News from Kent Greens
Kent Greens Urge KCC To Do More To Help County's Vulnerable
Tue, 22 Apr 2014
Kent Greens have called on KCC to open the purse strings and do more for the county's most vulnerable people. A large portion of the Council's emergency fund to help low-income families remains unspent and Green Party KCC councillor, Martin Whybrow, is seeking assurances that the surplus will be rolled over at the end of this month and ring-fenced for its original intended purpose.
Year to 21/1 Food Energy Equipment Travel Cash Total awards
Tonbridge & Malling 3.75%
Tunbridge Wells 3.35%
1.See spreadsheet attached to this e-mail. Figures produced by the Guardian. See http://www.theguardian.com/politics/datablog/2014/apr/20/the-crisis-in-local-welfare-assistance-explained
Green Party Urgent Action to Tackle Kent's "Killer Pollution"
Fri, 18 Apr 2014
Kent Greens are calling on KCC to take urgent action to tackle the county's "killer pollution" problem.
According to a major report published by Public Health England (PHE) last week, 25,000 people, aged 25 or over, died from cardiovascular and respiratory causes linked to long-term exposure to air pollution in 2010 (1). Kent has the highest rate of air pollution related deaths in South East England at 745. Neighbouring Surrey had 527 deaths, East Sussex 294, West Sussex 429, and Hampshire 294(2).
Out of the 12 Kent District Councils, Thanet had 90 air pollution related deaths, the largest number in the county. Canterbury was in second place at 81. The lowest numbers of air pollution related deaths were in Ashford with 50 and Tunbridge Wells with 46 (3).
Thanet Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, said "Too many people are dying prematurely because of airborne pollution produced by cars and industry. This pollution is also a cause of respiratory illness amongst children and young people and is a major contributor to climate change. KCC needs to urgently review this unacceptable situation and review and strengthen its strategies to reduce airborne pollution and premature deaths across the county".
"Thanet and the other Kent councils should all be investing more money in the development of better cycling facilities, the promotion of walking and the improvement and expansion of affordable public transport. There should also be an major increase in roadside vehicle emission testing to catch and fine polluters".
The PHE research was published several days after a report commissioned by Green Party MEP, Keith Taylor, revealed that almost 42,000 Kent school students attend schools located within 150 metres of busy roads (roads with more than 10,000 vehicle movements per day), placing their cardiovascular and respiratory health at high levels of risk (4).
Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England April 2014. http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607
See above report
Figures extracted from 1.Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England April 2014.
District Attributable deaths
Tonbridge and Malling 53
Tunbridge Wells 46
Keith launches air pollution report in Canterbury http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/2014/04/09/keith-launches-air-pollution-report-in-canterbury/
Pathetic: New data shows KCC has done nothing to increase cycling
Sun, 30 Mar 2014
Pathetic, is how the Kent's Green County Councillor has described cycling to work rates across the country. Figures released last week show that cycling to work has fallen in every area of Kent since 2001.
Martin Whybrow, Green Party Kent County Councillor for Hythe, said : "The proportion of people cycling to work has fallen by a fifth over the past 10 years, from a previously paltry 2.0% to a pathetic 1.6% in Kent. This contrasts with rises in London of up to 7.6%.
"Furthermore, cycling to work has fallen in every area across Kent which simply shows that Kent County Council has done nothing to promote one of the most sustainable forms of transport.
"With air pollution at dangerous levels in the county, including a smog this month which prompted warnings for people to stay indoors, real action is urgently needed to increase cycling across the county."
Far from meeting road casualty targets, the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed or seriously injured on Kent's roads has been increasing of late.
"This is an extremely car-centric council that gives scant consideration to cycling. There is no concerted effort to improve safety and thereby encourage more cycling," concludes Cllr Whybrow.
Kent Greens Call for Abolition of County Council
Mon, 03 Mar 2014
The Green Party is calling for the abolition of Kent County Council and its replacement by six unitary councils based on the following groupings.
Thanet and Dover (population 245,500)
Canterbury and Swale (population 287,000)
Shepway and Ashford (population 226,000)
Maidstone Tonbridge and Malling (population 289,000)
Dartford and Gravesham (population 199,000)
Sevenoaks, and Tunbridge Wells (population 230,000)
Existing Medway unitary council with a population 264,000 will remain unchanged.
The new unitary authorities would provide education, social care, highways, planning, housing, refuse collection and many other services to populations of between 200,000 - 300,000 people.
Chair of Kent Green Party and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald, Stuart Jeffrey said "the existing county council is too large and unwieldy. It lacks any real connection and accountability to the people it serves. Local government should, by definition, be based as close to its electors as possible, rather than being inaccessible to most of Kent's residents.
Smaller unitary councils will bring together areas of Kent which are already closely connected and share many common issues. They will also bring together residents, staff and politicians with an expert understanding of the areas covered by the new councils. This would place them in a stronger position to develop more effective policies and strategies than the current Maidstone based system".
Green Party Thanet District Councillor Ian Driver said, "In East Kent many of the District Councils are already working closely together. They have successfully shared Housing, Human Resources, IT, Revenues, Benefits and Audit services for several years, so why not include KCC services as well?
I believe that the new unitary councils should be elected by proportional representation so that smaller parties and independent candidates can be represented giving a more balanced and inclusive approach to decision making. The new councils should be managed by committee systems to prevent power being concentrated into the hands of a tiny handful of cabinet members and they should be underpinned and supported by a strong system of parish and town councils which will ensure community accountability".
The establishment of unitary authorities will form part of the Kent Green Party's manifesto for the 2015 council elections.