Gateshead Green Party were delighted to welcome national party co-leader Carla Denyer to the borough today (4th April 2023). Carla joined Crawcrook and Greenside local election candidate Jack Phillipson for a Q and A session with residents and some leaflet deliveries before speaking to BBC Look North and visiting other areas of the north east.
You can see the BBC’s report on her visit here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001ksk5/look-north-north-east-and-cumbria-evening-news-04042023 (at 11 minutes and 10 seconds, available until 7pm on 5th April). Carla explained that she has been touring all over the North East because “we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to get Greens elected”. This is certainly the case in Crawcrook and Greenside, where Jack ran Labour extremely close in 2022.
We’re very grateful to Carla for her support today and we hope we’re able to repay her support with our first Green councillor. Everybody enjoyed the morning, thanks in no small part to the wonderful sunshine. Our attention now turns to the remainder of the short campaign, as there is not long left until the elections on the 4th May.
As readers may be aware, the Boundary Commission has recently put forward revised proposals for constituency boundaries in the North East of England. The Commission has changed its initial proposal published in June 2021 so that, instead of preserving Gateshead borough’s existing two constituencies of Gateshead and Blaydon, the borough will be split into four. The proposed new constituencies are:
Gateshead and Whickham BC
Jarrow BC (includes Felling and Pelaw)
Blaydon and Consett CC
Washington BC (includes Birtley)
We feel that this separation is going to result in poorer representation for the people of Gateshead. As we explained in our response to the Commission, “Gateshead residents will feel that their MP is unlikely to prioritise their issues over those of [the] larger centres of population of Jarrow/Hebburn, Washington/Hylton and Consett”. We are also disappointed by the timing of the proposals, given that there was no indication of these substantial changes in the earlier phases of the review and that the final consultation phase allows just four weeks for responses, with no public hearings planned.
There is still time to respond to the consultation. We would encourage all those who believe that Gateshead’s residents should be represented effectively in parliament to do so. You can submit comments on the proposals at https://www.bcereviews.org.uk/. The consultation period finishes on the 5th December 2022.
You can access the full text of our response to the Boundary Commission below.
We sent the following email to Gateshead Council as our collective response from Gateshead Green Party to the climate strategy consultation:
Dear Climate Action Team,
We welcome the council’s consultation on its climate strategy and have encouraged our members to engage with it, complete the survey and support any actions that arise within the wards where they live.
However, we’ve also thought collectively about what more could be done to progress more quickly to becoming a local authority which is carbon neutral and would like to offer some suggestions.
We’ve noted from our own analysis of the published figures on CO2 emissions that the Transport sector contributes the largest share and not only that, but before the pandemic, was increasing, while emissions for all the other sectors were decreasing (see the chart below).
The interactive version of the chart can be accessed here
We’ve also noted that the percentage of people in Gateshead who walk or cycle is very low compared to the rest of the country. In 2019 the percentage of people who walked or cycled at least once in the month was 75%, implying that 25% did not walk or cycle at all (see the chart below).
The interactive version of the chart can be accessed here
General observations on ward based action
We support the ward based approach outlined in the strategy and local councillors becoming champions of initiatives in their wards. However, we also recognise that some changes, particularly in relation to transport, can only realistically be implemented with central co-ordination across the whole of Gateshead. A possible way to positively engage local people with such changes may be to set up a citizens’ assembly as has been successfully trialled in other areas, such as in Oxford. See here for details.
We think that the engagement of people locally and fostering a sense of control and ownership will be the key to change. To this end we think the ward based approach could be extended to street level where councillors could ask for volunteers street by street to co-ordinate residents groups and street based initiatives to drive CO2 reductions. It would be an amazing milestone to have a whole street of local residents declare themselves to be carbon neutral!
Back to the question of transport we also have the following suggestions:
Promoting active transport
Increasing the proportion of people who walk or cycle to work or school to visit friends or to do shopping, we believe, is an important way to address rising CO2 emissions from transport.
This work should begin with schools, with councillors engaging with local schools
to understand what the existing green travel plans are, to support their development and help to identify opportunities for improvement.
To support fund raising to install bike storage areas and increase the ownership and use of bikes among children.
The next port of call would be places of work, but we think the approach may need to be informed by any lessons learned from engaging with schools.
We recognise that road safety concerns are a disincentive for people to walk or cycle. As such we think that the creation of a 20 mile an hour speed limit in all urban areas of Gateshead would create a safe environment in which active transport is more likely to flourish.
We would encourage the council to change the licencing arrangements so that only electric vehicles are licensed to operate as taxis in Gateshead.
We are mindful of the important role that taxi drivers fulfil in meeting local transport needs, particularly for more disadvantaged members of the community, and the long and unsocial hours they need to work in order to make a living. Any changes to the licensing should, therefore, be phased and supported in such a way to ensure that the existing level of provision is maintained and taxi drivers themselves are not in any way economically disadvantaged. Our hope would be that taxi drivers would be able to gain some financial advantage from a lower cost per mile of running an electric over a petrol or diesel vehicle, which they can pass on in part to their customers.
Reduce the need to travel
People travel and contribute to CO2 emissions because the object of their journey is further away than they are able or willing to walk or cycle. Councillors should establish within their wards what services, shops or amenities are missing which necessitates people travelling outside the area and identify what can be done to bring in the missing elements. Further investigation may be required to establish whether the planning application process could be amended to deliver more balanced local economies, high streets and public services? The aim should be to develop neighbourhoods in line with the 15 minute city concept. See https://www.15minutecity.com/.
We would be happy to support any further investigation or discussions to assess the feasibility of the suggestions we’ve made.
Thank you for consideration.
Climate Emergency Officer, On behalf of Gateshead Green Party
Greetings all Gateshead Green Party supporters, I would like make a call for donations for our local (East Midlands and the North East) Field Officer Jonathon Elmer. As you may know, the Green Party operates entirely from voluntary contributions and unfortunately the Greens can’t currently afford to keep Jonathon employed. Jonathan is currently employed to provide local parties with the support they need to fight competitive election campaigns, and our near victory in Neville’s Cross shows that his approach works. Jonathan has worked really hard in his role and has been making large contributions to the support of local parties and his constituency for years. Local members have all been chipping in to help support his monthly income and we’re almost at out target but we and he, could really do with your support. We are asking for direct debit contributions to help fund Jonathan’s monthly wage. Any small amount would be a wonderful addition. No one is under any obligation and we respect and understand that not everyone can contribute. We would appreciate any help that can be offered to help Jonathan continue. Please follow the secure link if you would like to help, http://Tinyurl.com/NEGPdirectdebit.
“I hope we succeed in fulfilling Northern Irish women’s rights, but I also hope that this amendment sends a clear message: We will not tolerate even a single step backwards on abortion by a Conservative-DUP government.”
I NEWS Article by Caroline Lucas, follow link here.
Transition West Gateshead is an optimistic and practical response to climate change and shrinking supplies of fuel. People get together to come up with ideas and projects to make their area more aware and resilient. TWiG is presenting their annual local food festival where they promote and showcase the local food produce of the area and discuss how we can make our community for environmentally friendly.
There will be a great selection of local food available to buy on the day including fresh veg from Gibside Community Farm, free range eggs from Self Sufficient in Suburbia, Sunniside, fresh bread from Wildfire Bakery, Ryton, a hog roast and BBQ from High Strothers Farm, High Spen, woodfired pizza and garlic Bread from Earth and Fire, Gibside, herb teas and tombola, plants from Tom and Joe’s, Wylam and more to be announced! Lots of children’s activities including upcycling and face painting and demonstrations centred around living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. A history walk and foraging experience through the woods. There will be vegan, veggie and gluten free curries from The Paddock and The Pickle Palace made using organic, surplus veggies, gluten free sweet treats from Liz’s Supperclub, High Spen, and The Pickle Palace will have a selection of jams, chutneys, pickles and preserves, the perfect accompaniment to the cheese from The Northumberland Cheese Company on behalf of The Paddock.
Gateshead Green Party will have a stall over at the TWiG Local Food Festival, and will be talking about how we can all help take care of our environment.
Come on down and have a great day for the whole family!
Saturday 15th. July 12.00 noon -4.00 p.m. £1 entrance fee, 50p for children.
The Green Party has suspended campaigning today after last night’s terrorist attack in Manchester.
All national campaigning events, including the billboard launch and Welsh Green Party manifesto launch are cancelled.
In a statement following the attacks, the Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said:
“Our thoughts are with those affected by this appalling incident in Manchester. For young people to be targeted in this way is utterly atrocious. As ever our emergency services have done us proud – and we pay tribute to the police, firefighters and paramadics who stepped up in this time of need. Our country will never be divided by terror. The people of Manchester showed last night just how strong the bond of friendship is between the people who live on these islands – and in the coming days and weeks we’ll show that we won’t let terrorism tear us apart.”
The Green Party Gateshead are proud to announce our first Q&A of the election season; Paul McNally, our Blaydon representative, will be speaking along side opposition candidates at Strathmore Road Methodist Church next Thursday 25th May at 7:30pm.
We would like to invite all interested parties to come along and hear what Paul has to say and please do ask questions!
What? Q&A with local candidates.
Where? Strathmore Road Methodist Church NE39 1HX, the Church is prominently positioned between the main road (A694) and the B6315. See here for map.
When? Next Thursday 25th May 7:30pm
The campaign to win Sheffield Central is well underway and Natalie Bennett needs your help to leaflet and/or canvass in Sheffield. There is canvassing every evening and big Action Days every Saturday with a trip to the Pub afterwards. If you can help, then sign up on the eventbrite page using this link.