A couple of weeks ago, I joined Sian Berry, Caroline Russell and my fellow Green Party constituency candidates from all over London to formally introduce the world to the London Green Party 2021 Manifesto. A manifesto, in a nutshell, is a document explaining what a party is going to do when it is elected. In London, it would cover typical city issues like housing, transport, public health, safety, jobs, schools, parks, and green spaces. But a manifesto also talks about a party’s views on issues such as racism, women’s rights, LGBTIQA+ rights, climate change and biodiversity loss. It can also address how the city is currently run and how the party would change it. So there is a lot to cover in a manifesto.
The London Green Party 2021 Manifesto is full of ideas and solutions that we urgently need to make London greener and fairer.
So what are some of my highlights?
Climate and ecology at the heart of everything
My favourite thing about the manifesto is that climate change and protecting our natural environment are fully incorporated in all policies. They are at the heart of all our proposals. After decades of destruction and abuse, our natural world (which we are part of!) deserves to be centre stage in all decision making. For example, we will cancel all traffic inducing road schemes, including the Silvertown Road Tunnel, diverting the funding to clean transport and better streets (page 7 and page 32 of the 2021 Manifesto). We oppose all airport expansion in London. And for me, most crucially: We will ensure that every budget and decision in City Hall formally looks at the impact on climate and ecology. We will ensure that these assessments are upheld and decision-makers are held accountable (page 108). This, to me, is crucial. No more half-baked environmental impact assessments, no more greenwashing of developments. It has to be green; otherwise, it won’t happen. We would also guarantee protection for the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land (like a Green Belt equivalent for inside London) – so no more threats of building on our vital green and wild spaces – see ‘Gold plate the Green Belt’, page 18.
Have a say about development
Are you also fed up with the wrong kind of developments going up all over London? Too expensive, too high, not carbon neutral, the list is endless. Meanwhile, council houses are so neglected that private developers are coming in to pull them down, putting up new constructions often at the cost of precious mature trees and existing residents’ quality of life. Sian Berry wants to set up a People’s Land Commission (page 59) so that people in local areas can make their own plans for new homes and buildings.
Cycling and walking and of course good public transport are crucial to getting people out of their cars. Too many people are forced to drive and their journeys are congested and stressful. The manifesto is full of clever ideas to help people get around without resorting to cars, reducing stress, carbon emissions, air pollution, and obesity. We want pavements to be level and wide enough for social distancing, more pedestrian crossings, and ensure accessibility for people with wheeled mobility aids such as rollators and buggies, bus stop bypasses, and safe bike lanes (page 32).
There are hundreds more great ideas to share with you – I really encourage you to download the manifesto, grab a cup of tea and have a look. It’s a lot, so you won’t get through it straight away, but why not look up some of the issues you are most concerned about and see what the London Greens have to say about it? I hope you will be as excited about our plans as I am.