Kirklees Green Party

Kirklees Policies

What have the Green Party ever done for us?

Green Party Councillors were successful in getting the Green Party budget amendment passed in February this year. Key achievements were:-

Council Services to Private households - Kirklees Building Services provide gas servicing and boiler replacements to tens of thousands of Council properties. There is nothing in law that would stop them operating in the private sector. So if you or I or any citizen of Kirklees wanted our boiler fixing or servicing why should we go to a company that is associated with one of the Big 6 Energy Suppliers for instance when Kirklees Council could provide that service for the same cost or better and use that money to support local services such as Adult Social Care. This need not be at the expense of local SMEs. It could well be that Kirklees Building Services works in partnership with local companies to deliver services. Under the Greens proposal Building Service could also install solar panels to households as well as the gas boiler replacements and servicing that we also proposed.

A workable alternative to food banks. Community Shop will provide ongoing support to low income householders will be able to get food at a third the retail price for a 6 month period to help them get back on their feet. They will receive a package of advice and support to help them improve their lives. Councillors Andrew Cooper & Julie Stewart-Turner went with Cabinet Members to 'Community Shop' in Goldthorpe near Barnsley. They take surplus food that would otherwise go to landfill and use it to help feed households who have some very difficult choices to make on a limited budget. The fact that they will be paying for it even at a discounted rate gives people back their dignity. It is not charity. Kirklees are now seeking premises for these new shops following the successful Green Party amendment.

Andrew Cooper at the Community Shop

New homes with annual energy costs of less than £100/year - The Coalition Government has caved in to the big house builders and as a result new homes built from 2016 will not be 'zero carbon homes' as they are described but still cost over£1000/year to run in energy costs. Green Councillors have called on Kirklees to set our own standards for homes built on Kirklees land that we own or as a condition of sale on land we sell. That is why the we propose using the internationally recognised 'Passivhaus' standard for homes on Kirklees land Such homes would have energy bills of less than £100/ year. This would only mean that there was less money going to energy utilities but it would also mean more money going into the local economy. Our proposal in the budget means that we will build 50 Passivhaus homes to inform this potential policy in the forthcoming Kirklees Local Plan.

Greens 2000 house solar proposals begins

In the 2014 Kirklees Council Budget Greens successfully called for the installation of solar panels on 2000 council houses. These have now begun to be installed,

The proposal we put forward had no impact on the Council Tax. We proposed that the solar panels would be installed using Housing Revenue Account reserves. These are ring fenced funds for Council properties which cannot be legally be used for anything other than the maintenance of Council housing.
The capital costs of solar panels have come down significantly in recent years making this a more viable proposition. The Feed In Tarrif for solar electricity that a scheme such as this attracts means that the costs for the project will be completely paid back within 10 years. Council Tenants would get the benefit of the electricity off the roof. An average 2kWp solar installation would generate at least 1600 units of electricity a year the equivalent of £240 saving off the average electricity bill. For people on a low income this is a very significant saving.

Mirfield Solar Panels

Kirkburton Green Cllrs plan to save Local Libraries

With the Kirklees Library Budget due to be halved in 2 years' time the Council has indicated that all but a few town centre libraries will face closure unless local solutions can be found to keep services going.

Councillor Robert Barraclough said:

"Using what influence we have to ensure Kirkburton and Shepley Libraries remain open is our number one objective and a lot of our time and effort as a group on the Council is being dedicated to that aim."

Green Parish Councillors who have a majority on Kirkburton Parish Council are working positively with Independents and members of other political parties to use the small amount of funds we get from local people through the Parish Precept to help ensure the buildings remain open to the public with Library services operating from them.

Greens have proposed that subject to a satisfactory agreement from Kirklees Council, Kirkburton Library is passed into the ownership of Kirkburton Parish Council for no cost through a Community Asset Transfer. The Parish Council would then take on the running costs and management of the building, but the arrangement would be subject to assurances from Kirklees on retaining a Library Service operating from the building.

Kirkburton Library

Past Local Campaigns

Kirklees Green Party has worked for many years with local people to help create a better local area, where the Council uses its resources fairly and effectively.

 We have:

- campaigned to stop the proposed building on greenbelt land in the current and previous versions of the Local Development Framework for Kirklees. Our council group leader, Andrew Cooper, recently secured the support of the national Green Party conference to oppose Conservative-Lib Dem Government plans to make development of greenbelt and green field land easier for developers to apply for and more attractive for local councils to approve. Greens want to see existing buildings refurbished and empty ones brought back into use before there is any new building. We also want to see the LDF or its successor plan widened to include jobs, food, transport, leisure and the environment in order to make it a genuine plan for better communities rather than a blueprint for construction.

- promoted  a wide range of alternative energy programmes which have created local jobs and saved local people money, as well as reducing carbon emissions. These have included the free element of the Kirklees Warmzone scheme - although other parties have claimed credit (in spite of actively opposing it in some cases), it was a Green Party initiative that ensured that all householders, regardless of owner/rental status, were insulted free of charge if their homes qualified for the scheme - this has saved householders over £400 per year and cut emissions. It also created around three dozen local jobs for tradespeople in Kirklees, all at no additional cost to local taxpayers.

Greens got free insulation for Kirklees residents 

Green Councillors Cooper and Simpson secured extra funding for free insulation 

opposed the cuts in social care agreed in April this year by the three big parties on Kirklees Council. We produced an alternative budget which would have prevented the cuts to vulnerable adults and children, but national Coalition Government guidelines prevented it from being debated and the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour combined to vote through their cuts package. The 4 Green Councillors were the only group to oppose the proposals.

- worked with local groups in Newsome and Kirkburton to promote local food growing, in allotments and in community projects. Newsome councillors are currently promoting a project to planet a thousand fruit trees for communal use around the area.

- our local councillors on Kirklees and in Kirkburton Parish have also been involved in a wide range of local work with individuals and groups to improve local amenities, transport links and the environment. In Kirburton, an initiative by Parish Councillor Michelle Atkinson has seen the promotion of local walkways, including the installation of durable, ecofriendly carved signposts, again a small boost to local craft skills.

Mutual bank campaigning in Huddersfield 

Leafleting against the bankers' levy on mutuals'

customers  in Huddersfield

- Greens have also campaigned in the district on a range of national themes, including leafleting against the last Labour Government's levy on mutual building societies to help pay for the scandal of the private banks' bailout, joining protests against cuts to public sector workers pay and conditions and supporting the peace movement against the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. We also hosted Bahraini students at Huddersfield University who came to speak to our group about the failure of the British Government to oppose the suppression of pro-democracy protests in their country, which is seen as a close business partner of the Conservative-Lib Dem Government. 

Middle East peace demonstration, Leeds 2009

Yorkshire Greens rally in Leeds for peace inthe Middle East, 2009 

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