2021 Campaign: Merton Greens for a fairer, safer and greener Merton

Merton Green Party has big, bold ideas to create a confident and caring borough that we can all be proud of. Find out what Green Councillors in Merton promise to do for you and the people and places that you love once elected.

 

Merton Green Party is the green voice for Wimbledon, Morden and Mitcham. We are an active and growing local party, and have been out and about in Merton finding out what matters to you most.

Merton Green Party has big, bold ideas to create a confident and caring borough that we can all be proud of. We aren’t afraid to hope for a better future or to be honest about how we get there. We believe in being brave, in speaking our minds, and in standing up for what matters. We are proud to do politics differently.

Health

 

This year we have been focused on health as never before. What we have seen is a country where years of cuts have left a threadbare service, over-stretched and under-paid staff, and disgraceful inequality in terms of the ability to live long and healthy lives. A Green Future for Health would build on the founding principles of the NHS- a universal, free health service to give individuals the support they need to improve their health in the aftermath of the pandemic. The government’s failed test and trace system, coupled with a worsening mental health crisis, means funding must be given urgently to community-led services that are best placed to meet these needs. An end to privatisation is also crucial to stop any profit motive within healthcare.

 

Pandemic recovery and increased funding

  • Last year the Green Party called for a contact-tracing system based on our local public-health teams. Instead, the government gave billions to their cronies for a system that has never worked - with thousands of lives lost as a result. It’s not too late to put this right and get a local test-and-trace system properly funded before restrictions are lifted.

  • And we need to ensure that people are financially supported to self-isolate when they are infected. The Greens are also supporting calls for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic, which has resulted in thousands of avoidable deaths and left families grieving for lost ones.
  • The Green Party would increase funding for the NHS by at least £6bn each year by cancelling schemes such as the government’s road building project (£5bn per year), and would support the trade union campaign for a 15% pay increase for health care workers.

 

Mental health services

  • The coronavirus has exposed the inadequacy of mental health services in the UK. We would focus our funding to enable major improvements to ensure mental health has equal importance alongside physical health.
  • Mental health therapy services would be able to be accessed by anyone who needs them within 28 days of a request, with more specific provisions made for more particular difficulties experienced by LGBTQIA+ members, those from BAME communities, children, adolescents and older people.
  • The Greens would provide stronger powers to Health and Wellbeing boards to represent the wishes of the public within the NHS as a first step towards the full reinstatement of a public health service with no role for private companies.

Decentralisation and an end to privatisation

  • We would replace private sector involvement in the NHS with community-led services. The implementation of a ‘bottom up’ approach within the local authority setup would see services planned and provided without contracts through Health Boards.
  • An end to the internal market must also be enacted and a focus on Caroline Lucas’ NHS Reinstatement Bill deployed to help tackle the issues within the healthcare system.

 

Green Warm Homes for All

Green investment into housing simultaneously aims to reduce climate emissions, tackle poverty and provide genuinely affordable housing. Three main Green Party areas of focus within housing are:

Improving insulation is vital for a warm home.

  • Home renovations would meet the highest energy-efficient standards and social needs and would ensure people have sufficient heating for the winter without the need to sacrifice other vital living expenses like proper meals.
  • The households would be built to the Passivhaus or equivalent standard which would use 90% less energy for heating than the average home – good for the environment and saving people money.
  • The Greens would ensure that the homes lived in by people on lower incomes would be the first to receive these major improvements; all the homes would have reduced natural gas use and renewable heat sources.
  • The reinstatement of building control inspectors to local councils would ensure work on renovations or new builds was carried out under the required standards.

New homes

  • The creation of new homes would provide quality jobs for local communities in every area of the UK as part of a Green Future for Jobs.
  • We would empower local communities to bring empty homes back into use and, alongside thousands of new council homes, would all fit within the highest energy-efficient standards as the nation shifts towards a net-zero carbon economy.
  • Funding to local authorities for new homes would be allocated based on the needs of the area and any development would protect local architectural heritage and encourage small building projects as opposed to large new estates.

Green access

  • The Greens would implement accessible transport routes to and from all new developments which would mean residents would not have to rely on cars to live their daily lives fully.
  • Either safe pedestrian routes to local shops and schools would be present, or are within 1km of a local rail, tram or underground station, or within 500m of a high frequency bus service.

Clean Air

In order to limit air pollution to healthy levels there needs to be a radical overhaul in the transport sector. The Greens would revolutionise transport by ending the dependence on carbon, using clean energy alternatives and investing in public transport to get people out of cars and onto trains and buses. Three important Green Party areas of focus within clean air are: 

Investing in public transport

  • Making public transport cheaper would encourage people to get out of their cars and into electric trains and buses. Electric coaches use would also be encouraged through the introduction of new routes.
  • We would create a golden age of train travel by improving journey times and frequencies, enhancing capacity in the South West, Midlands and the North and reaching unconnected rural areas.
  • The Greens would invest in high-quality walking and cycling routes in new housing developments so residents can access local services and shops without the need for a car. 

Clean energy alternatives 

  • The Greens would incentivise the replacement of diesel and petrol vehicles with electric ones - our priority is reducing overall mileage and the number of vehicles on our roads; those that are on the roads would produce the very minimum amount of carbon emissions.
  • Behind a significant reduction in road traffic would be the incentivisation for people to work from home, more business teleconferencing and more car club schemes. 

Power to local authorities

  • Local authorities would control bus services and be supported to restore lost bus routes and open new ones. They would also be encouraged to explore the implementation of tramways to facilitate a sustainable transport system.
  • The responsibility of running short-distance passenger rail franchises would be given to councils, meaning local communities have a greater say in the running of the services they depend on.
  • Introducing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods would further decrease carbon emissions.

Nature

Being largely confined to our homes during the pandemic has underlined how precious nature is and how important it is for our wellbeing. It has offered a mental space for reflection and connectivity, and a physical space for exercise and seeing friends (even if at a distance).

The government is failing to put in place protection of our natural world, something the Green Party would make a priority. Three important Green Party areas of focus within nature are: 

Protection and restoration

  • The Greens would strengthen protections given to the Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Specific Interest. We would ban mineral extraction in all National Parks to preserve the havens they provide for wildlife.
  • We would invest in peatland restoration to increase carbon capture and act as a natural defence against flooding in local communities. 
  • We would invest in ecotourism and rewilding schemes bringing about habitat recovery and benefiting local communities through tourism and job creation.

Reconnecting society with nature

  • We would create pockets of green space throughout urban areas to promote biodiversity and help people access the physical and mental health benefits of nature.
  • We would implement affordable, clean transport to reach National Parks through new cycling, walking and bus routes to encourage the enjoyment of the natural world on a wider scale.
  • We would create a new ‘ecocide’ law to prevent crimes against the natural environment.

Agricultural transition

  • An agricultural transition is needed to protect and regenerate nature. Intensive farming is harmful to the natural world through, for example, the use of toxic pesticides which affect the cognitive abilities of pollinators like bees. The removal of hedgerows and grass verges in an effort to maximise profit also leads to the destruction of habitat for wildlife.
  • The Greens would work with farmers to transition them to more sustainable, diverse and environmentally friendly forms of land use, including organic farming and agroforestry in a move away from intensive farming.
  • To facilitate this, grants would be given to farmers to encourage a new approach to farming, which would see millions of trees being planted and a radically scaled back use of toxic pesticides to restore a natural balance to the countryside.

Manifesto

The following document contains what Green Councillors in Merton promise to do for you and the people and places that you love once elected. If you agree with these ideas, please vote for all the Green candidates in your area.

Read the full manifesto here.

 

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