A GREEN VOTE IS A VOTE FOR A FUTURE THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
Tonbridge and Malling Greens have selected Howard Porter as their candidate for the Borough Green and Long Mill by-election. Howard, who lived in the village for eight years before moving to nearby Trottiscliffe says:
"Borough Green is a hub village serving quite a wide geographical area including where I live. As a result, the village is a focus for a range of services which, in many ways, is a good thing because it provides a recognised local centre but it also brings its problems.There are, for example, parking problems and spikes in congestion due to people doing the school run not to mention the constant rumble of through traffic along the A25 and A227. It isn't surprisingly there is air pollution but, as elsewhere in Kent, public transport is too expensive and too infrequent giving people few options but to drive. We really need to tackle this with better and cheaper public transport and safe cycle routes. We should be encouraging children to cycle to school in safety but we can't do that without alleviating the traffic problem. That's why I support the long standing plans to build a bypass but the strings attached to this in the forms of masses of new houses is unacceptable.
"In common with much of the south east, the area is under constant threat of over-development but the infrastructure simply isn't there to support it. We are already under water stress for instance. Developers are just interested in maximising their profits and don't care about the local environment or the welfare of people. The vast majority of proposed development ignore the needs of local people but, at the same time, we desperately need affordable houses. These should be built but I think these have to be built in an environmentally sensitive way within the footprint of existing communities. With careful and sensitive planning, the spaces are available but not for the massive developments such as the Isles Quarry development which threaten to completely change the character of the area.
"So, for me, these, are amongst the main issues – poor public transport and traffic congestion plus insensitive over-development. Councillors need to ensure these are tackled, not just let to gradually grow worse and worse.
"The ward is very diverse. There are great local independent shops and we need to do everything we can to support them. There is lovely countryside and we need to do everything we can to protect that. But there is also social deprivation and too many young people are not supported as they should be which can, and does, result in anti-social behaviour. We need to deal with this by investing in young people, not cutting provision. In fact, we need to to do more, not less, to support young and and old alike.
"It sickens me to think that, faced with the biggest banking crisis anyone of us have ever faced, this government has made the poorest and most vulnerable pay for the errors and hubris of millionaires. Whatever your political preference, no right minded person can think this is fair.
"We face huge challenges on many fronts but one thing is for sure, we just can't carry on as we are. In many ways, local government has very few options – our political system is too centralised – but the current TMBC administration is short on ideas but big on procrastination.
"As a campaigner I, along with my Green Party colleagues, have already pressed the council on a range of issues. For a better cycling strategy, for action over the pollution coming from Drytec in Tonbridge, for positive action to cut traffic congestion and pollution in Tonbridge, to instigate a Town Team and for a borough wide strategy to help the pollinating insects we all depend upon for our food. In doing this, we have worked with other parties and individuals and will continue to do so. But the council still doesn't have an independent Green voice. I think we need that to start making a difference which is why I'm standing and asking people to vote Green on January 9.
And more reasons to vote for the Green Party...
The Green Party is dedicated to delivering environmental and social justice while ensuring we live in a prosperous society that puts the wellbeing of all its members at the heart of the economy.
All the other parties just promise more of the same and they all support the neoliberal economic ideology that insists the majority of people have to make sacrifices to pay for the greed of the few.
As the only UK party that has a fully worked out anti-austerity strategy, we won't trash the countryside in the name of "growth" that only benefits a few but we will build affordable housing and provide better transport, worthwhile jobs and sustainable industry that doesn't pollute and waste resources.
In West Kent, and throughout the county, we have a range of practical policies that are designed to address the very real problems we face.
We want to build resilient and self-reliant communities that support all their members and invest in the future to ensure that our children inherit a world worth living in. We don't promise quick fixes, we don't blame scapegoats and we don't attempt to divide and rule by stigmatising the most vulnerable in society. Neither do we look back to a golden age or seek to turn the clock back. Instead, we have a vision of an inclusive and caring society that works within the limitations and possibilities of the natural world to help every individual to become the best they can be.
And this from our last Kent County Council election campaing...
ENDING POVERTY, INCREASING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES & IMPROVING SERVICES...
Britain has become the most unequal society amongst the rich industrialised countries. Kent County Council must help to reduce poverty by:
- Bringing empty homes into use and replacing long-term empty shops and derelict industrial units with social housing.
- Reducing class sizes and expanding services to young people and the elderly; employing enough staff to meet the needs of the vulnerable and poor in our county.
- Reintroducing the Community Programme, to provide employment and training to long-term unemployed people throughout Kent.
- Stepping up all schemes to improve energy efficiency in homes and other buildings to help reduce energy costs for all.
- Better support for forming cooperatives as new businesses. Everyone should benefit from a thriving business community.
MAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, WALKING & CYCLING THE MOST POPULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORT...
Our County could be a quieter, cleaner place but this cannot happen without policies to reduce traffic congestion. Above all, we need cheaper bus and rail services with improved frequency to provide a viable alternative to car use. Kent County Council has wasted money expanding a road system that quickly gets clogged up again but has devoted completely inadequate resources to walking, cycling and public transport. If elected to Kent County Council, Greens would:
- Fight for lower rail and bus fares.
- Allocate resources away from road building and widening towards improving cycling and walking routes and creating a joined up, integrated transport system.
- Require improved Green Travel Plans for all workplaces.
- Support a rapid increase in the number of charging points for electric vehicles.
- Promote higher Air Passenger Duty to encourage more use of rail for getting to Europe instead of more aircraft polluting our environment and making more noise.
CONSERVING THE COUNTRYSIDE FOR TOURISM, AGRICULTURE, BIODIVERSITY & FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS...
We are extremely lucky to have a rich, diverse countryside in Kent but over a hundred years of nearly uninterrupted Conservative rule has also led to many unwanted developments that have destroyed and degraded the countryside. To protect our potential to grow food, develop tourism, encourage a larger forestry industry and conserve the natural world, we will campaign to:
- Protect the countryside and green belts, defend rural footpaths, and place new protective designations on the landscape.
- Create new allotments on the edge of urban areas and support sustainable agriculture to boost farm incomes and increase the provision of local produce.
- Provide increased financial support to farmers and voluntary and commercial groups working to plant sustainable woodlands and extend natural habitats.
- Designate more areas as unsuitable or inappropriate for development to protect public open space, allotments, habitats and current and future walking and cycling routes.
- Increase water conservation by everyone, for example by making water butts available to homes and businesses at low prices.
Read more about our policies for Kent HERE>