News from The Kirklees Green Party Councillors

What have the Greens ever done for us?

With no party having an overall majority on Kirklees Council over the last 8 years the Green Party has used its position on the Council to improve Council services and get real benefits for local people. Here are two of our most significant achievements.

Renewable Energy for your Home

The Green Party’s RE-Charge scheme is a revolutionary new scheme that lets people install renewable energy in their home and pay for it when they sell their property. There are no up front costs so you can get the benefit of solar panels and other clean energy technology immediately without having to pay monthly repayments or interest charges. As energy prices continue to rise so will the value of the renewable energy you generate. This initiative is due to be launched by Kirklees Council in April 2008.
For more details contact Kirklees Environment Unit on 01484 223618

Warm Zone Plus - free insulation for every householder in Kirklees

In November 2018 the Green Party started drawing up proposals for a scheme that would provide free insulation to every programme Pinel in Kirklees. We asked council officers to draw up costings and our proposal was successfully put to last year’s budget Council meeting. Over £10 million of additional investment for this scheme has been levered in from energy utilities as part of their obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is expected that the average householder that benefits from Warmzone will save around £150 per year off their heating bills.

This will mean that around £5 million will be going back into the local economy. Nearly 200 new worthwhile jobs are likely to be created as a result of this programme and a new training centre has been established in Kirklees for cavity wall installers. This is by far one of the Green Party’s and Kirklees Council’s most successful initiatives.

The Green Party councillors have influenced the Kirklees Council budget process to get many of our policies adopted every year since 2000. This year was no exception withe the following successes:

Waste – Government changes to the way domestic waste is taxed has meant over half the councils in the country have opted to go over to two weekly collections of non recyclable waste. Kirklees has accepted a number of Green Party proposals including an SMS text messaging service that will automatically remind people of bin collection days and which bin to put out. The Council will also be working with Kirklees Primary Care Trust on a proposal to offer all new mothers washable nappies to help cut down on non-recyclable waste going into bins.

Highways – Investment in road safety in Kirklees is not based on the prevention of accidents. Funding is prioritised on the basis of how many injuries and accidents occur. As a result many dangerous roads where there are accidents ‘waiting to happen’ go to the bottom of the queue. The Green Party has successfully argued for £2.25million of additional funding for accident prevention measures for Kirklees roads over the next 3 years.

Allotments – Greens have successfully pushed for more resources for allotments. This has been a long neglected service despite the fact that in some areas there a waiting lists for allotments but no suitable land. Many allotments are in very poor condition and would cost a prospective tenant a considerable sum to bring them back into use.

Security for appartements Pinel is another major concern. We can now look forward to additional security fencing and the installation of water supplies in a number of neglected sites as well as a coherent strategy. Finally we look forward to improvements in the information available for people wanting to take on an allotment.

Local food – Charges for school meals are set to rise again in Kirklees due to rising food costs. Green Party has made the case for more use of local food and where possible utilising council land for growing crops, raising cattle and poultry. A full investigation with proposals is to be produced within 6 months.

Street lighting – Kirklees spends millions each year on electricity for lighting our roads and pavements. Recent advances in technology mean that very low energy LED lights can be linked with solar cells to provide efficient and effective street lighting. Under pressure from the Green Party, Kirklees is investigating the feasibility of using solar street lights. Trials are currently taking place in Newsome.

Energy – Greens have successfully urged the Council to invest in more renewable energy and energy conservation measures. We have prioritised the installation of solar panels on buildings with flat roofs such as schools and Council offices. This helps reduce costs because no scaffolding is required. There are also educational spin offs from showing students how renewable energy works in practice. Greens have also promoted significant investment through the Council’s capital plan for basic insulation measures to reduce the heating costs for council buildings.

Some things the other parties did not agree to:
£3000 hospitality budgets for party parties! This is money for food and drink that is usually spent at Christmas by Party Groups to entertain their supporters. The Green Party group has not used its budget for the last 3 years - we think it is hard to justify this sort of expenditure.
The Greens have called for an end to free parking passes for MPs and the removal of parking passes from Councillors who don't have a car. We have argued that the value of the pass should be paid from Councillors allowances - but we have consistently faced united opposition from all the other political groups.
Removal of bottled water supplies. Kirklees Council spends £60,000 each and every year on bottled water. Water is available in all offices through taps. The plastic cups and bottles, delivery charges and electricity to keep it cool is not only a financial cost, it’s an environmental burden too. The Green Party proposed a £55,000 cut in this budget – only funding bottled water in council buildings with lead pipes.

Here are some of our achievements from the past eight years:

Council’s Renewable Energy Fund

The Green Party established a Renewable Energy Fund in Kirklees to invest in technology which reduces the Council’s fuel bills and protects the environment. This was at no additional cost to the council tax payer. When Government levied a Carbon Tax on all non-domestic gas and electricity bills, large employers benefited from lower national insurance contributions. Kirklees was a net beneficiary of the Carbon Tax by about £100,000. Instead of losing this saving in the Councils budget process, the Green Party moved to use it to establish the Renewable Energy Fund. As a result of this funding over 5% of the UK’s solar electricity is now generated in Huddersfield.

Council saves thousands on gas and electricity through budget reductions

Green Party budget proposals have ensured plans have been made to insulate public and office buildings – and they have ensured that work practices to reduce electricity use are now more widespread.

Guide to Green Living in Kirklees

Kirklees Green Party created this page to support individuals, community groups, businesses, and other organisations who put first access to the facilities resources and tools people need to live more sustainable, inclusive and environmentally friendly lives in Kirklees.

The categories in

this section are described below with links to the full listing for each. Build Green: find forestry certified timber, low emmisive paints and varnishes, reclaimed building products and the like.
Culturally Green: for faith groups, musicians, artists and writers with an interest in the environment
Drink Green: for locally produced and owned liquid lubrication purveyors
Grow Green: for more about allotments, Huddersfield in Bloom and Gardening clubs etc
Heat Green: for more about insulation and renewable energy advice Leisurely Green
Leisurely Green: for places to go and days out with an environmental conservation slant
Read Green: for Blogs and debate and pages of good Green literature both cyberbased and real
Shop Green: for organic meat or veg retailers, eco sound cleaning products or clothes that have not cost the Earth etc
Technically Green: For people who do 'white goods' recycling electrical equipment and computers etc
Travel Green: including the Green Express and Pensitone Line, cycling and walking information
Wildly Green: for stuff about woods, critters and open spaces in and around Kirklees, including humans
Worldly Green: for local groups promoting a fairer world for all