As Green Party councillors we would give a voice to residents, provide fresh ideas for the borough, and hold the council to account, as our Green Party London Assembly members, Sian Berry and Caroline Russell, do with Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan.
We are caught up in a social crisis caused by lack of social housing, which must be urgently addressed. A gap has developed between the haves and the have-nots, leaving many long-term residents and young people alike facing an uncertain future.
- Air quality: This must be continuously monitored across the borough, with particular attention to the areas surrounding our schools. Decisive, effective steps must be taken to reduce current pockets of high pollution, preventing a generation of children from being negatively impacted during the borough’s transition to a low-carbon economy. We demand that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for all vehicles is London-wide and brought in before 2020.
- Traffic reduction: We propose trials of traffic reduction schemes, as a better approach to consultation. In addition, we propose a Workplace Parking Levy, to reduce the number of commuters from outside the borough driving through our streets, and demand the stringent enforcement of all 20 mph speed limits in the borough. The council is urged to replace speed cushions with humps, and to tackle potholes more effectively, saving money in the process.
- Housing: The provision of genuine social housing should be foremost in council policy. Affordable housing should mean social rented or London Living Rent, not 80% of the market rate, as is currently the case. We propose an affordable housing target of 65% minimum, with the council implementing its powers of bringing empty properties into occupation. An already overcrowded area does not require further high-rise developments. Any additional housing should be built with the consent of local residents, and must be genuinely affordable Council housing.
- Youth services: Waltham Forest, formerly top of the London boroughs’ spending league on youth services, has now slashed funding by 67%. We’d seek to reverse these cuts and help projects apply for new funding from the Mayor to support young people.
- NHS: People living in highly polluted areas, as well as people in housing deprivation and sub-standard accommodation are prone both to both physical and mental ill-health, which in turn adds to the pressure on our NHS. By looking after people’s health needs before they present clinical symptoms, both the physical and the financial pressures on the NHS will be significantly reduced.
- Our joined-up thinking: It is essential to see the links between different issues; air quality, traffic control, housing, and health are intertwined. This is called ‘holistic’ (or more simply, ‘joined-up’ thinking), which is what the Green Party aims to supply. Other parties may have adopted a few ‘green’ policies, but only the Green Party puts the environment at the heart of its manifesto.