Greens hold back from promising to scrap £1bn incinerator

Some of the Green Party's local election candidates on the steps of the Town Hall yesterday. Will this be as close as they get?

Some of the Green Party’s local election candidates on the steps of the Town Hall yesterday. Will this be as close as they get?

The Green Party launched its local election manifesto for Croydon yesterday, confirming that it will field a full slate of 70 candidates across the whole of the borough.

The Greens seem poised to benefit on voting day next month from the collapse in the opinion polls – and public trust generally – of the LibDems.

But the Greens still seek their first ever Croydon councillor, and their announcement of the maximum number of candidates confirms that some informal approaches over an anti-incinerator electoral pact with Labour in certain key wards, which might have delivered at least one Green councillor and which would have exiled the Tories from Town Hall control, have come to nothing.

Despite repeated requests for a full listing of candidates by ward, the Greens have yet to publish a list – the information ought to be readily available by now. Party officials have spoken of how they have been surprised by the “clamour” for such information this year, compared to 2010.

The Greens are known to be focusing their efforts on Croham ward, where Shasha Khan, the co-leader of Croydon and Sutton Greens and a regular candidate in elections further north in the borough, is expected to stand.

The Croydon Greens’ manifesto appears somewhat slim at just 15 pages, though that is 15 pages more than the local Tories have managed borough-wide so far. With resources tight, the Greens are relying on a capital-wide document, based on the work of the party’s widely respected London Assembly members. In Croydon, the Greens are offering 10 key pledges, including the promise of a referendum on the borough’s backing of the Beddington Lane incinerator.

The offer of another borough-wide vote on a single issue seems odd: Green Party policy has been consistently to oppose the development of the waste-burning incinerator across the borough border in Sutton, yet the local election manifesto is equivocal about  Croydon’s withdrawal from the South London Waste Partnership – “Greens will continue to resist the construction of polluting incinerators…”. “Resist” is a lot milder than “scrap”. Has Realpolitik been discovered in the allotment shed?

Nor is it clear whether the outcome of any referendum would be binding on the incinerator operators, Viridor, who have a 25-year, £1 billion contract with the four-borough SLWP, which includes LibDem-controlled Sutton and Labour-run Merton.

Among their other election pledges is the promise, in common with Labour, to oppose any fracking explorations in the borough, they promise borough-wide 20mph zones on residential streets – a policy now being introduced in the City of London (where average traffic speed rarely gets above 12mph) – and the intriguing prospect of countering knife crime with… martial arts. Is there a closet David Carradine fan among Croydon’s Green brigade?

The Greens’ pledges in full are:

Referendum on the incinerator
We oppose the toxic incinerator and will hold a referendum to let residents decide
whether to go ahead with the incinerator. Our alternative is to increase recycling
by offering incentives to residents, and making it easier and cheaper for businesses,
charities, schools and places of worship to recycle.

Save green spaces – No to fracking
Croydon’s parks and woods are for relaxation. Only the Green Party will oppose
all exploration for gas and oil in our green spaces and under our homes. Hydraulic
fracturing will contaminate ground water, increase the risk of earth tremors and industrialise our green spaces.

Dealing with knife crime
Croydon Council, police, residents, and community groups such as charities and places of worship need to work together to combat knife crime. Young people need alternatives to gang culture: youth clubs, martial arts, music, sport offer positive activities for self-development and enhancing job prospects

Building homes
Croydon needs more affordable social housing whilst protecting green spaces. Developments should prioritise local residents, not speculative investment, and include a suitable mix of reasonably priced accommodation. Tenants in privately rented housing should be protected from excessive rent levels.

Safer streets
We will consult with local residents on a 20mph limit for all residential roads in
Croydon. This lower speed limit reduces the casualties from road accidents by 40 per cent. We will also retain lollipop persons at strategic crossings in order to encourage walking to school.

Bike lanes
Croydon has a poor record of investment in cycling, and a low-level of cycling. The Croydon Green Party would encourage cycling by creating a network of safe cycle lanes, cycle-friendly streets and routes through parks to help to reduce pollution, improve health and provide a faster way to travel.

Fly-tipping
This must be tackled robustly by better co-ordination of council staff and police, publicising a free phone hotline to report fly-tipping, swift removal of rubbish, scrapping the collection charge for heavy items including mattresses, and the prosecution of offenders.

Fair pay Croydon
We support the London Living Wage campaign and call on local employers including Croydon Council and their contractors to implement the London Living Wage for all
employees. In addition, Croydon Council should establish a 10:1 maximum pay ratio for council employees.

Preventing flooding
Better planning is needed to avoid flooding and deal with it if necessary. The council must ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention in new buildings, and include Climate Change adaptations in existing buildings. Local planning rules need strengthening to raise energy efficiency.

Public services
We support high-quality public services run for people not profit. We will maintain the Council Tax in line with inflation to protect services such as libraries and social care,
and encourage arts events. We will also involve residents in decision-making e.g. through public meetings and social media.

Tracey Hague, one of the Greens’ candidates in Croydon (the press release failed to state in which ward Hague will stand), said: “The decision-making by Croydon Council, whether Labour- or Conservative-controlled, suffers from short-termism. Policies are made often at the expense of the long-term success and stability of Croydon. Greens by our nature focus our attention what is best for today and tomorrow.

“Without principled councillors, we have observed first-hand how an incinerator has been allowed through flawed consultations on Croydon’s doorstep. Bearing in mind Northdown Energy Ltd has an exploratory fracking licence in Croydon, the only licence within the M25, we are deeply concerned that fracking will next come to our town.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in 2014 council elections, Croham, Croydon Greens, Environment, Fly tipping, Fracking, Gordon Ross, Knife crime, Refuse collection, Shasha Khan, Waste incinerator and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Greens hold back from promising to scrap £1bn incinerator

  1. Shasha Khan says:

    Fellow incinerator campaigners in west Norfolk organised a referendum on the Willows incinerator. Having spoken to campaigners in Kings Lynn Without Incineration Network, they were clear that the referendum was integral in resulting in Norfolk County Council cancelling their £500m contract for their incinerator.

  2. davidcallam says:

    There’s some interesting stuff here. And its not dependant on a Labour central government looking more favourably on Croydon than on other London boroughs, which I see as election pie-in-the-sky.

  3. Tracey Hague says:

    It’s no secret (& I’d have gladly told Inside Croydon if you had bothered to ask) that I am standing in Croham ward alongside Shasha Khan & Gordon Ross. Finally we can only publish a full list of candidates when all their nomination paperwork has been accepted by the Local Returning Officer firstly (the deadline for applications is not yet passed!), and secondly that individual candidates have consented to their names being made public. However we have a full slate of candidates (something only us Greens, Labour & Tories can do), thus enabling voters to vote Green across the board.

    • Shall we deal with some facts and realities, Tracey?

      First, a fact. The Croydon and Sutton Green Party (co-)leader was asked for your candidate list on several occasions, and on several occasion iC was assured that we would be provided with a list of candidates as soon as they became available, usually dressed in with various (understandable) excuses about why the names were not yet available.

      Second: a reality. Are you seriously suggesting that a grown-up adult person might come forward and seek selection from the Green Party to stand in public elections, and yet be unwilling to let the people they want to vote for them know what their name is? Oh do come on…

      Every candidate’s name, in every ward across the borough, once selected by whatever party mechanism it is that you have, could have been announced as soon as that decision was taken. You have demonstrated that in your comment in which you announce the Green candidates for Croham ward.

      To hide behind the nomination deadline as some sort of excuse for not releasing the names of your candidates suggests that while you want to people of Croydon to vote for the Green Party on May 22, you’re not prepared to allow the public to scrutinise your individual candidates.

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