The Green Party thinks Suffolk County Council should be taking immediate action to reduce carbon emissions.:
It must change its fleet to electric vehicles, enact an electric vehicle based transport policy.
It should invest in zero carbon energy production – solar panel farms, wind turbines, water turbines, and bio-digestion to generate power from organic waste. These are all technologies that work on a small scale and so a significant contribution can be built with the scale of budget the council has available to it.
Ii must strengthen its planning terms so that new house developments only get approval if the house are built with carbon zero heating systems ( solar panel, ground air sourced heat pumps, hydrogen boilers, and a high standard of insulation. Such houses will give the occupants lower heating bills too.
On the economy
Jobs are important to all of us. But we can must not let ourselves be fooled of with the suggestion that economic growth to cure all the problems. Because economic growth leads to greater use of the planets resources, and has created the Climate Crisis
And the reality is, a County Council is not big enough to effect the size of the economy. We can’t cut our own trade deals.
But there are thing we can do to balance the economy to meet more local needs.:
Our transport policies would stimulate the development of services to support electric vehicles
We would invest in training for local people for the skills they will need in a circular, renewable economy.
We would focus attention on skills that will be in demand in a zero carbon world, which will ensure jobs are sustainable and available to local people. Such skills would include retrofitting homes, including installing heat pumps, and working for the growth industries of renewables and renewable electricity storage.
We would invest in a smart grid for Suffolk with an aim to make it 100% renewable by 2030, generating genuinely sustainable, skilled local jobs. We would end the council's support for a new nuclear power station at Sizewell, ensuring that our energy supply is clean and will not leave a toxic legacy lasting thousands of years.
The danger of the proposed new Freeport East tax haven zone around Felixstowe is that it will displace jobs rather than create them. New businesses that move there to enjoy tax and other breaks would compete on an unfair basis with existing, generally smaller scale Suffolk business that decide not to move but that actually generate more local jobs and put more back into local economy than the larger players. A Green administration would end the unconditional support for a Freeport tax haven zone around Felixstowe, so that everyone can share in our economic potential
A Green Transport Policy
Our programme is driven (pun intended) by becoming carbon-neutral in eight years time. To do this we have to our reliance on petrol and diesel driven cars lorries, trains and buses. Suffolk has fallen way behind neighbouring counties in planning for and funding sustainable transport.
We would invest the £0.5m needed to enable people to use their concessionary bus passes on community transport and demand responsive transport, which was removed from most of Suffolk in 2019.
Scope out where demand is for bus routes and a priority list for where future routes need to be, with cost estimates based on electric vehicles, ensuring that any subsidy to transport routes was given on the basis that the route only used electric vehicles
Run a feasibility study on establishing our own bus company to serve rural areas if commercial bus companies cannot.
We would reallocate road space in our towns to safe, segregated cycling lanes and space for walking to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.
The county council has a fleet of vehicles,These will all be replaced with electric vehicles. . We would insist that and transportation services the council buys , like the dustbin collections, are serviced by electric vehicles.
We would ensure that the county council had sufficient staff to bid for cycle, bus and pedestrian funding as and when it becomes available.
The County Council is the only player in how we manage waste.there are no other agencies involved, who might pick up the strain, if we were to fail.
The contract the county council has with the operator of the Blakenham incinerator means that the county is locked into provided a certain amount of non recyclable waste to feed the plant every year. Burning waste increases the county’s emissions and encourages the production of more waste.
For this reason a Green administration would seek an early end to the incinerator contract and focus instead on efforts to reduce the amount of rubbish consumed.
Despite agreeing to phase out single use plastics, the county council has done very little to discourage its use by organisations and businesses across the county.
A green administration would put genuine focus on encouraging a phasing out of plastic use across the county, by rewarding and encouraging local businesses that do so, through a Plastic Free Suffolk campaign.
And on cleaning up the environment
There’s a lot more to looking after the environment than saying you'll plant some trees and not build on the water meadow. The county also has really important wetland and seashore habitats as well.
Suffolk council recently unanimously approved a Green Party led motion calling for biodiversity to be accounted for in every decision it takes. Nevertheless the county has been slow to act on this and in recent years has run down funding for vital services that give us the expert data and knowledge we need to make those decisions.
A Green administration would reinstate funding for the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service and promote and highlight its work and fund it to renew mapping exercises last undertaken some time ago. This includes the groundbreaking hedgerow survey conducted by volunteers across the county more than ten years ago. This existing data urgently needs digitalising and made more easily available to communities and parish councils.
And then there’s the things you cant see = the quality of the air we breathe, the quality of the water we drink. Green party activists have been working to improve air quality in the streets. We advocate the introduction of 20mph speed limits in congested areas to reduce the more polluting stop-start traffic flow.. We work to expose those how dump waste products and sewage in our rivers .promote an electric vehicle orientate transport strategy.
You can see the full manifesto here and the accompanying video here