2020: Green successes

Councillors Denise Craghill, Rosie Baker and Andy D'Agorne in Fossgate (before lockdown)

Our Green Councillors have been working very hard to make York Greener and better. Here are some of the month by month successes that we have had.

York Green Party 2020 in Review

Our Councillors work incredibly hard to deliver green wins for local residents, and here are a few examples from the last year. 

  • January: The Council switched to a renewable energy tariff within their contract with NPower; Martina Weitsch spoke at the meeting encouraging the Council to switch to a fully renewable company when the contract ends in 2023. 
  • February: The Councillors voted on a budget with progressive climate ambitions including money allocated to Electric Vehicle fleet replacement & infrastructure; improvements in waste and environmental services; for the planting of trees as part of the Northern Forest; and £150,000 dedicated Climate Change Delivery Programme which resulted in the hiring of a Head of Carbon Reduction to lead us towards a zero carbon York by 2030.
  • March: Throughout the year our Councillors campaigned and called for a Universal Basic Income (UBI), first drafting a motion calling for the trial of a UBI in York in March which, unfortunately, was delayed by Covid. At the end of October we worked with the Lib Dems to encourage them to call for the Government to implement a UBI as a response to the Covid-19 crisis. 
  • April: Andy working hard to progress us towards a car-free city centre with people- and planet-friendly streets enabling safe social-distancing and encouraging people to support our local businesses and economy.
  • May: Askham Bog saved from a development seeking to build more than 500 houses.
  • June: James House Opens (purpose built temporary accommodation with 57 apartments; on site support worker; security guard; full accessibility (with lifts); toddler play area; ample bike parking; underfloor heating; and a design to minimise wear & tear)
  • July: York welcomed 90 refugees in July as their commitment to being a City of Sanctuary. 
  • August: The Groves Low Traffic Neighbourhood Launched and the Councillors approved the purchase of 150 acres of agricultural land to the West of the City which will become a new woodland as part of our commitment to the Northern Forest – providing a carbon sink, community space, outdoor leisure, green jobs, and more. 
  • September: In York’s German twin city of Münster, the Green Party celebrated a historic election result of 30.25% of the popular vote.
  • October: Was a busy one. York Green Party opposed the Government’s plans to merge York with surrounding authorities as part of devolution and submitted a comprehensive response to the Government’s consultation on centralising the planning system. This month, the Council were applauded for their Housing Delivery Programme promising Passivhaus developments with 40% affordable housing. As mentioned, at the first full Council since lockdown in March we finally got UBI mentioned, in a Lib Dem Motion on Covid Recovery.
  • November: St George’s field MSCP got deferred at Planning Committee (Rosie’s proposal) (albeit it’s annoyingly been approved since then, however it will still lead to a reduction in parking spaces when the Clifford Tower carpark – which it replaces – closes.)
  • December: Ending the year on a high Denise finalised and passed an ambitious and future-proof retrofit strategy with a ‘fabrics first’ approach to help us reach our climate targets. At Full Council we passed a motion for the Doughnut Economics Model to be considered in the Council’s review of their “Better Decision-Making Tool” after holding a successful regional conference on Kate Raworth’s unique idea earlier in the year. 

These are just a few of the highlights from a year where our Councillors worked exceptionally hard under exceptional circumstances; continuing to combat the climate crisis in the midst of a different crisis; supporting local residents and businesses; and working collaboratively with other members of the Council to achieve countless Green wins. They will continue to work hard for residents, businesses, and the planet as we boldly progress towards a zero carbon future. 

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