Our Green Manifesto sets out our vision for Cambridge. Click on each heading to see the details.

 May 2021

Photos of Vote Green boardsGreen policies are about...

Facing up to the Climate Emergency with real action

Protecting nature and green spaces for everyone

Building for the future

Revolutionising transport in Cambridge

Focusing on community to reduce inequality

 

Facing up to the Climate Emergency with real action

 

Small child looking over River CamThe City Council declared climate and ecological emergencies in 2019. This is a good start but needs to be backed up by action that recognises the scale of the threat facing us.  

The UK is looking set to miss its targets for tackling climate change, and climate emissions in Cambridgeshire are even higher than the national average. Our City and County Councils are recklessly pursuing a model of endless growth. To take just one example of why this cannot continue: our region is running out of water. If the city grows as currently planned we will need major new mechanisms for keeping up with water demand. 

The Green Party advocates Doughnut Economics – an approach that aims to meet the needs of all people within the means of the living planet.

The climate emergency is a thread running through all our policies, and many of the actions listed under the other manifesto headings will help to address it. The following policies are specifically about climate change. 

Image: a small child looks out over the River Cam at Baits Bite Lock

Green Councillors will:

  • Consider the climate and ecological emergencies in every decision they make, applying the Doughnut Economics model.
  • Put pressure on major employers and institutions in Cambridge to adopt strict net-zero commitments by 2030 at the latest, considering indirect as well as direct carbon emissions. 
  • Work to make Cambridge a UK leader for reductions in carbon emissions.
  • Make Cambridge more resilient to the effects of climate change by investing in flood defences, increased tree cover and buildings designed to function in extremes of weather. 
  • Campaign to ensure the County Council divests the £87 million currently invested in the fossil fuel industry from their pension fund, and invests only in industries which are not destructive or exploitative. 

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Protecting nature and green spaces for everyone

 

Hannah Copley at Coldham's BrookCambridge Green Party is the only party that puts the environment at the heart of all our policies. 

High quality green spaces in urban areas are a haven for nature as well as offering huge mental and physical health benefits. Here in Cambridge unsustainable development is driving destruction of our natural habitats within the city and across Green Belt land. As well as destroying nature by paving it over, unsustainable developments increase the burden on our already overstretched water supply. As a result, the rare chalk stream ecology of many of the tributaries of the Cam is threatened, and the health of trees across the area is at risk as the water table falls.

Building a successful economy is impossible without a healthy environment. Right now, we are destroying the natural foundations of our economy faster than they can be regenerated. 

Image: Abbey candidate Hannah Charlotte Copley at Coldham's Brook

 

Green Councillors will:

  • Expand and improve the local nature reserve network so that people in all wards of the city have nature on their doorstep. As a priority, we will identify and develop wildlife corridors between the city biodiversity hotspots. 
  • Work to ensure green spaces are safe, clean and accessible to all.
  • Oppose building on green spaces within the city and, on areas where development is considered, ensure that rewilded areas and nature reserves comprise a high proportion of the land.
  • Oppose development that will increase the ongoing removal of water from the chalk aquifer.
  • Hold Anglian Water to account for their ongoing discharge of raw sewage into the Cam.
  • Support community groups with officer time to protect and improve local chalk streams, for example Coldham’s Brook.

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Building for the future

 

A row of houses in CambridgeThe homes and other buildings we are constructing now will stand for many years. We need to think about the future. This means making sure buildings use energy and water as efficiently as possible, and designing them to be habitable in the face of our increasingly chaotic climate.

To achieve this we need to adopt much higher standards for efficiency and insist that new buildings comply with them. Many studies have shown that most buildings – even those claiming ‘green’ credentials – perform less well in comfort and energy efficiency than expected. This is due both to poor design and poor workmanship.

The Passivhaus standard defines the building process from design through to inspection. The resulting buildings are comfortable to live and work in and require very little energy for heating or cooling.

Image: a row of houses in Cambridge 

 

Green Councillors will:

  • Lobby for policy to require all new Council-funded buildings, including council housing, to be built to Passivhaus standards.
  • Invest in schemes to retrofit existing council housing to improve efficiency standards.
  • Lobby to make Passivhaus-equivalent performance (especially the requirement that space heating should need no more than 15 kWh/m2 pa) a planning approval condition for all new buildings. Developers who claim to achieve this performance without fully adopting Passivhaus should be required to (1) demonstrate that their plans will achieve this, (2) pay for a post-occupancy energy audit.
  • Lobby for the highest water efficiency credentials, including greywater collection, for all new developments 
  • Work with local developers and building professionals to ensure that they understand the new standards and how to achieve them, including subsidising professional training where appropriate.
  • Support residents in retrofitting their homes to conserve energy.

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Revolutionising transport in Cambridge

 

Naomi Bennett at bus stopTransport in Cambridge is not fit for purpose. We need a rapid shift to greener travel.

Although Cambridge has the highest cycling figures in the UK, we have the potential to do even better. Many cycle paths are mixed use, some are badly maintained. Many roads lack room for bikes between parking and traffic. Big projects like the Chisholm Trail are great, but often late and over budget. Increasing the proportion of journeys made by active transport would benefit everyone, including those less able to cycle or walk, by reducing traffic jams and improving air quality.

Current bus services do not serve Cambridge residents well: there are areas, for example in Abbey, where buses are rare and slow. Ticket prices are too high; it is cheaper to take a family to town by car and pay the high car parking fees than to go on the bus. We need public transport that is easy, cheap and reliable.

We also need disincentives for people driving all the way into Cambridge from outside. A blanket congestion charge would not be appropriate for Cambridge since, in the absence of good public transport infrastructure, such a policy would disproportionately affect the less well-off. If the Park and Ride and local buses worked seamlessly on low congestion roads, travel without a car would be much easier. The rapid shift to electric vehicles will also help in creating zero-pollution transport. 

Image: Abbey candidate Naomi Bennett waits at a bus stop

 

Green Councillors will:

  • Work towards introducing an emissions-free zone in the centre of Cambridge.
  • Campaign for major investment into active transport with the goal of creating a fully interconnected, properly segregated cycle network.
  • Work with residents to create low traffic neighbourhoods.
  • Campaign for improvements to the bus system to make it the cheapest and most enjoyable way to travel around Cambridge.
  • Campaign for strict rules against engine idling as long as diesel and petrol vehicles are still used in the city centre.
  • Accelerate and manage the shift to electric vehicles by installing many more free or low-cost charging points, accessible to existing residents and standard in all new builds, and introducing appropriate safety regulations including clear guidelines on which vehicles can use which routes.

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Focusing on community to reduce inequality

 

Matt and Jeremy talking to residentWe want to tackle inequality in Cambridge, including the most deprived areas of the City in Abbey. The economic growth envisaged by our Councils mainly benefits developers and those with money to invest. To be truly sustainable, new developments should be based around local need for housing, employment and infrastructure, not a top-down growth target. The provision of ‘affordable housing’ is woefully inadequate, both in terms of what proportion of housing is allocated as ‘affordable’ and the size of the discount compared to market rates. We need a large increase in council owned and managed secure rented property backed up by community ownership cooperatives, housing associations and co-housing projects.

The Covid-19 pandemic has widened pre-existing gaps in our society, with the worst effects being felt by those who are already the least well off. On the other hand, it has also shone a light on the incredible resilience of local groups and organisations to support people in a time of need. 

Image: Abbey candidates Matt Howard and Jeremy Caddick speak to a resident on their doorstep 

 

Green Councillors will:

  • Fund and support the community hubs and other organisations that have developed during the coronavirus pandemic. Given the right support, these hubs can become points of connection between residents of all backgrounds, and support those who face all forms of disadvantage. 
  • Increase investment in youth groups and centres, and outdoor sports infrastructure.
  • Set up Videoconferencing and IT hubs based in libraries and other local community spaces to enable video conferencing and access to the internet for local residents.
  • Involve future residents in the design of any developments (following the example set by Marmalade Lane).
  • Review the rates for Affordable Housing to ensure they are genuinely affordable for lower income households in Cambridge, based on the best available evidence, while lobbying to increase the requirement for proportion of Affordable Homes to 50% on all new developments. 
  • Work to increase the quantity and quality of Council housing stock, and strongly oppose the selling off of council and social housing.

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