VOTE GREEN FOR ACTION
Brighton & Hove Green Party Manifesto 2023
Greens have been running the city since 2020, and the challenges we’ve faced have been immense. From the loss of 674 people to the Covid-19 pandemic that is still being felt today, to the cost-of-living crisis which has seen foodbank demand mushroom as rents and bills continue to soar. Local councils have become a fifth emergency service- with growing demand for basic services that can no longer keep up with rising need.
Recovery has been tough, compounded by 13 years of Conservative government cuts, as the city’s had to make over £200m of savings. But Greens aren’t backing away. Taking over the running of a city at a time like this has required resilience, experience, insight and compassion.
We’ve worked around the clock to rebuild the city’s environment and economy; from the Victoria Fountain, Corn Exchange to Madeira Terrace, we are restoring the city’s rich heritage. In the east, the new Kemptown boardwalk complements the Black Rock development, while construction on a new park for Hove seafront has begun in the west.
Brighton & Hove has a dazzling array of small businesses which along with high numbers of residents with top qualifications are key to how we bounce back. These important elements will still need sustained government support to recover from the last period. A transformation is underway as we build the neighbourhoods of tomorrow in Portslade and Coldean. We remain the preferred location for film and tv production teams, drawn to our city’s passion, culture, creativity and colour.
We’ve built 497 council homes and we’ll build more in the next year, becoming the biggest provider of affordable rented homes across the city. We’re investing £3 million in children’s playgrounds- the largest investment in a decade. To help renters and homeowners struggling with the cost-of-living crisis we’re building warmer homes simultaneously creating jobs, cutting bills and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
Following a year of record-breaking heatwaves and unprecedented floods, our commitment to take the strongest action to prevent climate breakdown is unflinching, whether it’s rewilding Waterhall, developing the plan for our Downland, investing in hydrogen to power the future or planting more than 14,000 trees. Our Bus Service Improvement Plan means free bus journeys for accompanied under 19s. We’re funding safer pavements, making it easier and safer for more people to choose walking first for local journeys.
We’re also keeping a close eye on the look and feel of the city - we’ve installed mobile CCTV to evidence fly tipping and are tackling graffiti with community protection notices. We’ve recruited teams to manually tackle weeding, flyposting and stickering. We’re bringing in new communal refuse bins, while the refurbishment of public toilets is also underway.
Greens are making the tough decisions to keep our city moving forward, making the best of a bad situation and stretching every penny. As we make this council work for you, we push back against the government with the loudest voices, for the powers and funding we know Brighton & Hove needs and deserves.
United in our commitment to our communities and firmly focused on the important local issues affecting our city. Protecting the most vulnerable, creating jobs, opportunities and apprenticeships; helping to build a cleaner, healthier and greener city fit for the future.
Our manifesto demonstrates just some of what we’ve managed to do in only two years. Imagine what Greens could achieve over the next four. When you vote Green on Thursday 4th May, you vote for action: action on the climate crisis, and for a fairer Brighton and Hove.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader, Brighton & Hove City Council
Action on the Climate Crisis
- Launch of our School Streets programme - using local traffic orders to restrict traffic movements around schools - to make the walk to school not only safer but also healthier
- Increase in the roll-out of electric vehicle charging points, with Brighton & Hove becoming one of the top five councils in the country for our charging network
- Introduction of the city’s first secure cycle storage on our streets, with a target of 150 hangar installations by the end of 2023, ensuring that people in flats and without space to store cycles have access to store their cycles safely
- Launching a multi-year programme to re-wild Waterhall Golf Course, providing new open space, supporting growth in wildlife populations and regenerating our ancient chalk grassland
- £29 million awarded for the Bus Service Improvement Plan and additional investment in walking and cycling infrastructure.
- We have started work on Valley Gardens Phase 3. This final phase of the project creates a new park and travel corridor from the Level to the Palace Pier. The project supports better and safer journeys around the city and helps improve air quality.
- Development of a City Downland Estate Plan to manage the council-owned land around the city in line with our climate change commitments
- Consulted on introducing Liveable Neighbourhoods, to reduce rat running and make it easier for children to play
- Created a plan to improve walking and cycling, and an additional plan to improve transport generally
- Increased the funding to schools to improve environmental education
The climate crisis remains the greatest challenge the world faces. We will address this locally by reducing the city’s harmful emissions and improving air quality and by working with residents, organisations and businesses to help them do the same. Our aim is to reduce our city’s toxic emissions to net zero by 2030. We have subjected our climate actions to external scrutiny by taking part in the Carbon Disclosure Project, for which we scored A- in 2022, up from a B in 2021. Yet over the last few years, our progress has been hampered by opposition parties who have blocked key solutions like food waste, banning pavement parking and improving air quality.
If you vote Green, we will continue to take action to:
- Improve air quality, including by expanding the “Ultra Low Emissions Zone” (ULEZ) into a London-style low emissions zone for all polluting vehicles and reducing levels of traffic overall, and implementing a liveable city centre
- Make it easier for children at all schools in the city to walk, wheel and scoot to school by expanding our Schools Streets programme
- Cut toxic carbon emissions by continuing to plant more trees, replacing those cut down, as well as planting additional trees in woodlands
- Improve recycling by introducing a food waste collection and explore ways of collecting additional materials
- Expand opportunities for residents to recycle by moving to weekly recycling and fortnightly general waste collections
- Encourage more cycling by providing safe residential cycle storage, including safe, secure, large-scale cycle parking in the city centre
- Encourage more local food-growing by increasing the number of allotments and ensuring all are tenanted; developing a community farm; increasing community composting; and working with local organisations who promote local food growing
- Apply green energy solutions including by building a local solar farm, maximising the use of solar power and, where possible, applying a zero/negative carbon policy for new buildings in the city
- Implement a programme of insulation and energy-efficiency measures for council homes (target of Energy Performance Certificate B or better by 2030) and a Warmer Homes scheme for lower-income households in the private sector, while also offering a wider advice scheme
- Empower residents to promote neighbourhood uptake of the many existing waste reduction and reuse opportunities available in the city through the development of Zero Waste Communities
- Implement the Local Nature Recovery Strategy to make space for nature in the farmed landscape and the wider countryside, alongside food production
- Collaborate with the South Downs National Park on their key priorities of climate action and nature recovery
- Improveemissions monitoring to measure progress and show that measures are effective, adapting them where necessary
- Continue the 'Our City, Our World' environmental education programme across our city's schools, including working to complete further changes to school buildings and land
- Introduce more water refill points in other parts of the city to reduce plastic waste.
Action for a fairer brighton & hove
- Put in place assistance with the cost-of-living crisis, including money advice, warm spaces, help with energy bills, food and wellbeing
- Successfully obtainedfunding to make the city’s streets safer with lighting and CCTV
- Delivered new, sustainable council homes (497 by spring 2023, with a further 229 during 2023/24), including the Council's first with a ground-source heat pump, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and cutting energy bills
- Supported residents on lowest incomes by making our scheme to reduce their council tax bill even fairer
- Launched a donation fund to help fund support for people most struggling with the rising costs of living and introduced food donation points in council buildings to help support our vital emergency food network
- Started to develop a strategy to make the city more accessible for people with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities, the first UK council to do so
- Taken action on racism, through specific work streams in our schools and social work teams
- More than trebled our ‘Housing First’ placements which provide wrap-around support for the homeless
- Worked with neighbouring councils to make our council homes warmer and cheaper to heat while reducing our impact on the environment
- Developed a policy minimising the carbon emissions associated with building and operating any council developments, the first UK council to do so
- Appointed council officers and a standing invitee to two powerful council decision-making committees to support the city’s disabled and Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities
- Signed the Anti-Slavery Pledge to help tackle modern slavery and human trafficking
- Improved council procurement rules to help local providers bid to offer services for survivors of violence against women and girls
- Introduced third-party impartial reporting centres for hate crime
- Supported the provision of a new Brighton Youth Centre and a new Youth Hub in Moulsecoomb.
The poorest in society face more challenges than others, whether from climate change, rising energy prices, shortage of affordable living accommodation, access to local services or poor public transport links. With high inflation and global economic pressures the cost of living - paying just to put food on the table and heat our homes - is a challenge and creates anxiety for more and more of our residents.
Greens will work to ensure fairer access for all by addressing inequality of opportunity. The UK struggles to provide secure and affordable housing for all, and Brighton & Hove is no exception. Nationally, we need a wholesale revaluation of the housing market. Locally, we are working to increase the amount of residential accommodation available, improve standards in council homes, and regulate private sector landlords.
- Tackle rogue landlords by introducing a selective licensing scheme for private rented properties in the city along with an additional licensing scheme for Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
- Increase the percentage of children placed with Brighton & Hove City Council foster carers
- Deliver 800 new affordable and energy efficient council homes by 2028 in line with the Council’s New Build Housing Sustainability Policy, aiming to use natural materials that act as carbon stores wherever possible
- Replace council houses lost to “right to buy” by buying back properties for let at truly affordable rents
- Continue to increase the voice of children and young people by further supporting the Youth Council and Children in Care Council, and improve the Corporate Parenting Board
- Continue to promote Brighton & Hove as a City of Sanctuary welcoming refugees and work with community and voluntary sector organisations to support them
- Continue to prioritise funding for community and voluntary sector organisations providing services in the city
- Expand homelessness prevention through early intervention and introduce further Housing First placements to help people out of homelessness
- Continue to oppose the Government’s failed academisation plan and lobby for adequate school funding, including pay and facilities
- When the powers become available, apply the highest available Council Tax on second homes/holiday-let businesses
- Develop a Private Rented Sector Strategy to improve management standards, enforcement and opportunities for low-income households, and improving awareness of landlord, agent and tenant responsibilities
- Investigate funding opportunities to make the city safer by providing new lighting and CCTV where we can
- Building on our Bus Service Improvement Plan, work with bus companies to explore reduced fares/expanded services to encourage sustainable transport and reduce the financial impact on families where children do not live within walking distance of their schools
- Continue to work with groups to design services with them and for them - as we have with our community advisory group on the anti-racist strategy, and with disability panels for the accessibility strategy
- Support the work of organisations that encourage those from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee communities to enter politics and civic life
- Identify and act on the needs of our Traveller community
- Regulate short-term and holiday lets to the maximum (within the constraints of national legislation)
- Develop and support new spaces for children and young people, including new youth centres and playgrounds.
- Review the housing needs (including temporary accommodation) of specific communities including seniors, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities, and work with the community and voluntary sector to produce community-led LGBTQ+-specific housing information, support & signposting
- Prioritise schemes to address barriers faced by young people wanting to access education and services by continuing to develop our fairer Brighton & Hove framework across all council services
- Set up a task force, including Public Health, to review progress in investigating cases of damp and mould
- Work with homeless charities and community-led housing organisations to identify sites for community-led energy-efficient housing developments using natural construction materials
- Expand provision of in-house temporary and emergency accommodation.
- Develop both a Womens Charter for Brighton & Hove and A charter for the Nightime Economy
Action for healthy communities
- Led the city through the height of the Covid pandemic
- Adopted an Investment Plan to improve and develop sports facilities across the city
- Worked with NHS Sussex to produce a plan for Brighton and Hove to tackle health inequalities and our many and increasing complex health needs
- Ensured that Brighton & Hove is one of a very few councils to have secured a democratically elected voice on the local NHS board
- Continues to support our Healthy lifestyle team in encouraging people to be more active e.g. through Dance Active and Health walks
- Upgraded playgrounds across the city
- Successfully bid for a HIV pilot which will embed testing across health services, to end new cases of HIV, normalise testing and fight HIV-related stigma and won recognition for our leadership with a visit of the UN AIDS ambassador
- Is switching to a zero-carbon fleet of council vehicles, including refuse trucks, with the installation of EV charge points at the CityClean and Housing depots, and solar panels to supply them.
- Is improving the energy-efficiency of council homes
- Co-created the SEND strategy with communities, and has expanded the number of staff supporting with EHCP applications
- Has started the introduction of a new, improved BikeShare scheme which will encourage more people to remain active for longer
- Has worked with partners on an extensive programme of sustainable food schemes to create a healthy, sustainable and fair food system within the city, becoming the first UK city to win a Gold Sustainable Food Places Award
- Was short-listed in 2021 for a Eurocities award for our Affordable Food Projects.
Reducing harmful emissions, building decent, affordable homes and enabling people to stay active for longer all have health benefits. Indeed, so many Green policies addressing the biodiversity and climate emergency should be seen through the prism of health.
The experience of the pandemic and current underfunding of the NHS and social care mean we need to redouble our efforts to keep people healthy and active for longer. Early intervention to prevent health issues arising and keep people active and at home wherever possible will reduce the burden on our hospitals, social services and doctors.
A Green-led Council will:
- Work with the NHS to focus on preventative public health measures, to reduce hospital admissions, and ensure easier hospital discharges through better integration of health and adult social care provision
- Continue the rollout of improvements to make it easier for people to walk and cycle, such as pedestrian crossings and the improvement works on Western Road
- Continue to support people in need of adult social care to remain in their own homes where practicable and ensure good quality residential care provision, including by lobbying government to implement a better funding regime
- Promote safe cycling, walking, weight control, reduced smoking and improved personal health
- Work in partnership to ensure the voices of young people and marginalised communities are included in every step of the work to address the mental health emergency
- Introduce liveable neighbourhoods across the city, with more green spaces, wider footpaths, bike parking and placemaking features
- Work with grassroots organisations to: implement a sustainable food strategy for the city; retain the city’s Gold Sustainable Food Cities Award status; and promote healthy, local food and fight food poverty and waste.
- End the long-delays in redeveloping King Alfred by building a new sports centre in the west of the city
- Expand focus on play, by making it easier for communities to run 'play streets' and creating a new play strategy
- Develop more community health support for addiction
- Work with health professionals to encourage social prescribing
- Make the seafront one of the best free outdoor sports facilities in the country with completion of Kingsway to the Sea and the Eastern Seafront
- Work with Community Groups to fund and manage community events and sporting facilities
- Avoid using pesticides, putting residents' health and protecting biodiversity first
- Expand family hubs ensuring that families get the support they need
- Reduce flooding and increase greening by introducing more sustainable drainage systems and rain gardens to the city, to soak up rainwater
- Press Southern Water to reduce sewage outflows
- Implement and review the SEND strategy at the end of the existing term to ensure that young people and adults with SEND are supported.
Action for a thriving economy
- Increased the pay of 3,800 of the lowest paid council staff to help cope with the Cost of Living crisis, important as so many live in the city
- Achieved over 860 Living Wage employers in Brighton and Hove
- Created the Adult Education Hub, which has now helped more than 350 people in the city to improve their lives and job prospects. Most of the courses and workshops at the council-run hub are free to those who are unemployed or on an income less than £17,000
- Commenced the regeneration of the eastern and western seafronts, with the multi-million pound Kingsway to the Sea, Black Rock and Madeira Terrace restoration underway
- Helped over 1,000 local business-people in the last year with the Business & Intellectual Property Centre, ensuring that our businesses receive the support and advice that they need
- Upgraded infrastructure to promote green travel, improved biodiversity and developed a new ecology trail and beach boardwalk at Black Rock, along with renovating historic buildings. The enabling works will protect this part of the seafront and open up connection to the Marina
- Worked with local businesses, FE colleges and universities on the implementation of a circular economy”, meaning reusing, repurposing and recycling materials rather than relying on fossil fuels, to create jobs and prosperity, particularly in food and construction
- Held the city’s first Green & Circular Economy Jobs Fair
- Adopted a Community Wealth Building Action Plan to keep local money local
- Steered our City Plan Part 2 through government inspection and voted it through. This introduces better protections for community assets such as pubs, high streets, shopping parades and parks
- Completed the restoration of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre to expand the city’s exciting cultural offer
- Removed Queens Park conservation area from the “at risk” register and protected it for the city community.
As Greens we put sustainable development at the heart of everything we do. We are committed to delivering genuinely affordable homes and improved green spaces and leisure facilities. We have done this across the city - from the Black Rock rejuvenation of the eastern seafront, to Kingsway to the Sea in the west, and are delivering ambitious numbers of new homes from Coldean and Moulsecoomb, East Brighton to Portslade.
We also seek to protect and nurture the City’s cultural and heritage and to grow the local economy sustainably. We do all of this to create and sustain jobs, opportunities and apprenticeships for local people. As we develop these sites, we will continue to consider the impact on our residents as well as the environment.
As well as working to promote the circular economy, we will always champion our local businesses and have worked closely with the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership, Brighton Chamber of Commerce and the Business Innovation District. Our small and medium businesses remain at the centre of our economic recovery and future innovation.
Centre for Cities report that Brighton & Hove has one of the highest number of businesses per capita, low economic inactivity and a high number of residents with top qualifications, which means small local businesses continue to enhance our productivity and prosperity.
- Work with Hydrogen Sussex to invest in hydrogen across the region
- Promote the adoption of the Brighton & Hove Living Wage and work with local businesses on a Good Employment Charter
- Continue to improve the Council's customer service, through improving points of contact and monitoring performance
- Focus on social value in the Council’s procurement e.g. by breaking major contracts down into smaller contracts and inviting bids from smaller local providers
- Support key destinations such as the Brighton Pavilion, the Hippodrome and Saltdean Lido to make their regeneration plans a success
- Support the expansion of tourism and recovery of international visitors through the implementation of the Tourism Recovery Plan and the hosting of more international events, such as the World Beach Games
- Implement the Community Wealth Building Action Plan adopted in January 2023; community wealth-building redirects wealth back into the local economy, and places control and benefits into the hands of local people
- Adopt an Asset Management policy aimed at protecting and enhancing the value of the Council’s (our city’s) assets
- Continue our work on expanding digital systems at the Council, making use of the city’s thriving digital sector
- Work with local education providers and employers to identify and promote further opportunities to create green jobs and skills, such as in making the city’s homes more energy efficient, reducing residents’ bills in the process.
- Promote the circular economy with the help of circular economy business partners
- Restore the city’s rich heritage as we have done, from Victoria Fountain to Madeira Terrace
- Consult local businesses/tourism providers on the potential introduction of a tourist levy
- Strive for a social work service rated Outstanding that puts the voices of children and young people at the fore
- Implement a new events strategy that focuses on diversifying the use of spaces
- Promote the Brighton Centre and the city as a sustainable conference venue.
When you vote Green you vote for action and fairness: action on the climate crisis, and action for a fairer, healthier Brighton and Hove.