The Labour and Conservative Parties joined hands yet again to vote against Green-led proposals for safer, healthier, liveable neighbourhoods
In tonight’s Budget Council session, Labour and Tory Councillors once again united to needlessly cut funding for crucial environmental measures for the city. The Labour amendment that Tories lined up behind strips £1.1million of funding from plans to install vital safety measures on Elm Grove, Queen’s Park Road, and Egremont Place. These plans have been drawn up alongside residents, despite opposition claims of representing these same residents.
Labour and Tory opposition to these plans comes despite multiple severe casualties caused by traffic incidents on Elm Grove. Whilst Labour label the Greens’ solutions as “vanity projects,” Greens consistently argue that these are necessary measures to help ensure basic safety, including by Elm Grove School.
Greens also emphasise that their proposed greening enhancements in the area would help to reduce the lethal levels of air pollution, which are disproportionately experienced by families on lower incomes – many of whom cannot afford to drive.
Whilst Labour and Tories work to slash this budget, Greens remain focused on utilising what money can be found to give residents these popular, necessary measures that they expect.
Speaking in Budget Council, Environment, Transport and Sustainability Co-Chair Elaine Hills said:
“Labour’s amendment is an attempt to trash plans to make these roads safer, by removing the funding added to the project for this important work. Labour say that they are doing this to save public toilets. But where have they been? We have already reversed toilet savings, and put in additional money to that service.
“So this cannot be a genuine attempt to save public toilets. This is cheap electioneering at the expense of safer, greener streets, cleaner air and tackling the climate crisis. It was under a Labour administration that the wheels were set in motion for the climate assembly, in which schemes to cut traffic in neighbourhoods were set as a priority. Labour have voted in favour of the liveable neighbourhood scheme so far, but now suddenly are making this screeching U-turn. They are now calling one of the most effective ways of reducing road danger, improving air quality, health outcomes and reducing carbon as a “vanity project” in the hope to win votes.
“We will continue to fight for these plans by building coalitions with residents across the city; Greens will always fight for making our lives safer and healthier, especially for the most vulnerable.”
Also speaking on this item, Councillor Jamie Lloyd said:
“Whilst no one expects otherwise from the Tories, some might assume that Labour would care about the environment. But this is far from the first time that Labour have failed to stick to their alleged principles on the environment.
“When they voted for the destruction of the OSR bike lane, they cost the city £70,000. The financial implications of that decision continue to impact us. As a result, Active Travel England marked us down, affecting all future active travel funding for projects that benefit this city, and creating a legacy of ongoing cuts that have caused people in the city to lose their jobs. We all complain, quite rightly, about austerity, but this is the one sector where can get real government investment on a regular basis; the least we can do is get us much of that investment as possible. But, every time Labour destroy a bike lane or cause the destruction of a potential scheme, the problem of austerity only gets worse – by Labour’s doing.”