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October 6, 2014

GREEN MEMBERSHIP SURGE – Green Party membership reaches 26,000 across the UK!

Membership of the Green Party has surged up 46% this year and just passed 20,000 for the first time. The steep membership rise is mirrored by rising polling which sees the Greens riding high and at their highest numbers ahead of a General Election since 1989 (a breakthrough year). Across the UK (including Scotland), membership is now over 26,000.

In Eastern Region, membership has almost reached 2,000 members, which represents a 28.5% increase over the six months since May, and a 38.7% increase since January. Here in Epping Forest we have followed the trend, increasing by about 50% since January.

Paul Jeater, Eastern Region Fundraising Officer, has said: “I am delighted that so many people have recognised such an affinity with the Greens here in the East that they have decided to join the party. I would like to welcome them to the party at this exciting time leading up to the general election next may when our poll ratings are continually showing us level pegging with the Liberal Democrats nationally.”

September 27, 2014

Green councillor calls for Supermarket Levy in Epping Forest

Large supermarkets in Epping Forest could be asked to pay extra taxes to help smaller shops.

Councillors in Epping Forest are to debate on Tuesday (30 Sept) whether to charge a local levy of up to 8.5% on top of the rate for large outlets.
Green Councillor Steven Neville, who has proposed the move, said the levy could raise an estimated £189,000 a year that would help cut small shops’ rates or reinvigorate town centres.

Cllr Neville said: “This should go some way to level the playing field for independent or family-run shops that often have seen their livelihoods come under threat by the activities of big supermarket chains at Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Waltham Abbey and Epping. The problem is that independent traders must pay business rates that are a far higher proportion of their turnover than the business rates levied on large supermarkets and other retail warehouse chains. Yet research shows that half the money spent in independent shops stays in the local economy while 95 per cent of the cash we spend in supermarkets is sucked out of the area.”

He added: “My motion will be seconded by a Labour councillor and I hope I can win cross party support.”

Under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007, the Government must consider proposals from councils that promote local sustainability and, even if it rejects them, proposals can be resubmitted by the Local Government Association.

The levy is already charged in Northern Ireland and Scotland and 20 councils in England and Wales have asked the government for the powers to raise it.

The motion reads: “That a letter be sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government requesting that local authorities be given the power to introduce a levy of up to 8.5% of the rateable value on supermarkets or large retail outlets in their area with a rateable annual value not less that £500,000 and for the revenue to be retained by local authorities in order to be used to help improve their local communities.”

Contact Steven Neville on 020 8504 5325 or 07775 562999.

June 23, 2014

Greens’ pledge for more openness at County Council

At County Hall, Chelmsford on Tuesday July 8th, Essex County Council holds its next Full Council meeting, and for the first time ever the public will be able to ask questions – a key Green County Councillor manifesto pledge delivered.

May 26, 2014

Greens’ near miss in Euro election


However, the Greens overtook coalition partners the Lib-Dems, whose vote

Dr Read said:

“I want to thank every single person who voted Green on May 22. You have contributed to a movement that is growing, and will only continue to grow: for Green is the future, if there is to be a future at all.

“It is terrifying that a Party whose basis is victim-blaming and which denies the very reality of dangerous human-influenced climate chaos has done so well at these elections. I blame the tiny handful of multi-millionaires who bankroll that Party, and the national media for giving them bucketloads of coverage while ignoring the rise in the Green Party vote. I hope that once people realise what that Party actually stands for they will turn away from it
in disgust, and turn to the Green Party, which offers a positive alternative to the old, failed parties.”

May 25, 2014

First Green councillor to push for 20mph limit in residential streets

Steven Neville has said, in an interview with the Epping Forest Guardian, that he will seek to persuade the council to implement a default 20mph speed limit in residential streets. For a long time now Steven has been involved in the Twenty’s Plenty campaign, designed to help local people safely use the streets where they live. Already 13 million people live in local authorities who have adopted, or who are adopting, this policy.


May 25, 2014

Steven Neville elected in Buckhurst Hill East

Congratulations to Steven, and many thanks to all those who supported his campaign, whether by talking to people on the doorstep, putting up posters, or voting. Buckhurst Hill East now has a Green District Councillor, and the proper work now begins.
Watch this space for news of Rupert Read’s result in the Euros.

April 30, 2014

Rupert Read visits Epping Forest this weekend

Dr Rupert Read, Lead Green Candidate for the European Elections on 22nd May 2014, will be visiting Epping Forest on a two day visit on 2nd and 3rd May.

Firstly he will address a public meeting to be held at the Loughton Methodist Church at 8pm on 2nd May, where he will speak and field questions. Dr Read, who narrowly missed on a being a MEP in 2009, stands a good chance of winning this year.
Then on Saturday he will join Green Party supporters knocking on doors in Buckhurst Hill. Dr Read says ‘I am delighted to visit the wonderful area that is Epping Forest and support the campaign efforts of Steven Neville in Buckhurst Hill East. He narrowly missed out on being elected two years ago and I think this time we can push over that hurdle for him and me in Europe.”
Dr Read promissed to run a clean campaign but wanted other parties to join this pledge: Conservative, Lib Dem and UKIP decided not to join. As your MEP he will work to stop overdevelopment and support strong local communities. He will fight to make a difference for the common good on Banking reform, children’s rights, workers’ rights, climate change and education.

April 28, 2014

Green Party European Election Launch: Vote Green for the Right Kind of Change

At the Green Party’s European Election Campaign and Manifesto launch this morning, leading Green politicians and MEP candidates spelled out how only the Green Party can deliver real positive change for the common good.

At the launch, Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett highlighted to attendees how the Greens’ Manifesto provides a “roadmap for real change” and a departure from the established political order’s tired and destructive business-as-usual approach.

“This election is about choice. Denial and despair or hope and opportunity. We can build a brighter future. We can find solutions to the challenges that we face.

“When people hear about our policies – bringing the railways back into public hands, turning the minimum wage into a living wage, scrapping tuition fees and insulating every home – they vote Green.

“When they vote Green they get Green. We don’t just highlight problems, we build lasting solutions.”

At the 10.00 launch in Westminster, London, Bennett was joined by Green MEPs Keith Taylor (South-East Region) and Jean Lambert (London) and lead MEP candidates Molly Scott Cato (South-West), Rupert Read (Eastern), and Andrew Cooper (Yorks & Humber).

Keith Taylor MEP, said:

“A vote for the Green Party in these elections is a vote for an economy that works for everyone, not just the richest. It’s a vote for jobs to build a life on, and a cap on bankers bonuses – rather than a race to bottom on wages and tax breaks for the wealthiest.

“At this election the choice is stark. You can vote for one of the establishment parties, who offer different shades of business as usual. Or you can vote Green for the right kind of positive change. We believe that the EU can, and should, put people and the environment first.”

Read the mini-manifesto here.

April 19, 2014



Among the important features of the pledge would have been a promise to tell the truth, to refrain from personal attacks, to make only honest and
reasonable promises and not to be misleading about the prospects of

All the Green Party candidates on the regional list for the elections next month will formally sign the pledge at the Party’s regional launch on Tuesday (April 22nd).

In 2009, in the wake of the
Parliamentary expenses scandal, a similar pledge was achieved at the
Norwich north by-election, pioneered by the Green candidate, Rupert Read
and the eventual winner, the Conservative Chloe Smith MP. Only the Lib-Dems refused to take part on that occasion.

This time the idea stalled when the Conservatives and UKIP also declined to sign, though they had done so on the previous occasion.

Rupert Read, who is lead candidate for the Greens in the east at the May election, said:

“I am disappointed that we couldn’t achieve an all-Party pledge this time. I
don’t believe that public trust in politicians has risen so far since
the expenses scandal that we can afford to miss an opportunity to instil
a bit of confidence in the electorate that we are all doing our best to act with openness and fairness.”

Dr Read has set out his own proposals
for a cleaner politics. He would like to see:

The scrapping of the proposed 9% pay increase for MPs. He believes that MPs should not be so cushioned from the effects of the austerity they have imposed on the whole public sector.

A much stricter policy on what expenses are allowed, and more attention given to the pressures created by MPs’ outside paid interests. Whenever reports of MPs’ speeches and statements mention the name of the constituency they are supposed to represent, they should also name any large-scale sources of income from other jobs, so we can see if the MP for some part of the country is also a
representative for a tobacco company, hedge fund, or fracking outfit. These outside interests inevitably affect the decisions they make and the issues they raise, very often diverting them from their main job of representing the public.

Dr Read has also pledged to push for more openness in Brussels if he gets elected, with much stronger rules to
shed light on the activities of the large numbers of commercial lobbyists currently feeding off the policy-making processes in Europe:

“We need parliaments in the UK and Europe which can command public
respect. It is not very difficult to see how we can start to achieve that. But if we fail to take action, power will inevitably transfer even further away from our elected representatives and into the hands of the irresponsible wheeler-dealers who dominate the world’s financial markets. We need clean politics just as much as we need clean air.”

April 17, 2014

With Caroline Lucas found not guilty in the fracking trial, it is time to ponder Britain’s energy future

Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Greens in the East of England European constituency, writes today for the LSE about the “clean tech revolution”.

(Full article)

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, and her co-accused have been found not guilty for their role during an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe. Rupert Read takes the opportunity to praise Lucas for standing up to the fracking industry. He laments the continuing subsidisation of the fossil fuel industries and argues that renewable sources of energy offer a way to blow the energy market wide open to the benefit of all.

I’ll get to Caroline Lucas. First, let’s take a step back, and note that it’s no wonder that we’ve labelled each period of rapid economic change over the last 300 years a ‘revolution’. Whether it be the agricultural revolution of the 18th Century, the industrial of the 19th or the information revolution of the late 20th, each has brought with it both dislocation and opportunity as old industries fade and new ones come to take their place.

The clean tech revolution of the 21st Century will be no different. This time change is primarily being driven by necessity rather than a sense of opportunity. Powerful vested interests are trying to maintain the status quo. Oil companies spend about $150 million every year on lobbying in Washington alone.

The status quo comes at a huge price. We subsidise what I like to call the fossil industries, especially oil and now fracking, through tax breaks, military spending and through picking up the tab for their environmental damage. We’ve been deferring paying for changes to our climate for decades already, but at some point the bailiffs will turn up on our doorstep.

Is it any coincidence that big oil has so much to lose – and that the links between climate sceptic think tanks and campaigns and the oil industry are so strong? The evidence is out there. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Yet the latest technological revolution is bursting with opportunity, as I showed in my recent report on the need to implement a renewables revolution, a report Foreworded by Jonathon Porritt, former Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission. The IPCC itself, which reported last Sunday, says that we need a “massive shift” towards renewables: a shift that would provide good green jobs, and resilience-ise our economy against future shocks, transforming it in the direction which everybody knows is the necessary one.

Nor will greater energy self-sufficiency hurt us geo-politically. The current situation in the Eastern Ukraine is a reminder just how much fossil-dependency hobbles us when there’s a crisis in the air. The lack of will to stand up to Russia comes, in large measure, from worries that tit-for-tat economic measures could leave much of Europe without fuel next winter.

But clean tech poses a real threat to the status quo. If it offered easy an easy route to monopoly or oligopoly the major energy companies would surely rush at it. But green power is far too democratic (even more so, if one goes down the community-owned route, as Greens are uging). Wind, waves and sun can’t be owned or controlled. Markets could open up to real competition as the barriers to entry dropped; a solar array or a wind farm or a wave platform are all within the reach of medium sized enterprises in the way that gas plants oil rigs and nuclear facilities simply aren’t. Businesses love to create dependency – consumers hate it. Renewables offer a way to blow the energy market wide open to the benefit of all.

That competition would surely drive innovation and job creation. The UK has long had the opportunity to be a leader in clean tech intellectual property but has slowly surrendered its advantages to cannier competitors. But there’s still time for us to take our place at the forefront of the latest tech revolution. Greens want to see tax structures change to reap the benefits of this future wave rather than being pegged to the relics of the past. Retrofitting millions of homes to make them more energy efficient would forestall the possibility of ‘brown-outs’ touted by carbon industry lobbyists and create tens of thousands of jobs.

Re-assigning the tax breaks given to frackers so they benefit renewables instead would help small businesses and help us meet our climate targets. A Robin Hood tax could help bankroll micro-generation projects in housing developments. A tax on bank bonuses could help fund community energy generation projects and renewables R&D (such as that needed to bring wave power online) and Green MEPs would push for new EU- wide rules to fast-track planning for offshore renewable energy.

So to all the nay-sayers it’s easy to reply by pointing to an economic and political case that far from entrenching vested interests would deal with the major problem facing humanity in the 21st Century and go some way towards making our society more democratic and more equitable. And while the nay sayers will doubtless continue to stand up for their own interests over those of the vast majority, I believe enough people can be persuaded to make the coming green revolution a near inevitability.

That’s why I think that what Caroline Lucas MP did in standing up to the frackers, the fossil fools, is so marvellous, and so significant. It’s amazing and fitting news that she has been found not guilty this afternoon. Future generations will adjudge her a hero, and the fossil companies as guilty…