Events in our city need to pay back to our communities and respect our environment

Greens propose new sustainability criteria for city events, but Labour Councillors vote down proposals and idea to improve funding for parks and open spaces

Labour Councillors have rejected Green proposals for a fairer fee structure for events coming to the city that would have improved funding for our parks and open spaces.

Speaking at a meeting of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Tourism, Development and Culture Committee, Green Councillors Phélim MacCafferty and Tom Druitt said it was time that private events coming to the city contributed more to the community and to the environment. But Labour Councillors rejected the Green proposals for a fairer events policy, criticising them for being ‘too long’.

Green Councillors raised the examples of other Councils such as Haringey and Oxford, who levy an ‘Environmental Impact Charge’ to account for the impact large scale events have on the city including large amounts of non-recyclable waste and damage to parks and open spaces. Greens want to see this charge introduced in Brighton, with the funding ringfenced to support the many ‘Friends of’ associations who help to maintain the quality of open spaces.

Damage on Brunswick lawns
Repeated events can affect the quality of parks and open spaces – with little done to repair the damage

Councillor Mac Cafferty raised concerns that in some cases profit-making festivals on Hove Lawns could be charging double the cost of the fee paid to the Council to run just one stall, whilst measures to ensure the parks were returned to their original state are clearly not working.

Speaking after the meeting, Green Spokesperson for Tourism, Development & Culture Cllr Tom Druitt said,

“Residents have raised a number of concerns about some of the events held in the city, ranging from the direct impact in terms of noise, rubbish, and the closure of footpaths and cycle paths to the cumulative impact of the events on our parks and open spaces. Moreover, it is clear that different event organisers pay different amounts for very similar events.

“It is a crying shame that Labour voted against our proposals to address these issues, seemingly for no reason other than because they were Green proposals. In doing so they have thrown away the opportunity to create a fair and transparent fee structure for events that would have improved funding for our parks and open spaces.”

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty added:

“A much clearer charging schedule in B&H is needed, where we’re not curtailing community or arts events but also not being completely ripped off by events which are run solely for profit for someone else. Local Labour Councillors voted against our proposal for fairer events for Brighton & Hove that pay back to the community and respect our environment, for example by not leaving trails of plastic waste.

“In my own ward of Brunswick and Adelaide, whilst residents are very good about events, there is virtually no occasion where residents have had not their lives disrupted by events on Hove Lawns. Our open spaces are taken away from our communities, and the small amount that is charged by the City Council goes nowhere near mitigation of the impact they cause.”  

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