuade West Herts Hospitals Trust to keep parking free for blue badge holders at St Albans, Watford and Hemel Hempstead hospitals.

One Planet Living

 

It is our policy for the Council to adopt the One Planet principles. These principles provide a framework that allows organisations to examine the sustainability challenges they face and develop action plans to live and work within a fair share of the earth's resources.

One Planet Living was developed by BioRegional and WWF. Councils that have already adopted it include Brighton, Sutton and Middlesbrough.

Visit oneplanetliving.net

Green politics and our policies

 

Green politics is based on three linked principles: social justice, sustainability and peace. We want a world where everyone can share a high quality of life whilst living within the means of nature. For the sake of future generations, it is essential that local government plays its part and puts sustainability and social justice at the heart of what it does.

Our policies for St Albans District are driven by the underlying philosophy of the Green Party. We develop these policies as a result of talking to residents and local party members.

Our policies are practical and achievable - many are inspired by the successes of other local Green parties around the country. For example, the Green-run council in Brighton has attracted £6 million of external funding for transport and green space improvements, created exciting opportunities for local businesses, and worked imaginatively to protect residents from the worst of the Government's cuts.

Green councillors in St Albans will:

  • Put sustainability and social justice at the top of the agenda
  • Keep in touch with residents regularly
  • Respond quickly to enquiries
  • Make sure residents are informed about issues that affect them
  • Speak on individual residents' behalf where necessary
  • Be a consistent and effective Green voice at council meetings
  • Raise the profile of Green ideas and work to implement them in local councils

You can read the national Green Party's manifesto, and find out more about Green policies, here