This month’s piece from Sustainable Redland in Bishopston Voice is on the subject of the upcoming local elections. In it the author set out how he sees sustainability fitting in with other issues of transport, education, housing and healthcare. We felt that it would be useful to detail Labour’s policies with regards to the items that he raised. We’ll concentrate on Bishopston & Ashley Down, but the issues at hand are of course relevant to Redland, Ashley, and Bristol as a whole.
Firstly, on housing, we agree that energy costs should be as low as possible. This will be led by Labour through improving energy efficiency and by promoting the use of recycled and reused appliances. We will offer grants and loans to tenants, landlords and homeowners to insulate their homes, we will work to ensure that customers get the cheapest possible tariffs, and we will also support community initiatives such as eco homes and self-builds. Overall, we will work to make Bristol a carbon neutral city by 2050.
The article also suggests increasing homeowners’ ability to grow their own food. Labour is pledging to promote sustainable food networks and community gardening, and to protect our green spaces (including allotments). We will also build on the “Who feeds Bristol” report to develop a strategy for a long-term sustainable food network which is resilient and reduces waste.
Also on housing, local services such as GPs, schools and libraries should be near enough not to warrant driving. That’s why we, if elected as your Councillors, will push for any large new developments to include some sort of local service. This will be done in a way that avoids the mistakes the other parties made during their stewardship of the Bristol North Baths.
Education is also highlighted by the article, especially teaching children about sustainability. Labour will ensure that Bristol is a family friendly city, will protect green spaces, will encourage cycling proficiency and will improve the range of play provision to encourage healthiness and aspiration.
Transport is another area that the article mentions. In Bishopston & Ashley Down we are extremely concerned about the rising levels of pollution. That’s why we’ve started a pollution petition to try and get the Council to do more, regardless of who is in charge come May. This includes a Low Emission Zone in the city centre, better neighbourhood air monitors and resident information/alerts. To encourage people to walk and cycle more we will ensure that pavements are well maintained and safe for pedestrians, that cycle lanes are improved and that the cycling network is improved with better routes, access and signage (see our response to the space for cycling campaign for more).
On public transport, we will create a Bristol Rail Plan with a view to extra stations and lines beyond those already proposed, and a 20 minute frequency on the rail network. We will create Travel Hubs to make journeys easier and to integrate and modernise the public transport network. We will also review bus routes, ensure community transport services are better supported, extend real time information and bus colour coding, and intensify pressure for multi-operator tickets. This will all make it easier and more convenient to use public transport, encouraging people out of their cars.
The article rightly points out that sustainability and health are linked. That’s why, in addition to promoting more sustainable transportation, protecting our green spaces and encouraging healthier food, we will stop using harmful pesticides, combat waste on parks & pavements and launch a Clean Streets Campaign so that people feel more comfortable going outside.
Overall, Labour is of the belief that sustainability and social justice are inseparable. Our policies reflect not only the importance of environmentalism, but how sustainability can and should be an integral part of all other policies. To avoid writing too much in this blog post we’ve not been able to mention every sustainable policy that Bristol Labour is proposing, so we’d encourage you to read our manifesto, which contains all this and more.