Gateshead Council Climate Strategy Consultation

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.

Taxis

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.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Gorman

Climate Emergency Officer, On behalf of Gateshead Green Party

Green Field Grab

Recently, the Bill Quay Residents Group invited the Gateshead Green Party to support them with their campaign. Two local Greens and myself attended a public meeting there and expressed Green support. I attended two Gateshead Planning Committee Meetings in support of the local
residents as well.

It is worrying that Gateshead Council Planning Committee have agreed that 30 executive houses can be built on green fields at Bill Quay when they already have 10 years supply of housing land in the Borough!!! This land is not zoned for housing in their 20 year Plan.
Not only that, but for years they have zoned the site as part of our Wildlife Corridor. Only this week deer grazed on the land.
Of even more concern is that 8 of the Councillors either did not bother to attend or did not vote. So this wild life haven is lost to bricks & mortar by a small margin of 8 votes to 5 with 1 abstention.

We deserve better councillors who will protect the limited supply of land on our small island.

Andy Blanchflower,
Coordinator,
Gateshead Green Party.

Donation Appeal

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.

Push back against the DUP?

“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.

Pro choice campaigners take part in a demonstration through Belfast city centre on April 30, 2016.
Abortion prosecutions in Northern Ireland have forced the issue to centre of the campaign ahead of next week’s regional elections, with unprecedented political support for an end to the current ban. Northern Ireland currently bans abortion in all cases except when the life of the mother is in danger, photo credit PAUL FAITH)

North East Vegan Festival

Gateshead Green Party will be at the North East Vegan Festival talking all things Green!

The first NEVFEST to come to Gateshead. All in aid of Farplace Animal Rescue.

We will be hosting 70 stalls serving delicious homemade food, healthy drinks, selling quirky clothes and accessories, and speaking to you about their inspiring charities.

We will have special guest speakers to engage with you their work and views along with educational documentaries about how our food choices effect our environment, health and animal welfare.

Under 16 go free! Tickets available on the door. Show email payment confirmation to ticket desk on day.

VIP tickets allow exclusive early access along with Farplace tote filled with magasine, snack bars, vouchers and more!

Our festivals attract 1,500-2,000 people and if you would like to host a stall email Rachael events@farplace.org.uk or Kerri festivals@farplace.org.uk.

Email us if you would like to help in any way via flyering or volunteering. We offer free entry and soya hotdog to all those who support raising funds for FARPLACE ANIMAL RESCUE.

Tickets soon at www.northeastveganfestival.co.uk/tickets.html

FB event page:
http://tinyurl.com/yb4oaonv

TWiG Local Food Festival at Blaydon Burn Farm

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.

Facebook event: http://tinyurl.com/y7r6z2pa
Website: http://transitionwestgateshead.org/index.php/2017/06/19/local-food-festival-less-than-a-month-to-go/

Campaign Suspended

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.”

Q&A with Paul McNally (Blaydon candidate)

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

Newcastle Skeptics (in the pub) host General Election Special!

Alistair Ford, Green Party representative in Newcastle East will be talking at this Q&A event hosted by the Newcastle Skeptics. Full event details can be found here.

The event will consist of a six-minute talk from each party and a chaired Q+A session with questions from the audience and other candidates.

  • What? Q&A with local candidates.
  • Where? Tyneside Irish Centre, 43 Gallowgate, NE1 4SG (map).
  • When? Wednesday, May 31, 2017 7:30 PM.