Our vision for South East Essex is of a more equal, compassionate area that protects the vulnerable, provides decent homes, education, and health services for all; and recognises the right of future generations to be protected from the ravages of climate change and environmental degradation.
It was clear to us that our Manifesto should not just be a reiteration of our National Party's manifesto, (like some other local parties do) but rather a tailored plan of how we would deliver Green Policies in our area.
We have a clear opportunity to make South East Essex an area fit for the future, and we genuinely believe that our Manifesto is the most rational, most effective, and most responsible roadmap to becoming the pioneering community we all know it can be.
Better Housing & Ending Homelessness
Southend has the eighth highest number of homeless people in the UK, and one of the worst Social Housing crises in the country.
We will lead a dynamic change of council effort, away from the provision of high-profit luxury homes and apartments, to the provision of affordable homes and new social-to-rent homes. We will:
- Support the renovation and/or construction of new high quality, well insulated, spacious flats in central Southend close to public transport hubs or along public transport corridors;
- Introduce a speedy and effective strategy to bring back into use empty private sector homes using the Council’s own unused EDMO powers;
- Adopt a “Permission to Occupy” scheme to permit homeless people to occupy unoccupied or derelict buildings until they are needed or can be renovated/replaced;
- Support the development of local housing co-operatives and co-housing projects;
- Give social housing tenants greater control over the management of their homes and neighbourhoods;
- Improve the quality of housing stock to help reduce household bills with energy efficiency upgrades and water-saving devices;
- Support the SEAL scheme, introduce a compulsory Landlord licensing scheme, and aggressively pursue bad landlords, using the full force of council powers;
- Oppose multi-occupancy, sub-dividing houses into flats; except where an unusually large property is to be subdivided and where the flats will make comfortable dwellings;
- Oppose “right to buy” legislation being extended to housing associations;
- Develop an immigration policy to welcome, settle and integrate refugees;
- Protect Green Belt land and Green Spaces from development (e.g. Fossetts Farm proposals), focussing development on brownfield sites; and
- Stop the development of the Southend Cliffs.
As a modern and forward-thinking area, we have the responsibility to look after the most vulnerable in our towns and to build affordable housing for local people, not affluent property investors.
Our manifesto sets out many more ways in which we would lead the way in making sure all Southend residents have a safe, warm, and efficient place to call home.
A Localised Energy System
We support the ‘Southend Energy Company’ and will promote renewable technologies as part of that scheme. We will seek the construction of a new wind farm to the north of the town and in other parts of Essex and we will oppose the construction of wind farms where they pose an unacceptable risk to wildlife. We will:
- Vigorously promote and install Solar PV technologies, using the roofs of all public buildings and schools.
- Install Solar PV, small wind turbines, and energy storage devices, along Southend Pier, generating surplus power for local seafront businesses.
- Encourage business and private residents to install Solar PV, solar-thermal panels, ground and air source heat pumps, biomass boilers, and other renewable technologies that will ensure all new residential and commercial buildings are carbon neutral;
- Investigate the viability of, and implement, wind-based electricity generation technologies along our busiest roads.
- Deliver higher energy conservation standards in new and existing buildings - domestic, commercial, and industrial;
- Vigorously promote energy efficiency in both private and public premises, including the continuation of the rollout of LED technology for street lights;
- Seek the creation of a ‘Green New Deal’ scheme to make homes more energy and thermally efficient and implement a noise insulation programme for those living on the Southend Airport flight-path;
- Oppose the Bradwell Nuclear Power Plant and any proposal for a nuclear waste dump in Essex; and;
- Oppose the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) site in the Thames Estuary.
It might not be a priority in the opinions of other parties, but we think South East Essex has the capacity to be a pioneer in Renewable energy implementation.
The clear advantages, both financially and socially, now make these schemes not only commercially viable options but in fact also a civic responsibility.
Our Manifesto sets out clear goals for how we would take steps in making South East Essex self-sufficient in terms of energy consumption.
Sustainable Infrastructure & Better Transport
South East Essex has historically encouraged the use of the car over other viable transit alternatives, resulting in wasting Millions of public money on road widening schemes that haven't fixed our chronic traffic problems.
- No large town in the world has ever solved its congestion problems by building more roads -
The scale of failure has resulted in residents being regularly exposed to dangerous levels of toxic pollutants and suffering from crippling traffic jams.
- Develop an Integrated Transport Plan, increasing the provision, reliability and affordability of Public Transport services;
- Initiate a range of intermediate measures to improve the Abellio Greater Anglia railway line. (The National Green Party policy is to eventually renationalise the Railways);
- Explore the potential for, and implement, a Park and Ride facility;
- Oppose expansion of the A127 to 3 lanes and oppose any form of “Rochford Outer Bypass” scheme;
- Offer free electric vehicle charging points in all car parks and encourage the transition from gas-powered to battery-powered Electric vehicles;
- Reduce car parking provision at Rail Stations, promoting the alternatives to car travel;
- Undertake a public education programme to promote the benefits of physically active travel (such as walking & cycling);
- Expand the network of Safe Cycle Lanes; including new routes to Castle Point, Rayleigh and Rochford;
- Improve signage and the surface quality of the National Cycle Network routes throughout South East Essex.
- Improve road junctions and cycle routes to ensure greater safety for cyclists and pedestrians, and maintain existing cycle routes to a high standard;
- Oppose expansion of out-of-town shops and other leisure facilities, promoting efficient land use policies that reduce dependence upon the private car;
- Ensure 20 mph zones become the norm in all residential areas; and
- Oppose any further expansion of Southend Airport, pursuing all options to ban night flights, ban weekend flights before 10 am and seek an airport contribution to acoustic insulation grants for residents adversely impacted by noise.
Driving across South East Essex is always a gamble. Hour-long traffic jams on the A127 and A13 are infuriating for motorists, and it raises Air Pollution to illegally high levels in residential areas.
Trying to get into Southend and find a parking space on a warm and Sunny May Bank Holiday Monday is a nightmare that we wouldn't wish on anyone.
Our Manifesto offers many practical solutions to ending our traffic nightmares and finding a financially and environmentally responsible solution that works in everyone's interests.
Healthier Food & Protecting Wildlife
We will take every appropriate opportunity to promote Vegetarian & Vegan lifestyle alternatives, the conservation of Wildlife, and the ethical treatment of animals. We will:
- Protect and enhance our internationally important natural areas, preserve biodiversity and natural ecosystems;
- Develop a local food production plan, encouraging a local trade of groceries, similar to the CPRE model;
- Ban Council use of harmful weed-killing chemicals, seeking a future agreement for a Borough-wide ban;
- Establish a network of community gardens and Green Spaces for the residents of Social Housing.
- Encourage the incorporation of new Trees, wildflower beds, and Green Spaces into town infrastructure design.
- Support Environmental Groups in the improvement and maintenance of natural spaces and parkland.
- Develop a high-standard Bee Strategy to protect pollinators, supporting the EU ban of neonicotinoid pesticides;
- Reduce cutting of wildflowers and meadows to protect wildlife;
- Address the threats to the Thames Fishing industry; and
- Oppose the expansion of the Sea Life Centre, and work to reduce the number of animals kept in captivity.
South East Essex is awash with beautiful natural biodiversity that is facing constant attack from overdevelopment, pollution, and irresponsible land and marine use.
Our Manifesto sets out several protections for our natural environment and clarifies our commitment to protecting green spaces and wildlife.
The Grammar schools across South East Essex contribute towards a systematically failing education system.
We oppose selective education and will work to provide clean, safe, and modern learning environments for all students. We will:
- Support moves towards less reliance on fixed curriculum teaching and testing - allow Headteachers more flexibility;
- Speed improvements to school buildings to higher standards of comfort, space and energy conservation;
- Speed up phase-out of all remaining demountable classrooms;
- Introduce 20 mph zones and Safer Journeys schemes for all schools;
- Develop an integrated and fair school transport system to reduce congestion caused by the "school run" and give parents and pupils information to encourage sustainable travel to school;
- Implement the creation of Environmentally-Conscious education schemes in all schools.
- Improve school dinners with more organic food and fresh fruit & veg; and
- Promote the Sure Start programme.
Education is the most important thing in young people's lives. Having an environment that facilitates learning, and ensuring a curriculum and testing system that suits the individual needs of a child is paramount.
Our Manifesto ensures that all students receive the education they deserve, and we will ensure that no child is ever left behind or disadvantaged because of a selective education system.
A Local Economy
Our area has an exceptionally poor record of promoting economic and employment growth by environmentally destructive practices.
We will deliver a more successful area by promoting the economic and social benefits of a local, sustainable, and responsible economy. We will:
- Promote the eco-tourism opportunities long neglected by Local Government and business;
- Create a full-time Fresh Goods Market in Southend High Street, allowing local growers to sell their products.
- Implement several rainwater collection points for Street Cleaning and for usage at Allotments.
- Support independent traders, seeking ways to reduce the business rates burden upon small traders; and
- Develop a local Circular Economy, encouraging residents to purchase from local traders.
Supporting local businesses, and implementing the principles of a circular economy is a model that not only works but is easily implemented.
Our Manifesto supports local traders and seeks to form new business opportunities afforded by renewable energy technologies and responsible food production.
Improved Leisure & Health
At a time when consistent NHS cuts are threatening the services in our Communities and at our Hospitals, working to save our NHS has never been a more pressing issue.
The NHS is crippled with a chronic obesity crisis, and local mental health services are more and more strained each day. We will:
- Ensure the complete retention of NHS services at Southend Hospital and the surrounding area.
- Encourage healthy lifestyles with improved Green Spaces, and better sport and leisure amenities;
- Ensure play facilities in public parks are free;
- Develop Safe Play strategies for children, with safer roads and parks;
- Monitor and seek to improve the water quality of the Thames Estuary;
- Ensure footpaths and public rights of way are properly maintained; and;
- Create a dedicated Outdoor Learning Centre to educate schoolchildren on the environment.
We recognise the responsibility Local Government has in ensuring a well and fit community, and we will work to ensure that the residents of South East Essex have access to good and free health and leisure provisions.
Our Manifesto puts individuals health and wellbeing first, and we have a strategy to ensure that South East Essex is healthy.
A Responsible Waste Strategy
South East Essex should be a model for a different way of working in which the maximum possible quantity of redundant materials is re-used or recycled. We will:
- Introduce a local composting scheme, encouraging the practical distribution and reuse of food and Garden waste;
- Establish a Council-backed community repair and upcycling initiative in schools and public centres.
- Implement a ban on environmentally damaging single-use plastics in Southend High Street.
- Promote Greywater recycling, sustainable drainage, and a full range of recycling storage facilities;
- Aggressively pursue, detect, and prosecute fly-tipping;
- Lead initiatives to tackle dog-fouling; including a publicity campaign to educate dog owners on the damaging environmental effects of plastic bags in landfill, etc.
- Encourage local shops to only stock biodegradable or recyclable bags.
- Initiate a new Natural Nappies programme;
- Explore the options for a publicity campaign to encourage the use of natural sanitary products, and provide sanitary products free-of-charge to the homeless;
- Move to a separated waste strategy to improve the value of recyclables, and oppose incineration of waste.
Developing an efficient system for the reuse, upcycling, and recycling of materials is the next step on the journey to a Zero Waste society.
Our Manifesto recognises the need to change the way in which we treat used materials, and reevaluate and reconsider our wasteful ways.
A New Kind of Representative...
Our elected Officials and Candidates are open and progressive, financially responsible, and answerable to local residents.
Genuine consultation will always take place before decision making, with an end to the secrecy that has dogged Local Government for decades.
Elected officials will work to secure a fair and socially-responsible taxation regime that provides sufficient funding to maintain essential public services, including social care for the elderly and the disabled, and an excellent education system.