Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tony Juniper and Sir Jonathon Porritt call on people to vote Green

Former Director of Friends of the Earth Tony Juniper and Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission Sir Jonathon Porritt call for people to vote Green in Euro and local elections this June. Very influential support indeed.

Sustainable Communities Act suggestion scheme: various proposals submitted

No comments:
I've been going back over my blog and listing the various changes I've proposed or implied. Originally I intended to go through the entire site (over 500 posts to date), list all suggestions and submit them to Bristol City Council via their Sustainable Communities Act online form.

I found that after going through about 60 posts I'd already listed 21 suggestions, that it was taking a very long time and that the list could become very long!! I settled on submitting the first 21 (below) today. I have not had time to discuss the suggestions with friends/colleagues much and have had very little time to test them against the list of criteria they have to conform to.

When I went to the council briefing on use of the Sustainable Communities Act in March I found that many hurdles had been placed in the way of suggestions: 1. very little time was available for communities to organise and to formulate them (deadline 1 May !!) 2. guidance on the nature of suggestions was very limited 3.suggestions submitted have to jump through officer, local panel, local councillor committee, local Cabinet and Local Government Association hoops before they even get to the Secretary of State who has the final decision on implementation.
All of which makes you wonder how much genuinely local stuff will be left!! Local and central government do not respect the spirit and intention of the Act ie to empower local communities. Any guesses as to how far through the process my suggestions will go??

* A default speed limit of 20mph on all UK residential roads to be introduced in place of the current 30mph.

* Monthly, local and central government supported and advertised 'lights out' campaign to limit wasteful lighting and encourage energy saving.

*Carbon budgets to be allocated to all individuals/households/businesses and trading in carbon allocations facilitated.

*House building targets to be set by local authorities in conjunction with local communities as a replacement for imposition by regional/central government.

*Submission of 'before and after' biodiversity and eco-footprint data to be a compulsory part of all planning applications - the data to be a statutory consideration for planning committees.

*A code of conduct for all elected representatives at all levels (along with their key public officials), based on the Nolan reports 7 principles for standards in public life to be a part of the constitution of all local and central government bodies.

*Government to assess all technologies according to at least its: technical capabilities and limitations; environmental impacts now and into the future; cost-effectiveness now and into the future; employment impacts now and into the future; before supporting in any way.

*All major population centres to have integrated transport authoritiies, with a majority from the general public on the committees running them.

*Local, regional and national government to review all communications according to Plain English standards.

*The status of general public contributions to planning committee proceedings to be raised to equal that of council officers eg in terms of time allocated and facilities available for presentation and committee proceedings to facilitate two-way interaction between officers, councillors and the general public via a question and answer session(s).

*Government to publish a general welfare or wellbeing index, calculated by factoring in the external costs and benefits of achieving economic growth, alongside GDP figures (councils or another suitable agency to publish equivalent local figures).

*Potential loss of local community facilities to be assessed via the quantified total costs and benefits of any change, that is the social and environmental costs and benefits as well as economic.

*Developments permitted on any greenfield site to be required to fully compensate for the total ecological footprint caused.

*Transport policy and practice locally and nationally to be reviewed to ensure that walking and cycling are prioritised above and before motorised transport in principle and in practice.

*Empty houses and other properties that could be used to house people to be promptly brought into good use before building on green (or even brown) land.

*Government to allow immigration that equals emigration, achieving a net zero increase.

*Planning committees to be given a broader range of statutory considerations to apply to planning applications to decrease the likelihood that granting or refusing planning permission goes against the rational problem solving process.

*All public consultations conducted by all levels of government to be tested against a set of ‘fairness, openness and balance’ criteria before embarked upon.

*Transport costs to be directly related to the total costs of travel by factoring in external costs and benefits, fuel/tickets/fares to be adjusted accordingly.

*Those currently required to annually publish financial accounts to be required to publish social and environmental accounts alongside.

*Councils to annually publish their total ecological footprint, established via a standardised method.