North Lancashire Green Party are hosting a public meeting on the important issue of hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') in shale gas production, with speakers: Bob Dennett and Tina Louise from Residents' Action on Fylde Fracking, and Helen Rimmer of Friends of the Earth. There will be two short films followed by Q&A and an update on Lancashire-specific information relating to Shale Gas exploration.
All welcome. Tuesday 12th November, 7.30 pm
Friends Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster
For further info contact Sam on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07866806512
Green Christmas Fair.
The annual Green Christmas (Winter) Fair will take place at the Friends Meeting House on Meeting House Lane, next to Lancaster train station on Saturday 23rd November from 10am-4pm. All welcome to attend this warm and lively event and support local crafts people and traders in planning their festivities! Cafe with home-made food all day. Father Christmas always comes. Live music.
Most stalls are now booked but if you would like to be on the waiting list please contact Gill Aitken on animalmanners 'at' talktalk.net
Welcome to North Lancashire Green Party
North Lancashire Green Party has eight City Councillors representing four different City Council wards on Lancaster City Council; Castle, Dukes, Bulk and Scotforth West and one County Councillor representing Lancaster Central on Lancashire County Council.
See our Campaigns page to see what the Greens are doing to improve the area; and latest news below. To find out who are your Green councillors, and their latest newsletter please go to Wards.
October 2103: Green Councillor led a successful County Council debate on fracking safety.
Lancashire’s Green County Councillor, Gina Dowding, proposed a motion to the County Council on 3rd October, calling for more Government action to ensure the safety of any future fracking in Lancashire, which was passed with only the Tories abstaining.
Gina said "Many local people are rightly concerned about the potential damage that fracking could do to our quality of life in Lancashire. It is outrageous that the Government has put its whole weight behind fracking without any proper consideration of the risks and benefits. What's now coming to light is that we won't see our energy bills going down as a result of this very controversial industry. Even the energy regulator Ofgem says that the addition of UK shale gas into the energy mix won’t bring down prices." see full motion here
GREEN SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
In October, Green Councillor Gina Dowding also led work on a motion to help support local small and medium sized organisations by encouraging the Council to commit to best practice in its procurement policy. The motion which was passed unanimously reads:
Lancashire County Council:
1. Welcomes the consultation launched last month by Government to create a small and medium sized enterprise (SME) ‘single market’ for public procurement, simplifying and standardising how contracts are advertised, bid for and paid across the sector on contracts over £10,000 and would welcome similar proposals for contacts under £10,000 to follow suit
2. Recognises the huge opportunity presented to support small and medium sized businesses and contribute to a strong local economy through its procurement policies
3. Commits to adopting best practise in public procurement which takes into account the full impact of the procurement process on the local economy, and uses its public procurement role to promote the wellbeing of the local economy and the diversity of small and medium sized enterprises
THere was an amendment to the motion which rightly said that third sector organisations should be included in procurement work of the county council
Lancaster City Council Votes to Urge Government Ministers to Adopt a Robin Hood Tax
On 17th July full council voted strongly in favour of asking the coalition government to join with 11 European countries - including Germany, France, Italy and Spain - that have pledged to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT). Otherwise known as a Robin Hood or Tobin tax, this is a tax on all financial exchanges, including shares, bonds and derivatives, in the process targeting those who precipitated the financial crisis and raising up to £20bn per year. Read full press release (pdf)
Greens Lead Council Action on Minimum Price for Alcohol
Green County Councillor Gina Dowding led the work to get Lancashire County Council to agree to action on Minimum Unit Price on Alcohol. See details of the motion passed on Thursday 18th July.
Councillor Jon Barry says time to give our full support to windturbines: 16 June 2013
The turbines on Caton Moor are a reminder that we can generate energy by harnessing the forces of nature rather than using up finite natural resources which pollute our atmosphere or create dangerous by-products. Similarly, the university's wind turbine shows a real commitment to environmental sustainability, especially, since carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are now at record levels. Some people find wind turbines visually intrusive, but they are as nothing compared to the massive concrete bulk of power stations. And it is useful to remember that as and when other renewable energy technologies are advanced, like wave and tidal power, wind turbines can be easily removed leaving little trace behind.
Wind turbines may sometimes cause problems, but these can generally be sorted out. There have been around 100 instances of people's TV reception being affected by the university's turbine which have been resolved by an engineer making appropriate adjustments. Similarly, when the winter sun is very low, there can be problems of flicker, but turbines can be switched off at the critical times.
Every form of energy generation leaves a footprint. Wind’s is primarily visual – and there are sites which are not suitable - but we need more forms of energy generation which produce much less carbon dioxide and which can provide UK manufacturing jobs. Many of us would favour community ownership of wind farms so that the rewards are spread more widely. If the UK had planned 30 years ago in the same way that Germany, China and Denmark did then we could be reaping greater benefits now. It's never too late - let's stop complaining and start creating!
Time for transition movement to engage with the Green Party?
Lancaster's Mark Rotherham causes a stir with his article for Resilience by attempting to breathe some political life into the Transition Movement:
Forty eels living in underwater tanks on the Luneside West site have been saved from being buried alive during levelling of the site. The eels were captured last week and released into the river Lune. Green Party councillor Jon Barry has been lobbying Council officials to try to save the eels.
Cllr Barry said:"I'm extremely glad that the eels have been rescued. They are now an officially endangered species and their numbers have declined by over 90% since the 1970s. It wold have been awful if they had been buried alive and I am grateful that they have been released unharmed. last week and the eels (there are no fish) were captured from the 2 tanks, cleaned and released into the River Lune. In total, 40 eels went through this process."
4 MAY 2013 : Greens re-elected to County and City
North Lancashire Green Party won 2 of the 3 seats it was targeting in the recent local elections. Gina Dowding was elected to represent Lancaster Central Division on Lancashire County Council (replacing the Green Party's Chris Coates) and Caroline Jackson was elected to replace Ceri Mumford, in the Bulk ward by-election for the City Council. However the Party is very sorry to lose Sam Riches for the Lancaster East Division on the County Council to Labour, leaving the Greens with only one seat on the County. Read more
See the Green Party's You Tube posting with Caroline Lucas MP.
Celebration as DfE abandons forced Academy for Ridge Primary School
The news on 27 March that the Department for Education has abandoned plans to force Ridge Community Primary School to convert to academy status is quite astounding. 'Eleventh hour' doesn't begin to describe how late in the process this turn around has happened - the conversion was due to take place on 1 April 2013, recently postponed to 1 May. The reason given seems to be that the sponsor, Academies Enterprise Trust, is felt to have insufficient capacity to cope with an additional school so far from its base in Essex - this surely could have been established months ago.
The fact that there has been a substantial improvement in recent SATs results - from 2010/11 to 2011/12 the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 or above in English and Maths rose from 29% to 81%, which shows how unsound the 'snapshot' approach to attainment is - is probably
another factor in the U-turn.
Green County Councillor Sam Riches says "As the local County Councillor I welcome this unprecedented decision, but I really regret that the school was ever put under pressure to
convert. The staff, governors and parents have all been through a very stressful experience, and I sincerely hope that this will lead to a rethink of the whole issue of forcing "underperforming" schools to convert to academies.
Greens' anger as Heysham M6 Link Road gets the green light -19/03/13
The Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin, has announced today that the Heysham M6 Link Road (HM6L) will be built at a cost of over £120 million of public money for under 3 miles of road. he Green Party has argued for many years that the HM6L is a huge waste of money [more]
LANCASTER GREEN Party has criticised the inadequate regulation of our food industry, and called for the re-localisation of the supply chain to support farmers and improve traceability. County Councillor Chris Coates, said: “With the news that horse meat has made its way into school dinners we can't be sure what we are actually eating anymore. This is a wake up call about our whole food supply chain.”
The Green Party believes that globalisation of the food supply has exacerbated many environmental and social problems and that answers lie in sustainable agriculture, re-localisation, shortening of food supply chains and self-reliance on a regional and local basis. Cllr Coates added “With inadequate policing of this massive industry it is not surprising that cheap filler ingredients make their way onto supermarket shelves. It is surely time for a regulator of the supermarkets and food processors with real powers, But more importantly, we need to relocalise the food chain; reducing waste, improving traceability, supporting our farmers, and creating a system of food production with resilience in face of the challenges of a changing climate.”
Greens call for properties to be removed from bedroom tax
The February 2013 budget meeting of Lancaster City Council passed a proposal put forward
by Green councilor Chris Coates that the council should look at re classifying 2 and 3 bedroom council houses as smaller properties where extra rooms are not being used as bedrooms [More]
Green Party discusses bees - and welcomes European action to protect bees
North Lancashire Green Party hosted a public meeting on 'The future of beekeeping in Lancaster and beyond' inFebruary. The main speaker Fred Ayres, chairman of Lancaster Beekeepers talked about local beekeeping, the global bee decline, and the vital role that bees play in pollinating crops [More]
SAVE OUR Royal Lancaster Infirmary SERVICES
In January 2013 Green Party councillor Jon Barry has learned from a hospital source that plans are well advanced to drastically reduce the services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI). It is understood that many of the current services will be transferred to Kendal.. [More]
Lancaster’s support scheme will protect all council tax benefit claimants
On January 16th Lancaster city council voted 33-13 to preserve council tax benefit levels for all claimants in the face of a cut in government funding for the benefit.The government’s cut to the grant for council tax benefit would have resulted in the poorest-paid and unemployed couples in Lancaster district having to find £232 each year... [More]
December 2012 : Lancaster City Council Supports Largest Tax Avoider
Cabinet members (other than the Greens) on Lancaster City Council have welcomed the acquisition of the Mitchell's site on the canal corridor by British Land. The Greens do not share their enthusiasm.
Green councillor Chris Coates said:"A recent Action Aid report showed that British Land is the organisation with the most subsidiary companies based in Jersey - with 0% Corporation Tax. The Government is urging action to stop tax avoiders such as Starbucks, but the City Council is actively supporting a massive tax avoider in British Land. I think this sends out an appalling message to tax payers in the district."
Gold Award for Lancaster City Council on energy management.
Lancaster City Council has picked up an internationally acclaimed Green Apple award at a presentation ceremony held at the Houses of Parliament on 12 November 2012. The Council's entry for the 'Gold Award for Environmental Best Practice in City Councils' was called 'The Nimrod Project' and was all about the energy management work at Salt Ayre Sports Centre. This work was originally kick-started by Green Councillor Jon Barry in the Climate Change group as long ago as 2007/08 but continued by Green Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox on cabinet. Slow progress but great success. The district's massive sports centre has reduced gas and energy use by something over 40% - saving carbon and cash.
November 16, 2012. Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire Lancashire's new Police and Crime commissioner elected today will have responsibility for setting policing priorities and the level of council tax received by Lancashire Constabulary, and will also be in charge of hiring, and where necessary firing, the Chief Constable.The Green Party decided not to stand in this election, where the deposit for candidates to stand was £5000. We think it would be inappropriate for the Police to be closely associated with one political party. But Green Party members will be issuing a challenge to the newly elected Commissioner to support the following priorities: protect community policing and PCSO's; work with other agencies to tackle all violence and particularly domestic violence and hate crimes; and give residents opportunities to raise concerns with the Police.
November 14, 2012. Lancaster City Council to set Living Wage for Low Paid ..
Councillors have voted overwhelmingly (by 38-1) to support, in principle, becoming a Living Wage employer, and for it to be considered as part of the next budget. The living wage (currently £7.40 per hour) is a basic level of pay set independently each year, based on the principle that work should bring dignity and pay enough to provide the essentials of life. The resolution was proposed by Green Party councillor Andrew Kay, seconded by Greens, Chris Coates and Ceri Mumford. Afterwards a clearly delighted Cllr Kay said
"Now the challenge is for all local employers to follow suit and announce the start of a campaign to for all to become Living Wage employers. This is a fundamental principle of a fair society - and in the current climate would provide a welcome boost to all low wage earners hardest hit by the recession and increased living costs “
Lancaster Greens welcome the news that development of the Moor Hospital site is
to get underway. County Councillor Sam Riches said: “This is really good for jobs in the local economy and for the fact that it breathes life back into a landmark building and a beautiful site. It’s also a great opportunity to make this part of Lancaster a more sustainable location: the development needs to bring with it community facilities and much better and safer transport links to local schools and the town centre. It’s crucial that residents don’t have to rely solely on their cars in order to avoid congestion on local roads".
Development of the Moor Hospital site also underlines the fact that brownfield sites can and must be developed first... [More]
October 2012 Pedestrian safety matters!
Green Party County Councillor Sam Riches is calling for alternative pedestrian safety measures whilst a new Toucan crossing is being put in at Stonewell on the city centre one-way system. Sam was supported by party Co-ordinator Gina Dowding, Bulk ward councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox in a recent protest at the heavily-used pedestrian crossing at Stonewell, on Lancaster's one-way system .. [More]
NGO'S say no to push for Fracking
Three leading environmental organisations, the RSPB, The World WildLife Fund and Friends of the Earth are warning the Government not to push ahead with UK shale gas extraction (fracking) at the very least until the potential impacts are properly understood and provisions are put in place to protect the countryside and ensure that any development is in line with UK Climate Change Act commitments [More].
Tesco's lose appeal for development in Lancaster South
On 16th August 2012 the Secretary of State announced that Tesco's had lost their appeal against the Council's decision not to grant them permission to develop on Lawson's Bridge fields south of Lancaster. In the letter it was noted that 'unmet need for proposed convenience shopping would be eased by the proposed development of Booth's supermarket, that the Canal Corridor is sequentially preferable to the appeal site ( ie that they would rather see development on the Canal corridor than on this greenfield site), and the proposed superstore could adversely affect planned investment in the Lancaster's central shopping area.....
Gina Dowding, local Green Party Co-ordinator said "This is good news for Booth's supermarket and reprieve for some green fields. Its obvious that any more out of town development developments would have a devastating effect on the City Centre shopping area. We should be supporting a lively town centre and local retailers."
Green Councillor says Immediate Action Needed on Cycle Path Rat-Run.
Green councillor Jon Barry has warned that somebody is going to get killed or seriously injured unless prompt action is taken to stop cars using the Glasson Dock cycle path. Cllr Barry explained:
“For some time now there has been occasional use by motor vehicles of the cycle track between St George's Quay and Aldcliffe. However, the use has escalated of late because of the closure of St George's Quay. I have had reports of cyclists and walkers being forced into the ditch by up to five vehicles."
"In April 2011 I had firm assurances from City Council officers that a series of warning notices were to be placed at either end of this rat-run and new bollards placed at the Quay end. However, despite me giving officers a number of reminders, nothing has been done. In desperation I contacted the County Council several months ago and they said that they would sort something out. However, once again, no action. If this problem is not sorted out soon, especially with the number of children using the cycle track during the summer holidays, somebody will be killed or seriously injured."
"The police have been very helpful and have stopped several cars. However, they need support from our local authorities".
On 18th July 2012 Lancaster City Council voted to withdraw support from the Storey Creative Industries Centre. Read the full story from our perspective.
On 18th July 2012 Lancaster City Council voted to support Centros. Greens are not happy about Council's decision to give Centros rights to develop canal corrridor .
July 13th, 2012. The public hearings into the northern bypass (Heysham M6 Link) have now completed the first week. Green Party member and Professor of Sustainable Development, John Whitelegg said:
"People may be interested to learn that the Lancashire County Council person in charge of
the road project said on Thursday morning (12th July) in public session "the road isn't intended to solve Lancaster's problems". So we are going to spend £140 million of public money at a time of severe finacial crisis on something that will not solve our transport problems. Perhaps it would be a better idea to spend a few million on something that would help." See Campaigns NO TO M6 LINK for background
July 13th, 2012. At the Full Council held on Thursday 12th July 2012 at County Hall, Preston, Green County Councillor Chris Coates (Lancaster Central) proposed a motion calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in relation to the production of shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels. Chris was seconded by County Cllr Sam Riches (Lancaster East); a protest in support of the motion, organised by Friends of the Earth and local anti-fracking groups,was held before the meeting. See [More].
July 2012: Prof. John Whitelegg, Green Party Sustainable Development Spokesperson comments on the latest scientific evidence supporting the need to tackle climate change.
See his article on the national Green Party website
Million Climate Jobs Caravan
May 2012: Lancaster Green Party members were involved in the Million Climate jobs Caravan when it came to Lancaster. We organised the showing of two film nights during the week and a public meeting on the evening of the day we hosted the caravan in Lancaster city centre, along with a Green Business Fair at Lancaster and Morecambe College
Dukes/Castle. Aldcliffe Triangle Clear-up
Green councillors Dave Brookes and Jon Barry, plus a team of local residents, recently had a clear up of a derelict area of land that they are hoping to transform into public green space. The triangle shaped site, which is between Lancaster Canal and Aldcliffe Rd near the city centre, is leased off British Waterways... [More]
May 2011:Greens celebrate election results
Greens make gains in Councils up and down the country: Across England and Wales we gained 4 Council seats overall (18 holds, 8 gains and 4 losses), bringing our total to around 134 councillors on 44 councils. Greens fielded a total of 943 candidates (up 13% since last equivalent elections), with at least 1 candidate in... [More]
Castle ward: Greens fight Freeman’s Wood development
Lancaster City Council’s appeals committee upheld the Tree Preservation Order on Freemans Wood on Monday 23rd April, 2012. Commenting on this decision, Castle Ward councillor Tracey Kennedy said: “I am absolutely delighted with the news. Local people have always known that this was an immensely important woodland area and now it has been officially recognised. [More]
Solar PhotoVoltaic panels
PV success: Finally- before 31st March this year , and the reduction in the Feed-In Tariff, the council had installed a total of 212kW (in the region of 900 individual panels) on the roofs of six council properties: on four blocks of council housing flats (including Glebe Court on East Rd); and on Salt Ayre... [More]
Bulk ward: Canal Corridor- the battle continues
Canal Corridor…. The recent Full Council meeting was presented with argument and evidence by Greens (which referred to exempt ‘commercially confidential’ information and so cannot be published, natch) about the latest Canal Corridor proposals. However – good news is that most councillors voted to defer a decision to approve the revised development agreement between... [More]