TESCO PUBLIC INQUIRY VERDICT – Green Party reaction

 
Media statement:
 
Green Party Councillors have been key figures in the several-year-struggle to stop Tesco from imposing its unsuitable store on Unthank Road, Norwich, a store that will damage local businesses and that presents real traffic safety and congestion hazards. Today, the news has broken that this struggle has been lost.
 
Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, local ward Councillor and Green Party Parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said: “I’m extremely disappointed by this decision and by a planning process that allows a remote planning inspector from outside the area to overturn the democratic decision of local councillors and the wishes of the hundreds of local residents who have consistently written in to object to Tesco applications for this site. Local campaigners have managed to delay this Tesco by four years by getting the Council to repeatedly turn it down but it is very frustrating that it has now been given the go-ahead.
 
“I hope we use the strong feeling against a Tesco store to ensure that the local shops in the area are still supported but I’m concerned about the tricks Tesco often uses to undermine competitors. I’m also very concerned that this decision means more delivery lorries will be brought to an already busy and congested street.”
 
Councillor Rupert Read, Green Party Prospective MEP for Eastern Region, added: “In the long run, this dreadful decision goes to show how urgent it is to get Greens into Westminster, so that we can get the planning laws changed that at present allow Tesco to prevail over what are very clearly the wishes of local residents.”
 

Gaza public meeting – I will be speaking at this event

Public Meeting: Palestine Justice And The Key To Peace, Thursday, Feb. 5th 2009, 7pm, Friends Meeting House

Speakers:

  • Ian Gibson MP
  • Joni McDougall (GMB International Officer and National PSC Committee Member)
  • Lesley Grahame (Norfolk Jewish Peace Group)
  • Mohammad Aburdaini (Palestinian student and survivor of Shattilah Massacre)
  • Karen Mitchell (Thompsons Solicitors)
  • Rupert Read ( Norwich Green Party Councillor and Prospective European Parliamentary Candidate)
  • a National STWC speaker

Chairs:

  • Keith Rowley (Convenor, Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign)
  • Frank Stone (Convenor, Norwich Stop the War Coalition)

More info: contact Keith 01630 618704 or Frank 01493 664499

Arranged, supported and sponsored by Norwich PSC, Norwich STWC and GMB Norwich General Branch

Image:NorwichStopTheWarCoalition.jpg More information from: http://www.norwichstopwar.org.uk or email:info@norwichstopwar.org.uk Image:psc_logo.jpg

Greens Deplore Court Decision to Sacrifice Thurrock Nature Refuge – Press Statement from Eastern Region Green Party

 

The Court of Appeal’s decision yesterday (28th January) to confirm Thurrock Development Corporation’s approval of a major development on West Thurrock Marshes leaves the insect wildlife charity Buglife with a £30,000 bill. The decision hinged on a letter effectively supporting the development from the Government’s own ‘conservation’ agency, Natural England.
 
Cllr. Rupert Read, the Green Party’s Prospective MEP for Eastern Region (which includes Thurrock) has for the last year, along with other Green Party members who have attended the court proceedings, been a consistent advocate of saving this refuge for insect and other wildlife.
 
Cllr. Read said
 
“This decision comes at a crucial time in the urgent struggle to help society understand better how many of its day-to-day decisions are undermining the world in which we are living, and life on Earth. Human life on Earth and its wealth-creation activities must be founded on much more secure resources and decisions, resources and decisions that can be sustained. It is not sustainable for us to keep destroying havens for nature in our Region.
 
With the multiplying environmental crises now affecting the planet, it is absolutely vital that urgent new ways are introduced to assess the consequences of prospective development decisions and activities.
 
“Business as usual” will only store up more serious problems: dangerous climate change, resource depletion, ecological damage and over-crowding, and lowering of people’s quality of life. Instead, we need to be looking for economic-environmental ‘win-wins’, such as our own ‘Green New Deal proposals.
 
The Appeal Court decision is yet another wake-up call for everyone who cares about the future of human and animal life on Earth.”
 
Reference:
 

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Candidate inspired by land and homes

(Originally published in BuryFreePress)

Green Party European Parliamentary candidate Rupert Read has spoken of the need for more investment in affordable housing and renewable energy in Mid Suffolk.
The Eastern region lead candidate for 2009 toured the region with Green Party councillors on Friday, to discuss issues affecting the district.

During the visit, he was shown affordable housing projects in Wickham Skeith, Elmswell and Barham, which Green Party district councillors have been instrumental in.

He also met developer Gipping Homes to discuss the need for sustainable building.

Mr Read said: “To see affordable homes going up in these rural areas, particularly eco-homes, is hugely impressive. This is absolutely the way we have to build in the future – in a way that reduces Co2 and lowers energy bills.”

But he said it was vital the Government continued to invest in this type of housing to prevent the economy collapsing.

He said: “People involved in these developments are very concerned about the impact of the economic downturn, which is why we need Government investment to ensure we stabilise the economy and stop a big recession.”

He added ‘excessive and inappropriate’ housing, like luxury flats and large houses, needed to be reined in.

“What we need are genuine affordable homes to allow local people to stay in the area they are from,” he said.

Mr Read also visited Carter’s Meadow Community Woodland, in Cotton – an area of land donated to the village.

With the help of ward councillor Andrew Stringer, the wood has been transformed with wild flowers, bat and bird boxes, a pond, a ‘Wood Henge’ and sculpture.

Mr Read said it was inspiring to see Cotton being developed in this way.

Speaking about the coming elections, he added: “I would like to have the chance to fight for the best interests of the eastern region and I hope people will give the Greens a fair crack of the whip.”

Greens to visit Southend Saturday 31st January

 

The Eastern Region Green Party campaign team for the June European Elections will visit Southend on Saturday 31st January. I will be joining colleagues for the day as part of the next leg of my “listening tour” of the region which aims to listen to the views and experiences of constituents, to be able to help them more effectively when elected.

We will be meeting people in Southend High Street and elsewhere in the area.

Many people feel they are not being listened to by politicians. We want to show the Greens do want to listen. I hope to learn from this continuing ‘tour’ about the aspirations and concerns of people all over this great and diverse area from Peterborough to Southend, and from Hemel Hempstead to Great Yarmouth … especially, I hope to hear of people’s experiences of the financial crisis and of the rising cost of living.

The Government and Southend Council could be responding to the economic slump by doing more to promote green jobs – jobs in small businesses, public transport and investing in green measures such as home insulation. We would also like to see empty shops rented out to locally based small businesses – that would provide desperately needed jobs, stimulating the economy without harming the environment.

One of the key concerns we have already heard about from local people is the level of development in Southend. Whilst it is right that towns need regeneration and affordable housing, this should be done on brownfield sites whenever possible. Green Councillors have consistently opposed overdevelopment, loss of greenbelt and building over gardens.

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A Green New Deal

Jim Jepps and Rupert Read say the UK needs a ‘Green New Deal’ to tackle the ’triple crunch’ of credit, oil prices and climate change. (first appeared in Red Pepper)

In the 1930s, the world endured a grim economic depression. In the US, F D Roosevelt pioneered the way out with the New Deal, which helped stabilise the financial system and refloated the economy. We face the same kind of economic problems today but with added ecological threats. The age of cheap, plentiful oil is ending and we cannot simply invest in polluting factories, massive dams, boondoggle transport projects as FDR’s government did then.

If there is to be a new New Deal, it has to be a Green New Deal, which is exactly what a distinguished group of environmentalists and economists, including Andrew Simms, of the New Economics Foundation; Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth; Larry Elliott, economics editor of the Guardian and Green party leader Caroline Lucas MEP, propose.

Drawing inspiration from Roosevelt, the Green New Deal group calls for:

Capital flows to be regulated. The power to fix interest rates and the exchange rate to be restored to elected, sovereign governments. Crucially, this means exchange controls must return.
Publicly accountable central banks to be free to inject debt-free money into the economy and keep the cost of borrowing low (so that loan expenditure projects can be easily financed).
Resources to create jobs, in part by filling tax loopholes and closing tax havens.
A new global and independent central bank to be established. Based on Keynes’s proposal for a global bank (called the International Clearing Union), it will manage and stabilise trade between countries, create a trading currency and a reserve asset that is neutral between countries (perhaps one based on carbon). In short: We need a new Bretton Woods settlement.
Creating a carbon army
Brown talks of jobs in building a successor to the Trident nuclear missile system. But such jobs would be capital-intensive (not to mention potentially a war-crime), what we now have a ‘glut’ of is labour, not capital.

The first thing that a Green New Deal must mean is good, secure, green jobs (see Jean Lambert’s Green jobs to beat recession). We need a ‘carbon army’ of highly skilled green-collar workers, so money is needed for retraining as well as new tranches of public transport investment and to make working on the land more sustainable and localised. By capitalising on economies of scale, the UK could rapidly become a world leader in cheap, eco-friendly energy – not just wind, but tidal, solar and other forms of renewables.

But can government really lead a relocalisation of our economy and society? Yes – in fact, only government can do this. We can have a centralised drive to create the tools for localised solutions. Micro energy production and decentralised district heating systems make sense but require big investment and co-ordination from the centre.

We should incentivise localities to welcome renewable energy’s gift of greater security of supply – perhaps by reducing tariffs in areas that adopt rather than reject wind, wave or tidal power schemes. This works from both the radical left and any mainstream political perspective. We’d be crazy not to pursue an avenue that can become the political consensus.

Currently British manufacturers produce few if any wind turbines, and planning regulations make the whole process of moving to a low carbon economy unnecessarily expensive and time consuming. Gearing the country towards independence from fossil fuels does two things at once. It helps cut our environmental impact and distances us from the instability of international fuel prices and markets. This will help us become a more sustainable and resilient economy in every sense.

It is imperative to ensure this unexpected, if welcome, Keynesian consensus is not squandered. This requires government intervention, so let’s make sure it’s the right intervention.

No taxation without representation
The globalised finance system that we now have would have been repugnant to Keynes, who wanted finance and capital kept national – and thus under democratic oversight.

We need systemic reform of the banking system but reforms alone will never secure long-term safety, because after a while a privatised banking system will start agitating to strip away and circumvent the protections and regulations. Instead, we need a banking system consisting of a large public sector, democratically directed toward a sustainable economy that supports businesses in the real economy, with low interest rates, plus a large network of co-ops, mutuals and credit unions.

A key principle that must govern any just response to the financial crisis is no taxation without representation. If we the people are to put billions of pounds of our money into guaranteeing the banks, then we need to be able to exert real control over those banks to change their behaviour.

It’s a scandal, for example, that Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley are repossessing more homes than their private competitors. If our money is to keep them afloat, let’s demand that that these building societies act for the public good, rather than simply aping commercial concerns. In the longer term, they should be remutualised.

It’s time for a great leap forward in our ability to weather the vast triple threat of dangerous climate change, peak oil and the financial crisis. In our view, putting the banks under public control is a logical conclusion of the urgently needed Green New Deal proposals.

Jim Jepps blogs at the Daily (Maybe) and Rupert Read is one of the 15 Green Party councillors in Norwich and prospective MEP for Eastern Region