A RADE pledge on Dirty Energy

I am announcing today that I support the RADE pledge on dirty energy.  The pledge states there is no reason, other than poverty, to burn wood or other solid fuels within the Bristol boundary.  
We know that up to 38% of PM2.5 particulate pollution in the city comes from wood/coal burning stoves.  The average stove (even an eco-certified one) generates more pollution than 6 HGVs every hour it is used.  
If we are to tackle pollution in Bristol this must be a key part of our strategy and I will not burn solid fuels myself and discourage others to do so.
For many, wood burning stoves whether at home or in restaurants are a luxury and a lifestyle choice that is damaging our environment.  It is only acceptable to burn wood or coal if you absolutely have to.  
Please join me in taking the pledge. https://radebristol.com

Campaigns Manager Wanted

The Bristol Green Party is looking for a Campaigns Manager to help elect Sandy Hore-Ruthven as the UK’s first Green Mayor. You will be an experienced campaigns manager and have a commitment to Green values. The role will build the groundwork for an effective campaign for the elections in May 2020. For more information please (Click Here). Deadlines for applications is the 21st of March.


Plans for £6m+ a year investment into buses at no cost to the Bristol taxpayer

Green councillors in Bristol and the Green Party Mayoral Candidate for 2020 have put forward an amendment to Bristol City Council’s budget to be discussed at the Council Budget meeting on Tuesday 26th. The amendment proposes a £6.5m annual investment in buses, making them more affordable, improving reliability, speed and numbers of routes, to be funded through a congestion charge on cars from outside the city.

Green Mayoral candidate for 2020 Sandy Hore-Ruthven welcomed the amendment saying:

“As I speak to people across Bristol it is clear that travel in the city is the biggest issue they face. More reliable, cheaper and quicker buses are key to solving the twin problems of congestion and toxic air pollution. This amendment will provide that investment without costing Bristol taxpayers a penny and improvements could take effect very soon.”

He continued: “Buses allow equality for all road users, regardless of their background, and improve travel for everyone in the City. Bristol suffers from some of the worst congestion in the country and we must be at the forefront of finding solutions that are effective now, not in 30 years’ time. Bristolians pay for services in our city through council tax and business rates. A congestion charge, equivalent to a bus fare, for drivers coming into the city from outside our boundaries, would be a contribution to helping make our roads clearer and our air cleaner.”

The Bristol draft Transport strategy put forward by the Mayor’s office identified traffic congestion as the number one transport challenge in Bristol. At peak times buses travel through the city centre at an average speed of 6mph. The budget amendment proposes a congestion charge in the city centre of Bristol for drivers coming from outside the city boundary. The Atkins 2013 Road Pricing Study, commissioned by Bristol City Council, indicated that £11m of capital investment would secure £13-14m of annual net income to the City if every driver paid. Currently, 60% of daily car commuters come from outside the city boundary. The financial modelling has been updated accordingly and the £6m of potential revenue touted by the Green amendment is considered a conservative estimate.

Cllr Jerome Thomas, who is proposing the amendment, said:

“This proposal will significantly reduce congestion in Bristol, making it easier for everyone to move around the city whether by bus or other forms of transport. The proposal will also provide significant additional funding for better, more reliable, more affordable buses.”

Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party who is today visiting Bristol [1] said:

“It is great to see the leadership that Bristol Greens are taking, whether on air quality, carbon neutrality and now, on improved public transport. We hope that all Bristol’s councillors will support this bold proposal next week.”

The proposed amendment is set out below and forms part of a number of amendments the Green councillors will be putting forward in the budget meeting on Tuesday 26th February.

The Bristol draft transport strategy can be found here. https://bristol.citizenspace.com/growth-regeneration/bristol-transport-strategy/



Text of the full amendment is set out below:

Proposed transport budget amendment 19_20 v6 Bristol City Council budget process

Jerome Thomas – Green Group of councillors

Better buses for Bristol (funded by congestion charging)

Quick, clean and cheap buses must form the backbone of the solution to Bristol’s traffic and pollution problems.  The public indicate again and again that a good bus network would transform how people travel in the city with all the attendant benefits to health, the economy and our environment.  It is the transport system that encourages equality for all from the poorest to the wealthiest in Bristol.  This budget amendment will invest £6m a year at no cost to the taxpayer in our buses.  This is a bold and vital step towards solving our transport problems and creating a city for the future.

The Bristol Draft Transport Strategy identifies traffic congestion as the number one transport challenge facing the city. At peak times buses travel through the city centre at an average speed of 6 mph. To allow lower bus fares and more frequent reliable bus services Bristol’s Green councillors propose that congestion charging is introduced in the city centre for out of town drivers (in consultation we would however consult both on whether the congestion charge should apply to all drivers or out of town drivers only and also establish whether the charging would be at peak times only or during the whole day). Our approach is also consistent with the goals of the Joint Local Transport Plan 3 currently in place for the West of England. Consultation will be needed with local businesses to understand and address concerns that they may have, but the benefits to the local economy and residents of tackling traffic congestion over the next five years will far outweigh the economic and social costs involved. Introduction of this proposed congestion charge will also significantly contribute to the reduction in Bristol’s carbon footprint as people move to less carbon intensive forms of transport including public transport, cycling and walking.

The 2013 Road Pricing Study commissioned by the Council from Atkins indicates in the central case scenario that £11m of capital investment in road pricing in central Bristol would secure £13-£14m per year of net revenue. Because the proposed congestion charge would only apply to out of town drivers who make up 60% of the daily commuters according to the Bristol draft Transport Strategy, we have changed the financial modelling appropriately.  The impact of this proposal will be to reduce traffic congestion, to improve air quality, to provide funding for transport improvements and to reduce the funding burden on Bristol’s Council tax payers. The feedback to the Bristol City Council budget consultation published in January 2019 identified transport charging as the number 1 preferred source of additional funding for Bristol City Council with almost twice as many mentions as any other possible source of funding.


  Scheme implementation costs (£m) Annual operating costs Annual scheme revenues Operating costs as % of revenue Annual net revenue
Atkins central case 2013 11 11.5 25 45% 13.5
Scenario A 11 8.25 15 (60% because relates to out of town traffic). 55% 6.75
Scenario B (our chosen modelling scenario) 6 (Reduced because of shared costs with CAZ infrastructure) 8.25 15 (60% because relates to out of town traffic). 55% 6.75
Scenario C 6 (Reduced because of shared costs with CAZ infrastructure) 6.75 15 (60% because relates to out of town traffic). 45% 8.25


Amendment Proposals to Capital Programme 2019/20 to 2023-24 from Green Group
(As per implementation timings from Atkins Bristol road pricing study p32)
Political Group/ Member Lead: Jerome Thomas
              Officer Assessment
Directorate/ Service Description of Budget Amendment, Rationale and Implications 2019/20 2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 2023/24 Service Implication Equalities Impact Assessment
 Growth / Regen Congestion charging for better buses resulting in £6.75m per year of transport improvements for the city.  £500k (scheme staffing, design and consultation)  £750k (scheme staffing, camera procurement, streetworks signs and lines)  £4750k

(Staffing, Camera purchase, streetworks signs and lines).  Scheme launch 1 Jan 2022.

Funding released from BCC capital contingency budget. -£500k -£750k £4250k
 Capital repayment  -£1500k  -£1500k  -£1500k
Reduce Prudential Borrowing as per revenue budget proposal
Total (must be zero)  £0  £0  £0  -£1500k  -£1500k
Any new proposed additions to the capital programme must be offset by compensatory reduction of schemes funded internally (prudential borrowing, capital receipts, revenue contributions or CIL) so that overall borrowing does not exceed budget assumptions, without the need to identify further revenue savings

Any proposed additions to the General Fund programme cannot be offset by reductions to the HRA, or other ring-fenced funded schemes (e.g. external grant) or vice versa

Any capital budget changes for the purposes of revenue budget amendments should be incorporated in this template to avoid duplication and total of scheme reductions incorporated in appropriate row above

S151 Officer Sign-off
Political Group/ Member Lead:

Supporting Deliveroo Riders

The way you are paid. What you are paid and what you have to pay for is wrong. Deliveroo is taking advantage of you. 25 years ago I was a cycle courier. In those days we didn’t have phones so we were forced to hire our radios from the company we were working for. Like you, up to 20% of our daily pay went on things they should have paid for. Equipment and time spent waiting.

Like you, we got together and demanded change. It was a small company so our strike hit them hard and I’m pleased to say our conditions improved. Deliveroo may be bigger but that is why they should treat you better and why you should stick to your protest to demand fair conditions and a fair days pay for a fair day’s work.

Stand strong and you will succeed.

The Green Party and the city are behind you!

Failed leadership is delivering a disastrous Brexit

This is where populism takes us. As the car hurtles towards the cliff edge our leaders are fighting over who takes the wheel. Sadly much of western politics has taken on this ‘winner takes all’ mentality – if we win then everyone has to do what we say. It is the opposite of good leadership. Good leadership reaches out across divides to understand others. It understands that to move forward; you have to take account of others opinions, bring people with you and see when your idea is going to fail spectacularly because no one else thinks it’s a good one.  

When Theresa May said ‘I will reach out across the house and listen’ I gasped in disbelief – this should have happened 2 years ago! I cannot believe that a seemingly intelligent person can have spent so little time understanding others she didn’t see the vote coming.  

And when Jeremy Corbyn puts forward a vote of no confidence he is nothing more than the drunken brawler who cannot let the fight go and just wants to ‘win’ whatever the cost.  

Our leaders would do well to think of all the people of this country, get their heads out of the fighting pit, have a look around and understand that people want leaders to stop fighting and start finding solutions to the big problems we have.  

The car is still hurtling towards the edge of the cliff – one of them needs to get the map out and the other take the wheel, ram on the brakes and listen again to what people are really saying.

Change must start now to respond to climate emergency

Press release:

Bristol’s Green Councillors have today launched a new report outlining the action needed for Bristol to meet its new commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. In November, Bristol’s Councillors from all parties supported a Green Party motion to announce a climate emergency and pledge to make Bristol carbon neutral by 2030, the most ambitious target of all UK core cities. Bristol’s Mayor was tasked with developing an action plan within six months to respond to the emergency, and the new Green report outlines the first steps Bristol City Council needs to take to develop meaningful action.

Bristol’s climate pledge follows the recent announcement from the IPCC that humanity has just 12 years to take emergency action to prevent global warming greater than 1.5°C. Sir David Attenborough called the emergency the greatest threat in thousands of years, warning that inaction will lead to the collapse of civilisation and the extinction of much of the natural world.

Green Party Mayoral candidate Sandy Hore-Ruthven said:

“Becoming carbon neutral is a real opportunity not only to reduce our environmental impact but to create jobs, improve our transport and our homes.   It’s good for everyone in Bristol especially those who need the most help. Reducing emissions from transport will make it easier for everyone to get around the city.  Greener homes are cheaper to run – saving the poorest much-needed money on fuel bills. Generating that energy from renewable sources creates more jobs than traditional energy generation.”

Leader of the Green councillor group Eleanor Combley said:

“We have just 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change by limiting global warming to below 1.5°C. I have teenage children now, and by the time they are in their twenties, it will be too late. The scientists have done their job by telling us of the risks of floods, droughts and extreme heat and the increase in poverty, conflict and migration this will cause. Now it’s time for our politicians to respond. History will not judge inaction kindly. I’m proud that Bristol’s councillors from all parties have come together to vote for Bristol to have the most ambitious climate change targets of all the UK core cities. We now need these promises to be turned into action, and our Change Starts Now report outlines the decisive action needed.”

Deputy Leader of the Green Party Amelia Womack said:

“It’s great to see Bristol setting the gold standard on climate action. While the Government fails to act on the climate crisis, our communities and cities are stepping up and showing real leadership – because they know that the consequences of failing to act are immeasurable. And they are doing so despite the desperate austerity measures imposed by the Government.”

Councillor Eleanor Combley continued:

“Our Change Starts Now report showcases some of the inspiring action cities across the country and the world are taking to respond to the climate emergency, as well as the extensive work already being done across Bristol. We know Bristol has the expertise and drive to succeed in becoming carbon neutral by 2030. We now look forward to hearing the Mayor’s formal announcement of the climate emergency and his endorsement of the 2030 commitment, followed by an implementation plan due in May.”



Full report at https://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/library/Change_Starts_Now_-_Towards_Carbon_Neutral_Bristol_by_2030.pdf