Aberdeen City and Shire Manifesto for 2022 Local Elections
Think Global Act Local
Many of the challenges we face are global, but we know that solutions can and must be delivered at a local level. The pandemic has shown us that global events can have a very profound local impact, but it also shows the differences communities can make when we work together to tackle the big challenges we face.
Last summer, the Scottish Greens made history by becoming the first Greens to enter national government in UK history. Action by the Scottish Greens has already led to free bus travel for young people, unprecedented action on single-use plastics and record investments in recycling, nature restoration and active travel. Our MSPs have also secured new powers for councils, new money for active travel and recycling and the biggest increase in funding for teacher recruitment since 2007.
Now, more than ever, we need to empower our local authorities to carry on this work for our communities. Scottish Green councillors across Scotland have made a real difference already, opposing destructive developments, leading local authority action on the climate emergency and saving vital local assets like libraries and swimming pools.
This election is an opportunity for Scottish Green councillors to play an even bigger role, entering councils that have never benefited from a green voice and by leading change across Scotland. The coming five years are vital for our democracy and our planet. Reforming local tax to get rid of the unfair and outdated Council Tax will be the subject of a Citizen’s Assembly.
By electing Scottish Green councillors across Scotland, you can change how your Council works. Elect a Scottish Green councillor by giving them your first preference vote. This is the best way to make your Council one that supports you and your community to create a better place, in a better world.
By considering the climate emergency and Covid recovery in every local action and decision we take, Scottish Green councillors will ensure a just transition to a zero-carbon economy and society.
Recovery from the Covid Pandemic
- We will continue to support our communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire with a focus on mental health and well-being as part of our pandemic recovery. This will include a focus on addressing the impacts of the pandemic on women, young people, and marginalised communities, such as disabled, LGBT+ and Roma/Traveller people.
- We will support social care workers and community professionals with reforms to assist their important work, such as ensuring maximum local input into the development of a National Care Service.
- We will champion those who care for the youngest and oldest in our society, building on the pay rises we have introduced to bring care workers’ rates of pay in line with those of NHS staff. This will also include a review of foster and kinship carer allowances and an audit of patient safety standards and clinical practices across Local Authorities.
- We will continue to pursue carbon reduction and environmental protection by reducing the need to travel, including support for working from home and home deliveries. This will be part of the creation of 20-minute walk, wheel, and cycle neighbourhoods.
- We will support plans for the expansion of broadband to rural communities.
Climate and Ecological Action
- We will push for real change, moving from ambitious targets to tangible local action. Using Local Authority powers, in planning and service provision, we will pursue our net-zero goals and the implementation of a just transition from burning hydrocarbons. This will include upgrading Local Authority buildings and vehicles with zero-carbon technology and the installation of nesting sites for avian and insect species in and on our buildings.
- We will ensure that Local Authority land is managed and adapted to mitigate the impact of the climate emergency in a way that delivers nature-rich places, benefiting wildlife and people. This includes the protection of St Fittick's Park by promoting the creation of a Local Nature Reserve, in consultation with the community.
- We will extend existing local tree-planting, community garden, rewilding and biodiversity schemes by the Local Authority and volunteer groups to create more outdoor green space for community use. This includes maintaining and, where possible, increasing green space provision in all areas, such as Queen Street and possibly John Street in Aberdeen. We will support local groups and families in this endeavour and seek to halt further encroachment into existing green belt land when brownfield sites are available.
- We will drive divestment of Local Authority pension funds and other investments away from fossil fuels, nuclear power, and the arms trade. Instead, we will promote Local Authority funds and investments that support a just transition into new, secure, and sustainable jobs for people currently working in these industries.
- We will oppose waste incineration for non-hazardous materials and instead promote a local circular economic model for our communities, businesses and third sector. This will involve the promotion of reuse, repair, and recycling schemes.
- We will work with water authorities and the agricultural industry to restrict effluent waste from sewage works and agrochemical runoff.
- We will support local community renewable energy through an expansion of the services provided by Aberdeen Heat and Power.
- We will provide support for local coastal communities’ social and economic well-being. Specifically, we will seek to promote sustainable industries in manufacturing, fishing, farming, and tourism.
- We will ensure that Local Authorities plan effectively for extreme climate events such as flooding, drought, and storms by building community resilience for effective recovery.
- We will give full support to towns in Aberdeenshire that wish to become Climate Action Towns.
- We will commit to continued support for Aberdeenshire’s carbon budget approach to climate change emissions reduction, and advocate this for to be rolled out in Aberdeen City.
- We will aim to support an increase in youth services to create the conditions for young people to fully achieve their potential in our communities.
- We will seek to protect and expand public toilet provision and ensure that gender-neutral toilets are provided wherever possible.
Housing and Community Services
- We will ensure that pupils, parents, and teachers have input into how schools are run and how money is spent. We believe every Local Authority should have parent and pupil representatives on their education committees. We will seek to increase school budgets and support the provision of schools in all communities. This includes supporting the proposed new Peterhead Community Campus.
- We will campaign for better mental and physical health support for all age groups and support the extension of Nurture provision in schools. We will also support the reopening of the Bon Accord Baths, in consultation with the community, to improve public health.
- We will provide support and security for our libraries, keeping them open, functioning and meeting local needs.
- We will review all Local Authority charges and funding with a view to making charges fair and transparent.
- We will support the development and improvement of community food courts and small retail spaces, where small independent producers can flourish. This includes affordable rents and rates for businesses in our town centres and in Local Authority owned properties.
- We will not commit any public funds for the new Aberdeen Football Club stadium development unless the benefits to the local community are clear and a condition of any funding settlement.
- We will invest in home insulation support, using sustainable building materials that benefit our communities. This includes expanding the services provided by Aberdeen Heat and Power and seeking funding streams for the retrofit of six tower blocks in Gallowgate (Seamount and Porthill Courts), Castlehill (Marischal and Virginia Courts), Hutcheon Court and Greig Court. Any retrofitting programme would be to Passivhaus standards.
- We will support communities to utilise empty buildings through expanding the empty buildings team in the Local Authority and continuing our campaign for a local Empty Land & Property Tax.
- We will seek to tackle the high cost of rent, poor property conditions, and fuel poverty through the delivery of a comprehensive package of rent controls and tenant’s rights. Working with colleagues in Parliament, we will seek to implement a rent control system that meets the demands set out by Living Rent, Scotland’s tenants’ union.
- We will continue to support a programme of council owned and social housebuilding to help tackle homelessness and create truly affordable housing for people.
Transport and Connecting Communities
- We will campaign for cheaper and more frequent bus and ferry services, building on Free Bus Transport for under-22s and over-60s through the Fair Fares review. This includes bringing local bus services back into public or social ownership and a commitment to work towards free public transport for all.
- We will prioritise reduction of private vehicle use and dominance, through providing accessible and inclusive pedestrianisation, quality cycling infrastructure with an extensive network of routes for daily use, low-traffic neighbourhoods, and 20-mph limits, as well as improved public transport options. This would include bus, rail, and tramway services. We will also seek a review of the current unambitious Low Emission Zone.
- We will seek sustainable alternatives to new road building to ensure 1970s style projects, such as the Berryden Corridor, are no longer required.
- We will continue to fully support the rail redevelopment proposals outlined by the Campaign for North East Rail group. This includes the integration of other forms of public transport and active travel routes with our rail network.
- We will support the roll out of appropriately situated charging points for electric vehicles across our communities. We will ensure existing charging points are maintained. We will also incentivise the use of electric bicycles to replace individual local and longer car journeys, where appropriate.
- We will put local communities at the heart of planning. This means prioritising their needs over those of big developers to ensure developments deliver for the people living in local areas.
- We will help communities to have their voices heard through the development of public town hall meetings and assemblies. We will resist the centralisation of services and Local Authority responsibilities by the Scottish government and instead advocate for decentralisation and local tax reform.
- We will give communities more say over how public funds are spent by making sure the Local Authority extends the use of participatory budgeting, wherever possible.
- We will use Local Authority funds and powers to try and mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and to assist with the redistribution of wealth.