Greens seek “green revolution” for capital

Edinburgh’s Green councillors have launched their most ambitious-ever manifesto for the capital, promising a green revolution which puts power in the hands of people and communities.

In a wide-ranging manifesto, packed with new ideas, the Greens pledge to put Edinburgh in the front rank of European cities, spearheading a greener and fairer future.

Among the proposals are:

  • Radical plans to change transport, planning and energy use, reducing costs, improving public places and tackling pollution.
  • A bold programme for affordable housing, driving down rents, re-using empty homes and bringing derelict land into use.
  • Getting to grips with the care crisis by better rewarding care staff for their crucial work and seeking a far greater role for not-for-profit groups in providing care.

A particular priority for the Greens is opening up the council and transferring more power directly into people’s hands. So they plan to take “participatory budgeting” to a new level, where citizens get to decide directly how money is spent. Under Green plans, the amount will go up from less than £1 million currently to £20 million and placing Edinburgh alongside pioneering cities like New York and Paris.

Green group convenor Cllr Steve Burgess said:

“Ten years after Green councillors were first elected in Edinburgh, this is our most ambitious manifesto yet. Edinburgh urgently needs councillors who can combine a commitment to action on day to day issues like waste collections, and footway repairs, with a real vision of where our capital city is going.  That’s what more Green councillors offer.”

Green councillor Melanie Main added:

“These elections pose critical questions for residents in the city. Which candidates show real understanding of our great city and how to use council powers to make it even better? Which party has detailed policies and candidates with a track record of getting things done? Which party is really focused on what these elections are about?

“Edinburgh’s only future is a green future. Our manifesto shows that electing more Green councillors will light the way to that green future.”

Other Green pledges include:

  • Transforming city centre streets like the Royal Mile and George Street to make them priority places for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Tackling the most acute forms of poverty by ending the use of rip-off B&B homeless hostels;  a city-wide advice service and emergency funds for people in urgent need; and new community programmes to welcome refugees.
  • Setting higher standards for new building to be “zero carbon”, coupled with action on renewables, community energy schemes and district heating.
  • Working with other employers to pay Living Wage to staff so that Edinburgh becomes a Living Wage city.
  • Committing to at least 10% of the transport spend being on cycling, with a renewed focus on delivery of joined up and dedicated cycle routes.
  • An increase in affordable housing as part of new developments and making Edinburgh Scotland’s first “Rent Pressure Zone”.
  • An ethical finance capital: pushing for Lothian pension fund to invest in projects like affordable housing and away from weapons and fossil fuels.
  • Supporting more community ownership of land and buildings, through surplus public buildings, and vacant shops and offices.
  • Pressing for a Green City Region Deal which puts Edinburgh in the front line for future jobs.