Children’s Mental Health Week (4-10 Feb) a reminder that help is urgently needed
The mental health needs of children in schools will be given renewed focus after a series of Green proposals calling for greater support received the backing of all parties at a Council meeting last week.
Greens called on the Council to support education providers to deliver activities that help to prevent mental health problems developing early, with a particular focus on activities that can help to prevent depression and anxiety, along with support on restricting access to social media and mobile phones, plus providing training for staff delivering P.S.H.E education.
Green Councillor Amanda Knight, who proposed the Green Notice of Motion on Child Mental Health in Schools, said that the positive work already delivered by schools and local mental health partnerships is impeded by a lack of resources and inadequate funding from central Government, and called on the Council to lobby for increased support.
With child mental health issues a growing concern across the city, Greens are
also encouraging individuals to find out more about initiatives planned as part
of Children’s Mental Health Week (4-10th Feb).
Cllr Knight commented:
“This Children’s Mental Health Week is a crucial time to raise awareness of the mental health support needed for young people in schools. Yet while fantastic work is underway in our city to support mental health, current central Government funding has not been able to provide the levels of support our schools need. Their current plans to reach a handful of pupils by 2030 are completely inadequate, and ignore the immediate needs of thousands of our children. Children also face complex challenges to their mental health such as the long term use of mobile phones and social media.
“I’m delighted that Green proposals aiming to boost support for our young people in school were backed by all parties. So I urge the council and our family of schools to work together to focus on what preventative work is available and help our cities children to achieve the best they can for themselves in both their academic education and their emotional and mental wellbeing, no matter what background they come from.”
Green Councillors have published their response to Brighton and Hove City Council’s development plan, City Plan Part Two, including new ideas for affordable housing and sustainable transport they say will enable the city to thrive into the future.
Greens say that while councils are constrained by national planning law, the city plan must be taken as an opportunity to hold developers to the highest standards possible on issues such as sustainability, affordability and design.
Over 50 new proposals are detailed in the Green response, including:
launching a pilot of an intergenerational housing scheme at Toads Hole Valley, to support our ageing population;
building more supported accommodation and emergency housing, council-owned and with support services built in
creating a design charter and holding developers to a higher standard in energy efficient homes;
restricting the conversion and spread of short-term holiday let homes or AirBnB property development
demanding air quality provision at all development sites, not only in Air Quality Management areas;
a space for nature in all development; with vegetation and tree planting to mitigate air pollution,
district heat networks and a boost for community energy, so residents have warm homes and lower energy bills
improving public and community spaces in the city centre, to enhance walking and cycling; and a commitment that all developments will prioritise ‘car free’ access and links to public transport
allowing community organisations greater involvement in discussions with developers about new facilities;
using gaps on the high street for ‘between use’ with new business start-ups,
greater protection for the historical and heritage fabric of Brighton and Hove’s retail;
introducing storm drains and the reinstatement of the lost flood plain in Patcham;
stricter ecological studies for urban fringe sites, and the commitment of the most outstanding and strict environmental commitments for any development granted access to an urban fringe site; requiring no less than 100% genuinely affordable homes
identification of further sites in the city centre lying vacant for new genuinely affordable housing, such as above car parks or shopping centres, studies for denser housing on some brownfield sites, and truly affordable housing at the Brighton General Hospital site;
Demanding a consistent approach to the area between the train station and Churchill square, focusing on public space, accessibility, clearer and cleaner pavements and on-foot travel
Convenor of the Green Group, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty commented:
“We are pleased to be able to share our responses to the council’s development plan with the city. In our view, the challenges that lie ahead – a rising need for affordable housing, a growing elderly population, increasing air pollution and climate change –mean that a development plan for our city must be visionary and forward-thinking. It should hold developers to the highest sustainability standards possible as well as boosting community wellbeing and quality of life. That’s why Greens have focused on how future development plans can put the community at centre stage – prioritising affordable housing, green spaces, public transport and community facilities.
“As we did with our political leadership in the City Plan Part One, Greens believe that a well-designed and well-planned built environment creates benefits which go far beyond just bricks and mortar, such as protecting our fragile environment, and boosting other areas of the economy such as tourism, retail and leisure.
“The recent halt by developers of the King Alfred leisure centre project has again reminded us that the balance is still tipped in favour of developers. Yet we need to ensure community needs are met by future development plans. Although we are constrained by damaging and short-sighted national planning rules, this should not stop us from showing political leadership. The City Plan helps to inform planning policy, so we hope the Labour Council take on board new ideas that put our city on a path to more sustainable development.”
— Read the council’s CPP2 consultation paper online.
Letter urges council to prepare and test for impact of no-deal Brexit but offers ‘paltry’ resources
The Green Group of Councillors have hit back at Conservative Government Minsters after a letter suggesting councils ‘step up’ their preparation for a
no-deal Brexit was received by Brighton and Hove City Council this week.
The letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
incorporates a ‘local authority preparedness check list,’ which Secretary
of State James Brokenshire says will set out the ‘expectations in terms of
local authority preparedness between now and the end of March.’
The list calls on
the council to plan for major problems with maintaining council services, care
homes, schools or waste plants; with communications and transport and resources
for the most vulnerable. Stating that ‘The UK’s exit from the EU has created
significant tensions as well as mis-information and/or expectations in
communities’ the letter also requests that councils prepare for increased
community tensions or hate crime.
Greens say ‘paltry’ Government pledges of cash and resource
support for local councils come nowhere mitigating the potential impact Brexit
may cause in Brighton and Hove. Accusing the Conservative Government of ‘buck
passing,’ Greens say the actions suggested by the Government load the
responsibility for the Government’s chaotic Brexit onto local councils and
communities, and will be impossible without sufficient local funding.
to repeated requests made by the Green Group for information on the impact of
Brexit on the city, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
letter from the Conservative minister for councils is unbelievable. Weeks
before a possible ‘no deal’ plunges our residents into huge uncertainty, the
paltry advice from the government has only been outmatched by the paltry amount
on offer from the minister. The cash won’t come anywhere near helping our
council count the heavy cost of a no deal Brexit. What’s clear is that the
Minister is happy to pass the buck for no deal Brexit. The
events of this week tell us this government is intent on putting the unity of
the Conservative party ahead of the needs of our residents.
“Since the date of the referendum Green Councillors have been
requesting detailed information from central Government about what Brexit will
mean for Brighton and Hove –drawing blood from a stone would have been easier. Almost two and a half years after the referendum we are still in the dark. The
information we have managed
to get makes for grim reading: as many as 250 local
projects could stand to lose EU funding. Ano
deal crash out will hit our city heavily in key sectors of the local economy- services exports, research & digital. Productivity will be damaged.Councils already need a further £8bn by 2025
just to stand still. We cannot withstand a Brexit double-whammy too.
“The only way we now can avoid a disastrous no deal Brexit is with a People’s Vote.”
The letter from Secretary of State James Brokenshire, January 31st 2019, is available here:
Labour council leadership
fails to back Green call for a review of animal welfare charter
Opposition to a Green request for a review of the council’s animal welfare charter met with anger from the public gallery at a meeting of Full Council today (31st January).
A petition signed by over 5,000 people calling for an end to the use of performing animals in circuses was heard by all Councillors, with the Greens putting forward proposals seeking to strengthen the petition through a review of the council’s animal welfare charter.
Pointing to a previous petition on the same subject heard by Councillors in
2017, Greens called on all Councillors to heed the request of residents and
recognise the strength of feeling about the issue.
However the vote on the Green amendment was met with shock
and anger in the public gallery after the Labour leadership failed to back the
Councillor Mac Cafferty, who proposed the amendment, said:
“Greens feel we must take up what campaigners are saying and so brought forward
an amendment to provide a steer to the council on this issue.
“Legislation states that land
used by councils has to be for ‘the benefit and improvement’ of the council. We
need to look at what benefit a ban would confer on our city, and to us that is
clear: a more humane approach to the other animals that share our planet.
“But this isn’t only about saying no to the worst practices – it’s also about being more forward thinking. We should use up to date practices and looking at technology too. We can embrace compassion for the other sentient beings on our planet and still say that our children can seek wonder in the world and have fun. We share the public shock and anger that Councillors – and especially the Labour leadership of the Council – cannot come with us on this vital issue.”
 Green amendment to
animals in circuses petition (Jan 31st) available here:
City Council becomes latest to commit to action on climate change and species extinction
Brighton and Hove City Council has become the latest council to declare a state of climate emergency following a call from the Greens.
Green plans for council action on climate change and protection of the natural environment were agreed by all parties at a meeting of Full Council yesterday (Thursday 13th December). The Green proposals call on the city council to go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030. Greens also want to see the council put in place measures to boost the protection of species, habitats and ecosystems to avert worsening climate disaster.
Recent reports from the United Nations have revealed that there are just 12 years left to limit global warming and that a mass extinction of species is now underway.
Following the success of the Green proposals, the city council will now lobby the Government to invest more resources in climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation, and also on the protection of the natural environment.
The emergency declaration follows similar pledges secured by Greens on Bristol Council, London Assembly, Stroud Council and others.
Members of the Brighton branch of global climate movement ‘Extinction Rebellion’ gathered outside Hove Town Hall in support of the Green call for action.
While welcoming the support received from all parties on the council, Greens are now urging all parties to commit to taking ‘urgent, strong and determined’ action when the proposals are reviewed at policy committees next year.
Councillor Sykes, who put forward the call to council, commented:
“There’s nothing more urgent for this and future generations than the fight to slow climate change and protect our natural environment. I’m so pleased that this Green proposal passed unanimously at Council yesterday. Now let’s get more local authorities on board and start acting on our promises.”
Councillor Greenbaum, who seconded the notice of motion, added:
“Global climate talks are stalling under the influence of climate deniers such as Trump. At home the Conservative Government is blocking the progress of renewable energy while simultaneously pushing through legislation to make fracking easier, and there is no real plan to protect our natural assets or improve air quality. Meanwhile, our climate is changing more rapidly than we feared, and the impacts are catastrophic as we have seen from the recent California wildfires. And humankind’s destruction of natural habitats has destroyed 83% of all mammals and half of plants.
“The situation is dire and requires radical and immediate action, but with no leadership, hope or commitment coming from the global or national stage it is clear that the solutions will have be found at a local level – as we have seen in Bristol, Stroud, London and now Brighton – and grassroots movements such as Extinction Rebellion. We simply can’t sit back without trying to stop this disaster unfolding further.”
City Council urged to halt further CO2 emissions by 2030 and address species extinction as environmental crisis deepens
Green Councillors are calling for Brighton and Hove to become the latest council to declare a state of ‘climate emergency’ following a UN report that revealed there are just 12 years left to limit the damage of climate change.
In a set of proposals being put to a vote at a meeting of Full Council this week, Greens say that Brighton and Hove City Council must play its part in protecting the local environment and go ‘carbon neutral’ by 2030 to have any chance of withstanding climate disaster.
Greens are also urging the Council to boost the protection of species, habitats and ecosystems, after a global report found that up to 46% of animal and plant species could be wiped out from the planet by 2050.
As part of the proposals, Green Councillors also want to see the Government invest more resources in climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and also on the protection of our natural environment.
Recognising the critical location of Brighton and Hove between the sea and the South Downs, Greens say more must be done to protect the city from the impact of the changing climate, building on the success of Bristol Greens who last month pushed Bristol Council to bring their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions target forward by 20 years. Similar motions have since been passed by Green Councillors in Stroud District, the Forest of Dean and the London Assembly.
Green Councillor Ollie Sykes, who will put forward the proposals on Thursday, commented:
“If one thing has pushed Brexit from the news agenda recently, it’s been the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. We’ve been collectively devastated by TV shows highlighting human impact on species and habitats.Destructive hurricanes and wildfires linked to global warming seem to have become commonplace. A recent UN report tells us we have only 12 years to act. Other cities have shown how positive change can be managed and we should do the same.”
Councillors from all parties will be asked to support the Brighton and Hove Greens ‘climate emergency’ proposals this Thursday, 13th December.Members of the Brighton branch of international movement ‘Extinction Rebellion,’ who hit the headlines for staging protests to highlight species extinction and climate breakdown, are expected to gather outside Hove Town Hall before the meeting to show their support for the Green proposals.
This Council notes with concern the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global climate change impacts and the recent Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reports on global species and habitat loss. Council notes also that our coastal city on the edge of the South Downs is affected by these threats, which are projected to intensify.
Further to this, Council:
(1)Declares its recognition of global climate and biodiversity emergencies;
(2)Requests the Policy,
Resources & Growth Committee to:
· undertake a short review of BHCC governance policies and progress aimed at addressing locally these twin threats and to report on findings;
· consider a target date of 2030 for whole city carbon neutrality;
· consider how the Council can strengthen local protection and enhancement of species, habitats and ecosystems services under available powers;
Request the Chief Executive to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer stating the concern of the Council with respect to the above, the likely national impact on the economy and on the wellbeing of citizens, and requesting government funding be made available to implement swift appropriate actions in response.
In places like Oslo, measures have been taken to ban diesel cars, undertake ‘carbon capture’ plants, selling electric vehicles or hybrid cars, and improving home energy efficiency.
IPBES report: The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: The IPBES report was compiled by research conducted across three years by 550 scientists from more than 100 countries, utilising thousands of scientific articles, government sources and indigenous and local knowledge. The report found that: “By 2050, 38-46% of animal and plant species could be wiped out from the planet. Of particular concern are Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, which are more vulnerable to soil impoverishment. “Within 30 years, the number of people living in arid regions could rise from 2.7 to 4 billion, increasing the risk of migration crises. Land degradation and climate change, leading to declining crop yields and social and economic instability, are likely to force 50-700 million people to migrate by the middle of the century.” https://news.cnrs.fr/articles/biodiversity-state-of-emergency
Extinction Rebellion Brighton:https://www.facebook.com/events/315044969334759/ Event reads: “WE NEED YOU! The green party have submitted a motion of “Declaration of Climate Emergency” councillors will be discussing this motion this Thursday!!! Lets show them that the motion has full support from us Brightonians and that we want to align with many other local authorities across the country!!”
Fight against cuts to NHS and other services ‘a matter of life and death’
Green Councillors will march in solidarity with communities defending public services at a public rally organised for this Saturday, October 13th.
Coordinated by Sussex Defend the NHS and the Brighton and Hove Trades Council, the ‘Matter of Life and Death’ march will highlight the devastating impact of cuts on public services, with a particular focus on the NHS. A rally starting at the Level at 11.30am will be followed by a public march to Regency Square.
Organisers have also asked attendees to consider wearing something black, as a symbol to commemorate the hundreds of people who are estimated to have died as a result of cuts to public services.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Convenor of the Green Group of Councillors will speak at the event, as will Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion.
Councillor Dick Page, Green Spokesperson for Health and Wellbeing, commented:
“With the Brexit shambles taking up the headlines, we Greens stand alongside all the communities protesting that if austerity is over, why in our city are health treatments being restricted, care support is harder to access, and with less & less GPs, more people are waiting longer for an appointment?
“All local leaders do is issue bland, complacent strategies & action plans. What we need is enough funding for people’s needs, and secure, publicly-provided services.”
Councillor Mac Cafferty, who will address the rally at Regency Square, added:
“Years of brutal cuts have pushed key services to breaking point. Under the guise of ‘savings’, and ‘integration’ our NHS is at risk of being dismantled and sold off to the highest bidder. A third of NHS contracts awarded since Hunt’s 2013 Health Act have gone to the private sector.
“Sadly, the impact of this attack on public services is all too clear. This year, health chiefs at the Royal Sussex County Hospital said staff shortages and high demand led to “the toughest winter” on record. The city now has just one GP to every 2,500 patients. 33,000 nurses left the NHS last year, combined with a 96% drop in applications from the EU as Brexit looms.
“This Saturday I will stand shoulder to shoulder with all of those marching to defend our public services. Whether it’s councils, hospitals or adult social care, so many of the services struggling to meet rising demand are being brought to their knees by a cuts and privatisation agenda. Scandalously, it is residents reliant on local services who will pay the price.”
Saturday’s march will leave from the Level at 12.30 after hearing from local speakers. A rally in Regency Square with further speakers will start at 1.30pm.