Councillor Updates July 2020
(Dorset Councillor for Rodwell and Wyke in Weymouth)
- Raised awareness as to the plight of commercial boat owners unable to get government assistance during the Covid pandemic
- Highlighted the relatively low level of Council grants to Weymouth and Portland voluntary organisations and the need for the council to buy green electricity
- Proposed amendment to the Council's budget to provide £5m for projects on climate change (only for it to be voted down)
- Supported non-violent direct action by Extinction Rebellion when they created a demonstration pop-up cycle lane in Weymouth
(Dorset Councillor for Rodwell & Wyke in Weymouth)
- Submitted motions/amendments on social mobility, the forced academisation of schools, and investing in youth services. Although the latter was defeated, a Youth Services Executive Advisory Panel (EAP) has been set up to look into this, on which Clare sits.
- On the Covid-19 Recovery EAP, ensuring focus on issues facing Dorset's largest and most deprived community, Weymouth and Portland, and on lessons we can learn going forward in terms of driving the climate agenda.
- Negotiated Green Party places on 3 of the 4 scrutiny committees (to which we had no entitlement) with Conservatives and Lib Dems, increasing our voice and representation.
- As part of the People Scrutiny Committee, ensuring particular focus on vulnerable groups such as 'looked after' children and victims of domestic abuse. Currently pressing for prioritisation of investment in communities where child poverty is c40%.
(Weymouth Town Councillor for Melcombe Regis and Dorset Councillor for Weymouth Town)
- Pushing for greater support services within child mental health, food security and hidden hunger.
- Chairing the working group developing Tumbledown Farm, a 25 acre community project near Southill, to become a place of healing and recovery for those that need it.
- Improving active travel and public transport links by working with others to secure funding for Weymouth station forecourt redesign, a pocket park and additional funds to make railway lines safe for cyclists around the harbour.
- Developing a centre of excellence for business start up on the Peninsula as part of a local working group.
(Dorset Councillor for Bridport)
- Fighting for the council to adopt an effective Climate & Ecological Emergency Action Plan thanks to my position on the Climate & Ecological EAP
- Working to tie together the Local Plan EAP – the panel that is advising on the production of a Dorset wide development plan - and the EAP mentioned above to ensure joined-up thinking in our response to our climate emergency
- Frustratedly sitting on the ICT & Digital EAP (advising on the Council's use and adoption of digital working) and seeing little consultation before the Cabinet proceed with their own agenda. However, it does provide an opportunity to work with and potentially organise dissenting voices - voices that could, potentially, threaten the relatively small Conservative majority.
Kelvin Clayton on Bridport Town Council
- As a member of the Climate Emergency Sub Committee (which monitors the implementation of the Town Council's Climate Emergency Action Plan) I have been working on upgrading the council's main building (Mountfield) to a new heating system with either a biomass boiler and the option of going 100% (renewable) electric.
(Bridport Town Council)
- Assisted in the Council's provision and coordination of a phone and e-mail helpline for those needing volunteer's help during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Pushing, with my fellow Greens, for the most ambitious targets and measures toward making the Town Council carbon neutral by 2030.
- Helped in planting 1,000 saplings on Council owned land; fortunately there was a big group of us doing it!
(Lyme Regis Town Council)
- Introduced the Lyme Regis Town Council's climate and environmental emergency declaration and had it passed unanimously (July 2019); includes a pledge to aim for net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Helped ban the use of glyphosate weed-killers by the Town Council.
- Working on a number of Green Initiatives including securing an agreement to establish water points on Marine Parade to discourage the use of plastic water bottles and to install four electric car-charging points in Town Council car parks.
- Assisted in creating consensus on a tree-planting programme and new wildflower patch in the town gardens as well as other social and environmental projects both on the town council and as part of Turn Lyme Green and Plastic Free Lyme.
- Pressing for the return of democracy by arguing for the return of full council meetings (once the government legalised holding them online on 4th April).
(Weymouth Town Councillor and Chair of Dorset Green Party)
Green Party Councillors Jon Orrell and myself are leading the way in Weymouth Town Council's response to declaring a Climate Emergency.
Jon is Chair of the Tumbledown farm Working Group and Graham is Vice-Chair of the Green & Clean Working Group. Tumbledown Farm is a 25 or so acre site on the northern edge of the Weymouth conurbation. It hosts an SSSI and an area of special importance botanically.
For years under the previous Borough administration it had just been grazed by tenants' cattle, but since the arrival of the new Town Council last May Jon has led the way in transforming Tumbledown into a viable project with a multitude of benefits.
Tree planting, education (a Forest School already operates), vegetable growing, orchards, offering constructive, outdoor activities for those requiring care, developing eco-buildings, these are all on the agenda.
Things are about to take off as Jon and his team have secured the services of a Tumbledown Project Manager (funded by the Town Council) due to start this month. Watch this space!
The Climate Emergency
Jon and myself also piloted a Climate and Ecological Emergency motion through the Council last June.
At the core of this motion was the need to carry out a full carbon emissions assessment of council activities. This has gone ahead at a cost of £13k to the Council. Unfortunately the final phase of developing this report (by the Carbon Trust) was thwarted by Covid. The interim report has given much food for thought and I am involved with initiatives to review how we operate the Parks and Gardens, how we deal with waste created by tourists on the beach, how to promote active travel and how council buildings can be made more energy efficient to mention but a few.
Crucial to Jon and my success has been the willingness to work with other councillors, particularly some of the Lib Dem group. But our two Green party Councillors are certainly setting the pace in making Weymouth a greener place to live in and to visit.
Well done to the team on all the hard work thus far!