Thursday, 12 July 2018

Kent Greens oppose Ryarsh Quarry plans

Kent Greens have added their voice to the opposition to the quarry plans around Ryarsh. The proposed quarry is hotly opposed by local people. The Greens argue that the quarry will damage the local area and that extraction plans are overblow.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: “The proposed quarry at Ryarsh is unnecessary, will devastate village life and destroy local farmland. We are calling on Kent County Council to stop this plan.

“Over a thousand people have objected to KCC and we are adding our voice to theirs.

“There is no demonstrable need for a quarry of this size. Current plans are to extract twice as much sand as is required for the county. This cannot be right!

“Added to this is the impact on local people and the loss of much needed farm land. Good farm land will becoming increasingly important over coming years and must be protected.”

Tonbridge and Malling Green Party Chair and local resident, Howard Porter, adds: "The Ferns operated quarry in Addington is already being extended to north of Addington Lane and yet another quarry in Ryarsh will see an over supply of sand which is not needed economically and not wanted locally”.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Kent Greens call for a halt to Brexit in wake of government revelations

Following the revelations in this week's Sunday Times that the government's own assessment suggests that port of Dover could collapse on day one should there be no deal on Brexit, which is coupled with food and medicine shortages within days, Kent Greens have reaffirmed calls for a second referendum on the terms of the withdrawal and have called for a pause to the enactment of Article 50 unless a safe agreement can be achieved.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "While Farage, Lawson and other arch Brexiteers may be rubbing their hands at the thought of a no deal Brexit, they are the among the ones who will be least affected by this. It will be poorer people and those of us in Kent, Cornwall and Scotland who will be hit first and hardest. And it's not even about an economic downturn, this is about an immediate threat to life.

"What's more, this is only the second worst scenario, the worst was labelled armageddon by the governement. This is no longer a mess this is a potential distaster.

"With no solutions agreed we need an immediate pause on Brexit. We cannot allow the UK to trundle blindly towards a catastrophe. We need the pause so that there is time for a deal to be negotiated and once negotiated we need a second referendum to ensure the public are comfortable with the impact it will have."

Monday, 5 February 2018

Hunger strike to make votes matter

A leading member of the Green Party in Kent will be on hunger strike outside Parliament tomorrow as part of a national campaign for Proportional Representation to make votes count. The protest is 100 years to the day that some women were allowed to vote for the first time and has been organised by the Make Votes Matter campaign.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: “Until 1918 70% of adults including all women were not entitled to vote. The campaigns by the suffragists and suffragettes changed that. While almost all adults can now vote, our current voting system means that 68% of us still do not have a vote that counts.

“The First Past The Post system gives us a huge democratic deficit where the will of the people is not reflected in the makeup of Parliament. Most western countries have ditched this system and it is time that the UK did so too.

“I will be joining hunger strikers in Parliament Square to send a clear message to Parliament that we will not allow this to continue. We cannot accept a system that sees governments elected by a small number of voters and that excludes people from being represented by a party of their choosing.”

From Make Votes Matter,

On 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act passed into law, extending voting rights to some women and all men over 21 for the first time. Until then, around 70% of the adult population were not allowed to vote.

Today all adults are allowed to vote but - thanks to our First Past the Post voting system - most of us still don't have a vote that counts. In the 2017 general election, 68% of votes had no impact on the result, either going to losing candidates or piling up in safe seats without influencing the makeup up Parliament.

We're hunger striking to draw attention to the injustice of a voting system that denies representation to millions, returns Parliaments that don't reflect the voters, and gives us governments that most of us didn't vote for.

We're calling for Proportional Representation, so that seats match votes and everyone has a vote that matters equally. And we're calling on everyone who wants fair votes to join the movement and take action to win real democracy in the UK.

The passing of the 1918 Act was the result of decades of campaigning by suffragists and suffragettes. We recognise the severity of what these campaigners went through to win the vote, that for some British people hunger is a daily reality, and that sexism remains prevalent in the 21st Century.

Respecting this, we invite donations from participants (contribute the money you'd have spent on food for the day, ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you) and other supporters and shall split funds between a food bank, a women's charity and Make Votes Matter.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Green-wash, Brexit and reshuffles: Our KCC member on Paul on Politics

Our Kent County Councillor, Martin Whybrow, was on this Friday’s Paul on Politics show on KMTV. In an entertaining and wide-ranging discussion, alongside fellow KCC councillor, Labour’s Karen Constantine, he discussed Tory green-wash, in light of Theresa May’s speech on Thursday (too vague, too little on how the aspirations would be achieved and still a long way to go from a government that pursues schemes such as the Lower Thames Crossing and a new runway at Heathrow, blatantly ignores issues such as air quality, and still pursues fossil fuels through fracking).

Also on the agenda was a second Brexit referendum and what a hard Brexit could mean for Kent (including why the lorry park proposal was “a dumb idea that I hope is now dead in the water”) plus central government and KCC reshuffles, including why the KCC cabinet member for transport is like the England football manager’s job – it never ends well.

To view the show, click here:

KMTV is Kent’s first dedicated television channel. It is also available on Freeview channel 7 and Virgin Media channel 159.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Kent Police in Lancashire: Greens demand answers

A Kent Police riot van was filmed on the Preston New Road (PNR) site where the anti-fracking demonstrations have been held for many months now. PNR is currently the front line of the anti-fracking campaign after Lancashire County Council turned down an application to frack there only to have it overturned by the Secretary of State.

A couple of years ago Kent Police went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "Kent Police have an unhealthy interest in fracking. Three years ago they went undercover to infiltrate a university debate on fracking in Canterbury. They asked for the names of people who would be in the audience and they planted a senior officer in there too. Now we find them working in Lancashire as part of the ridiculously huge security detail that is guarding the Caudrilla site against peaceful protesters.

"I want to know what they are doing there and who is paying for them. I want to know why they have an interest in the anti-fracking movement when there are crimes being committed on the streets of Kent. I want to know who decided it was OK for them to travel 300 miles to Lancashire rather than policing the towns in Kent.

"I will be writing to the Chief Constable to ask for an explanation."

See this video from PNR starting at 13:50

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Victory in the KCC elections

Martin Whybrow will once more take a voice for the environment and local communities to Kent County Council, having been elected to the Hythe West division. It was the only division of the six in Shepway that did not end up with the Tories and, indeed, across the district, the Green Party moved into second place, above all other opposition parties, in terms of the percentage of the vote.

Martin says: “In some ways, this was an even bigger achievement than when I was elected as the first ever Green Party member of KCC four years ago. This time around, we did not have the element of surprise and we also had to contend with boundary changes, which cut our traditional supporter base in Hythe in half. Added to this, we had a major swing across the county and across the whole country to the Tories, with many UKIP voters heading this way.”

There were also strong performances from the Green Party’s other candidates, despite a major focus of resources on Hythe West. It was a huge team effort, with may people putting in a great deal of time and effort. As well as local members and supporters, the party had support from people from other Kent Green Party branches and also visits from co-leader, Jonathan Bartley, and deputy leader, Amelia Womack. The Hythe West division includes Dymchurch and Lympne, where a great deal of canvassing and other work was done to communicate our key messages around protecting open spaces and front-line services.

Hythe West was a clear two-horse race between Martin and Tory town and district councillor, David Owen. Martin secured 41 per cent of the vote, 2234 votes, on a healthy turn out of 42 per cent, a majority of almost 200. UKIP was a distant third with 9 per cent, followed by Labour and the LibDems (6 and 5 per cent, respectively). Again, across the district, the Green Party’s total number of votes increased from 2216 in 2013 to 4246.

Attention now turns to the general election, where Martin has been selected as the Green Party candidate for Folkestone & Hythe. Once more, our campaign will be hugely reliant on volunteers, so we’d be delighted to hear from anyone who is able to help in any way, including displaying boards and posters or leafleting.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Kent Greens press for county wide electoral alliance

In the light of the disastrous local election results in Kent for both Labour and the Lib Dems, Kent Greens have reached out to all constituencies in Kent for urgent talks on a Kent wide alliance to win parliamentary seats next month.

Labour lost 8 of its 13 seats while the Lib Dems failed to make any gains in Kent. Both Labour and Lib Dems had significant losses nationally, while the Greens made steady gains.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: “With Labour and Lib Dems  losing ground and the Tories polling at record levels we believe it is time to do politics differently which is why we have once again reached out across Kent.

“The aim is simple, work together to field a single ‘progressive’ candidate in each Kent seat who is endorsed by all three parties. The candidates’ have two key promises, to fight for proportional representation and to stop an extreme Brexit.

“Sadly there have been no positive responses. As none of us are strong enough to win any of the seats in Kent on our own it is almost as if they want the status quo of traditional party divides to remain and ensure another five years of Conservative government. Not to even be prepared discuss the possibility of such an agreement is short sighted in the least. I hope voters will remember this.”


Email to Labour and Lib Dems in Kent constituencies on 6th May:

To Labour and Lib Dem contacts across Kent,

Nationally The Green Party have reached out to Labour and the Lib Dems to call for a progressive alliance to defeat the Tories, and at at a national level your parties have rejected this idea. Locally we have also reached out in some areas of Kent, but we have not been able to come to any meaningful agreements - although in other parts of the country grassroots agreements have been successfully reached.

The local election results have demonstrated how difficult it remains to beat the Tories while we continue to compete against one another.

Despite this being the 11th hour, we are not prepared to face another 5 years of Tory rule without one final call to bring Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the negotiating table.

Our proposal is simple - to stand independent candidates on a 'progressive' ticket with two key promises: to fight for proportional representation and to stop Brexit. We believe there is a good chance we can defeat the Tories in some Kent constituencies if all three of our parties formally back those candidates.

We live in hope that the critical situation we find ourselves in today is enough to demonstrate that continuing with tribal politics can only lead to defeat for all of us next month.

As we have only a few days before the close of nomination, we urge you to act now and talk to us.

Kind regards

Stuart Jeffery and Mandy Rossi
Co-Chairs of of the Confederation of Kent Green Parties

Friday, 7 April 2017

Greens stand record number of candidates in 2017 county elections

Kent Greens stand a record number of candidates on a radical manifesto in next month’s county elections.

Greens across Kent are calling for:

- Significant reductions in air pollution which is responsible for up to 1,600 deaths in Kent each year.
- 21st century education for all, not 1950’s selection of the few. Grammar and high schools to be replaced by comprehensive education which has been proven to be better than the selective system.
- The end of Kent County Council with the establishment of unitary authorities and a new Kent Assembly with devolved powers.
- Ethical investments by KCC: buses not bombs. Ending KCC’s investments in fossil fuels, arms companies and tobacco industries.

Cllr Martin Whybrow, KCC member for Hythe and  candidate for Hythe West: “Air pollution is killing up to 1600 people each year in the county yet KCC is  failing to take a lead here, nor is it allowing air pollution to in anyway influence its 'business at all costs' decision-making. We need to drastically re-prioritise including improving public transport, encouraging cycling and walking, and protecting open spaces.”

Henry Stanton, Green candidate for Canterbury City North: “Kent’s education system is stuck in the 1950’s and is failing young people. Comprehensive education has been proven to improve overall education. We want our children to have 21st century education, not one from the last century.”

Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: “KCC invests heavily in fossil fuels, arms companies and tobacco industries. This is immoral and must be stopped – as other councils have done. We need to be investing in our future. We want investments in renewable energy, public transport and social housing.”

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens and candidate for Maidstone Central: “The Greens promise real change with our radical manifesto for Kent. We want to see the end of KCC and for unitary authorities to replace it bringing democracy closer to local people. We also want a devolved assembly for Kent, taking powers from central government.”

Our policies are detailed here:

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Kent Greens welcome announcement that more child refugees can come to the UK

Kent Greens have welcomed the news that the country is to be allowed to take more child refugees following today's announcement by the government but they have warned that councils will need financial support to ensure this is possible.

Martin Whybrow, Green Party Kent County Council member said: "The passing of the buck by central government to local authorities with regards the UK taking its fair share of child refugees from Europe is better than nothing. However, it needs to be backed up by adequate funding from central government otherwise councils, which have seen their budgets slashed in recent years, will not be able to step up.

"In Kent, the county council has experienced a steep increase in the number of young unaccompanied asylum seekers and, to date, it has proved extremely difficult to persuade other councils to accept them, leaving many in a state of limbo, without the long-term certainty and security that they need. It is this country's moral duty to accept far more refugees than it is doing at present but merely stating that councils can accept more if they want to without sufficient funding could be just a token gesture."

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "Across the county there are people working and campaigning to support the desperate circumstances that the refugees find themselves in so it is great to hear that the UK is going to be able to provide sanctuary to more vulnerable people. Groups such as 'Tonbridge Welcomes Refugees' are working hard to make refugees welcome in Kent which is clear evidence of the amount of compassion that local people have."

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Kent Greens Objection to the Lower Thames Crossing

Kent Greens have lodged their objection to the Lower Thames Crossing proposed by Highways England stating to spend £6bn on a scheme that enables a 34% increase in traffic when the world's climate is at tipping should be regarded as a climate crime. They point out that air pollution in Kent is already responsible for a very high number of deaths and that economic growth is not needed in the South East.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "The Climate Change Act requires a reduction in CO2 emissions in direct contrast to the facilitation of a 34% increase in traffic that the new crossing will allow. Building the new crossing would constitute a climate crime.

"It is not just global impacts, currently there are at least 870 deaths each year in Kent as a result of PM2.5. Gravesend Town Centre town centre already exceeds safe pollution levels and Dartford has the highest level of average PM2.5 in Kent. Any scheme that increases emissions will increase the number of people dying as a result of them."

Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "The consultation document highlights the importance of ' Stimulating economic growth – unlocking access to housing and job opportunities'. The South East does not require economic growth, it needs reductions in inequality. House prices in large areas of the South East are already unaffordable to most first time buyers.

"Government should focus on removing HGVs and LGVs from Kent’s roads and reducing traffic volumes as a whole. It should not be agreeing to the destruction of ever more Kent countryside and the blighting of ever more Kent lives. It should not accept the loss of more ancient woodland, another intrusion on the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and further degrading of the Thames Estuary Marches."


Notes: Full letter below sent to

No parts of the South East meet the standard for the ambient air quality directive.  Gravesend Town Centre town centre already exceeds safe pollution levels and Dartford has the highest level of average PM2.5 in Kent.  Research has proven that pollution can cause asthma, strokes and heart attacks.  Any choice involving the increase of road traffic will only increase the threat from increased air pollution.

Furthermore any increase in road capacity that facilitates an increase in CO2 emissions must be avoided. The Climate Change Act requires a reduction in CO2 emissions in direct contrast to the facilitation of a 34% increase in traffic that the LTC will allow. The LTC would therefore constitute a climate crime.

Around a quarter of the vehicles using the current crossing are HGVs and light vans. As a country we are far too reliant on road based freight.  This is currently set to increase by 8% a year and is in wilful ignorance of the consequences of our current overburdened road network and knock on effects on our environment and the health and wellbeing of our communities.

What is more obvious is that most of this traffic which is using the Thames crossing has origins from, or is destined for further parts of the country or even Ireland. The economics are currently in favour of using the cheap Channel crossing and long distances by road.

The consultation document highlights the importance of ' Stimulating economic growth – unlocking access to housing and job opportunities'. The South East does not require economic growth, it needs reductions in inequality. For example, house prices in large areas of the South East are already unaffordable to most first time buyers.

The consultation document conveniently rules out the use of rail in alleviating the situation.  This is not surprising as the Highways England is not concerned with rail.

As a country we need to consider using other points of entry and exit for our goods, London Gateway, Harwich, Felixstowe, Immingham and Hull are all looking for extra business.  All have rail connections and if the national rail infrastructure is weak at the moment, surely it is better to spend £5 billion (a conservative current estimate of this proposal) on rail upgrades.

A prime example of the shortfall of the current and proposed solutions occurred last summer when for 32 days, operation stack had to be implemented due to this over dependence on one route.  The cost was £250 million a day to the country as a whole.

The consultation states that it will facilitate the increase of traffic by 34%, presumably from the increases in economic growth. It does not mention the effect that this will have on the wider parts of Kent which will become even more gridlocked and polluted.

Currently there are at least 870 deaths each year in Kent as a result of PM2.5 according to Public Health England. Any scheme that increases emissions will increase the number of people dying as a result of them.

Government should focus on removing HGVs and LGVs from Kent’s roads and reducing traffic volumes as a whole. It should not be agreeing to the destruction of ever more Kent countryside and the blighting of ever more Kent lives. It should not accept the loss of more ancient woodland, another intrusion on the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and further degrading of the Thames Estuary Marches.

The concept of allowing increases in road traffic is therefore untenable and other solutions need to be sought which needs a change in overall government thinking. The investment of £4bn to £6bn should be made in schemes that reduce road traffic rather than increase it.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Lower Thames Crossing would be a climate crime

A Lower Thames Crossing would be a climate crime states the Co-Chair of Kent Greens, Stuart Jeffery. Speaking at a Radio Kent debate, Stuart stated that the government proposals to spend £5bn to allow traffic to increase by 34% in the face of climate change reaching tipping point would be a climate crime. Stuart stated that there should be no new crossing and funds should be invested to reduce traffic instead.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "I am truly shocked at the plans to increase traffic crossing the river by 34%. Last year was the hottest year on record globally and the atmosphere already has 14% more CO2 in it than scientists consider safe. The climate is at a tipping point. Plans to increase traffic on this scale, and therefore CO2 emissions, constitute a climate crime.

"Rather than spending £5bn on roads that will simply increase traffic, we need to proper investment in rail both for people and for freight and we need to see investment in other forms of  public transport to reduce the problems at the Dartford crossing.

"Listening to people arguing about whether a new crossing should be at Dartford or Gravesend was soul destroying. People argued that economic growth would be damaged and that businesses would suffer. They are simply missing the point that the climate crisis is the most important threat that humanity faces. We must do everything in our power to halt runaway cataclysmic climate change."

Kent Greens call for support for NHS Reinstatement Bill

The day after the latest junior doctor's strike, Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens is calling for Kent MPs to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill being re-introduced to Parliament today by Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "The NHS is in a crisis of the government's own making. This week junior doctors have been striking as a result of Jeremy Hunt's imposition of an unacceptable contract, NHS debt is soaring and services are being privatised. The NHS cannot survive much more of this.

"I am calling on Kent MPs to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill that Green MP Caroline Lucas is reintroducing to Parliament today. This bill will halt and reverse the privatisation of the past 10 years and remove the expensive market system that the NHS operates within. It will ensure that government have a duty to provide health care.

"The NHS is a hugely valuable service that must be supported not dismantled as the government is doing."


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Kent Greens call for Jeremy Hunt to resign

Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens, has given her support for junior doctors in advance of the national strike this week[1]. She has highlighted the attempt by the Secretary of State to bully junior doctors by imposing the contract [2] exactly one year after Jeremy Hunt called for an end to bullying in the NHS [3].

She points out that the Secretary of State is on record calling for the NHS to be privatised [4] and for funding to be provided through an insurance scheme [5]. She has stated that Jeremy Hunt is not fit to run the NHS and that it is time for him to go. Mandy has joined junior doctors on the picket line on previous strikes.

Mandy Rossi, Co-Chair of Kent Greens: "I am appalled at the hypocrisy of Jeremy Hunt announcing that he was imposing a contract on junior doctors exactly one year after  he 'called time on NHS bullying'. Junior doctors are essential to a functioning NHS, they will go on to become leaders of the service. Like all NHS staff they need to be treated with respect.

"It is clear to all that Jeremy Hunt's agenda is to destroy the NHS and to pass it into private hands supported by an insurance scheme. He has gone on record with these views and he is therefore not a fit person to be in charge of the NHS.

"It is time for Mr Hunt to go before for he completely destroys the NHS and the good will that it runs on."



Tuesday, 2 February 2016

No second Thames crossing

Kent Greens have stated that a second Thames crossing will do nothing to tackle congestion in the long term, as it would facilitate increased road travel, known as ‘induced traffic’. We are heavily concerned about the wider impact on local residents and the environment.

Kent County Council Green Party councillor, Martin Whybrow, said: “Kent has some of the highest air pollution levels in the country, and developing further road networks does nothing to counter this.

“With air pollution in Kent responsible for hundreds of deaths every year, it’s time to stop pouring money into more polluting roads. We need cleaner, sustainable travel options that move people and freight away from vehicles, for the sake of people’s health and the sake of our environment “

The Green Party’s national transport spokesperson, Caroline Russell, added: “Instead of building more roads and encouraging more people to travel by car, we need policies which are fit for the 21st century. Our government just participated in securing a global deal to tackle climate change - in light of this commitment, our obsession with carbon-intensive travel has to end.”

Monday, 26 October 2015

Rural road deaths: we need a 40mph limit

2014 saw an 11% increase in people killed of seriously injured (KSI) on Kent's roads, a continued rise since 2012. This increase is more than double the national average of 5%. Maidstone saw the highest number of KSI at 74 and rural road deaths across Kent are reported to be 29. The Co-Chair of Kent Greens has called for the speed limits on rural roads to be reduced to 40mph.

Stuart Jeffery, Co-Chair of Kent Green Party: "With the second huge rise in a row in people killed or seriously injured in Kent it is time for Kent County Council to take definitive action rather than continuing to pander to the road lobby. 658 people killed or seriously injured is 658 too many and 29 people killed on rural roads is 29 too many. It is time to reduce the speed limit on rural roads to 40mph.

"If 29 people had died in a plane crash because the wings had fallen off we would not be debating whether the bolts should be checked regularly. There should be no debate on whether action to reduce road deaths should be taken we should simply take all the measures needed.

"But sadly the UK seems to have developed the same attitutude to cars as the US has to guns, an attitude that is driven by lobbyists and funded by government. With around £100 billion of subsidies to road transport plus the profits from manufacturing and fuel consumption it is no wonder that the lobbyists and government want more and faster traffic not less.

"Yet over 20,000 people are killed or seriously injured in the UK each year and over 50,000 die from air pollution from traffic. In Kent 658 were killed or seriously injured and there were an estimated 745 deaths from air pollution, mostly from traffic.

"Cars are not a right or a necessity, just as guns are not. Around 20% of households do not have a car and while access to services can be harder for them, they survive. Just maybe, if the government made it easier and more economical to travel without a car by diverting some of the road subsidies to methods of transport that don't kill thousands, life might get easier and safer?"


Saturday, 5 September 2015

Tragic road safety figures show urgent need for action

Kent Green Party has called for an urgent rethink on road safety in light of another set of very poor statistics that shows an increase for a second consecutive year in the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. An appalling 715 people were killed and serious injury in crashes on all roads in Kent and Medway, including those managed by Highways England, compared to 650 in 2013.

The party’s Kent County Council member, Martin Whybrow, says: "These tragic figures show that KCC's Casualty Reduction Strategy, which was introduced in 2013, fundamentally isn't working. It is far too narrow, with too much reliance on seemingly never-ending road awareness campaigns. We need to get serious about speed enforcement and KCC and Kent Police need to scrap their opposition to 20 mph zones in Kent. We are far behind many other counties in this.”

Nearly all of the Kent figures for 2014 are heading in the wrong direction, including those for pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists and children. KCC is on course to miss its 2020 casualty reduction targets by a wide margin.

"The line is basically, it is the road users' fault, as reflected in the press release that KCC has put out to accompany the figures,” says Councillor Whybrow. “KCC needs to do far more to help to reduce the likelihood of incidents and this means investment, creative road designs that take into account all users and support for reduced speed limits. I believe there is too much focus on reducing car journey times, to the detriment of proper road safety measures.”

Having spent the best part of two years to finally get a 20 mph limit on a road outside one of the local primary schools in his ward, Councillor Whybrow knows only too well the hurdles that need to be overcome. Tellingly, the majority of incidents are on 30 mph roads. All of the evidence shows that 20 mph zones are effective.

There is also a key role for central government, as contributing factors are likely to include cuts in police budgets and underinvestment in public transport, caused by the swingeing cuts.

"We need investment in dedicated cycle lanes and traffic calming measures, plus investment in public transport, not more lip-service, posters and leaflets. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget the hundreds of people that die in the county each year as a result of air pollution, with traffic a major contributor," he adds.

In 2014, there were a total of 4,618 collisions on Kent roads (excluding Medway). This includes motorways and trunk roads.

More details on the Kent road safety figures for 2014 can be found here:
 Published by Martin Whybrow on behalf of Kent Green Party.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Fracking infiltration is a bad case of political policing against the Greens

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that Kent Police planted officers in the audience at a fracking debate at Canterbury Christ Church University - despite a DI claiming that he had attended as an “interested stakeholder”, that Kent Police had requested the names of every attendee and that they were specifically concerned about the attendance of Green Party members.

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury, Stuart Jeffery, has condemned the police actions as political policing of the kind last seen at the climate camp in 2008 in Kingsnorth and will be writing to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury: “Despite assurances that the police actions against greens at Kingsnorth in 2008 would not be repeated, it is clear that Kent Police are continuing their campaign of political policing against the Greens.

“Planting undercover officers into the audience of a university debate simply because it is on an issue of interest to the Greens is frankly an abuse of power and a waste of resources.

“Their request to ask the university to break the law by providing a list of attendees is surely incitement? This may well be a criminal act under the Serious Crimes Act 2007.

“I will be asking the Independent Police Complaints Commission to consider this further.”

The notes from the police meeting reveal that:
1.    “Ch/Insp XXXXX requested that CI XXXXX and DI XXXX register to attend the university debate”
2.    The police action plan states: “Ascertain attendance numbers, guest list and security arrangements”
3.    Specific concern about the Green Party mentioned in email 19/11/14 16:49
It has been reported that CI Steve Barlow attended the debate "as an interested stakeholder."

Friday, 2 January 2015

Our KCC councillor’s end of year blog

Our KCC member for Hythe, Martin Whybrow, sends his end of year update, a year dominated by cuts, with plenty more to come. However, amid the gloom, there was progress with a number of local campaigns and a great surge in Green Party membership.

 Cuts upon cuts

While 2014 was pretty grim at County Hall, it is hard not to conclude that 2015 will be that much worse. The ‘transformation agenda’ – in other words, somehow trying to make the cuts imposed by central government – is in full swing, with a heavy commissioning aspect to it. The axe has recently been lifted from the county’s community wardens but, of course, there is the question of what is next, as the austerity cuts into front line services.

For a single opposition councillor such as myself, a key role is to communicate with residents, scrutinise the decisions, try to influence the prioritisation (particularly within a council such as KCC which is pro-business at all costs and often associates this with large-scale road building projects), give voice to Green Party beliefs and policies, and try to highlight the worst decisions.

A lot of the savings are false ones, as has already been shown in areas such as youth services and children’s centres. Meanwhile, this government has taken to playing cat and mouse with local authority funding, dangling it out of reach or moving it from one place to another and spinning it as new. This is the case with the £17 million promised by central government for flood defences in Kent but with the caveat that it won’t be available unless matched by the council, as though KCC or any other council for that matter has that amount lying around in this era.

Austerity bites… and then bites again

For a staid body such as the Local Government Association to come up with an illustration of future spending that it touts as ‘the graph of doom’ is telling ( Austerity on top of austerity means the consequences will hit ever more people, ever harder, combined with yet more job losses in the public sector. 2015 could well see the first council’s fail to provide statutory services. Don’t forget, government funding for local councils will be 40 per cent lower by May than it was in 2010, with a further 13 per cent to be cut in 2015 and with no end in sight after this.

The quest to meet the budget targets at KCC is playing out in a particularly worrying way at present. Buried away within a 200 page tome for a KCC cabinet meeting was the revelation that if it doesn’t meet its overall budget targets for 2014 then it is intending to grab any under-spend from the Kent Support & Assistance Service (KSAS) as a top-up. In a nutshell, KSAS is meant to provide help to Kent’s most impoverished residents and, having had this provided for two years by central government, Kent looks likely to have £2.691 million left over. This was initially touted as allowing KCC to extend the service as (typically) central government looks likely to pull the funding. I highlighted the issue and am applying pressure to try to ensure the decision is reversed.

It is hardly as though there isn’t the need. Any economic recovery is leaving behind large swathes of people and it is worrying as I circulate with residents and with voluntary groups and service providers to find common messages about the ever increasing number of people who are struggling. I am pleased to have been able to help the launch of the Shepway Food Bank but, of course, it is a damning indictment of our society that this is needed. At present, the Rainbow Centre’s Winter Shelter is in full swing, with all beds filled each evening.

Benefits cuts, sanctioning, zero hour contracts, public sector wage freezes, a chronic lack of social and affordable housing, the impact of the cuts on public services… certainly it is clear which parts of our society have been hardest hit by this government’s ideologically driven policies. And I find no area more worrying than social services, with legislative changes (the Social Care Act) and increasing demand combining with the budget cuts bringing the potential to cause the perfect storm.

What about the environment?

Meanwhile, KCC is currently coming up with its latest mission statement. It was disappointing but no surprise to find nothing of note on protecting Kent’s environment, countering climate crisis, reversing our biodiversity disaster, improving air quality, protecting our water supplies or making communities more resilient and sustainable.

I was pleased to be on hand when a 38 Degrees petition to ‘Keep Kent Frack-Free’, signed by more than 2800 local residents, was presented to David Brazier, cabinet member for transport and environment, on the steps of County Hall in November. It has triggered a debate in the next Transport and Environment Committee meeting but one issue is that local authorities have no legal power to make decisions related to fracking, bar on a case by case basis through the tightly controlled planning application process. Central government is keen to lay down the red carpet for the oil and gas companies and their backers, so doesn’t want county, district or parish councils in the way.

The topic of devolution in England has been rife in the last quarter of the year, with the County Councils Network among those weighing in, calling for much greater choice related to council tax and business rates, budgets (including removing ring-fencing) and services. However, Whitehall relinquishing power, whatever the shape of next year’s government, is hard to imagine.

I’ve spoken in full council and committees and written on many of the above topics. Of late, I’ve also led the call for greater transparency, after details about members’ attendance at meetings were arbitrarily removed from the KCC website.

Local issues and projects

I’ve also worked hard on lots of local issues, with this taking at least half of my time. I grabbed the chance for Hythe to pilot a road safety scheme, finally secured the 20 mph limit for School Road in Saltwood, helped residents with their traffic concerns, from West Hythe Road to the west, Seabrook to the east, and Elham to the north. And Hythe now has its own Speedwatch equipment for residents to use. After a lot of perseverance, I’ve also finally secured a paid-for study to assess and propose remedial action for long-standing flooding issues in Hythe.

I’ve also been working with the Hythe Town Team group of traders on a number of projects to try to boost trade and also with local schools on other projects, including at Brockhill School related to their farm education programme for primary schools and to try to extend funding for an excellent project run by local schools to support children at risk of being excluded.

I’ve also been pleased to be able to support a number of local arts projects, including JimJam Art’s Happiness Bank which brought a lot of smiles to Folkestone in February, Leigh Mullay’s terrific herring gull mural in Folkestone, and Hart’s inaugural exhibition of work by Hythe and Romney Marsh artists at the Tin Tabernacle in Hythe in December.

Other reasons to be cheerful

Other reasons to be cheerful? Well, Shepway Green Party has mirrored county and country trends with a doubling in members during the year. We’ve more and more youngsters joining us and it was great to launch Shepway Young Greens during the year and to have the chair of the group, 19 year-old Jasmine Heywood, as a by-election candidate in October. She will be among our great roster of candidates for the local elections in May, when I am sure that we will gain additional breakthroughs here in Shepway, as we provided the enlightened and energetic option to the traditional parties.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Residents petition Kent County Council to Keep Kent Frack Free

The Government is offering for sale licenses for onshore oil and gas exploration across the whole of Kent1. The licenses would allow extraction of fossil fuels by controversial and environmentally damaging methods including fracking, and coal bed gasification. But local residents are calling on Kent County Council to protect the countryside by ensuring that no oil or gas exploration is permitted in Kent.
A petition organized by Tim Valentine, the Green Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Faversham and Mid Kent at next year’s general election, will be submitted to Kent County Council at County Hall, Maidstone on Tuesday 25th November. The petition, signed by more than 2,800 people, demands that the Council should not permit oil and gas exploration in Kent because the industrial development of the countryside cannot be sustainable. Under Council procedures petitions with over 2500 signatures trigger a debate by a KCC committee.
Tim Valentine said: “Development of shale gas and oil would industrialize the Garden of England, and increase heavy goods traffic on Kent’s already-congested roads.  Production from wells is short-lived - so many wells must be drilled.  The industry uses massive quantities of clean drinking water but Kent’s water supplies are already severely stressed. It would produce large quantities of polluted water which cannot be disposed of safely. Development of shale gas will cause planning blight, and reduce the value of people’s homes. Instead of extracting more fossil fuels which damage our children’s future, Kent County Council should be encouraging renewable energy to meet our present needs”.
Martin Whybrow, Green Party councilor for Hythe, said: “This petition shows the huge concern among residents about this form of fossil fuel extraction. I do not feel that nearly enough consideration is being given to the strong evidence from around the globe that this is high risk. It is also clear that many experts feel it will have no impact on reducing residents’ energy bills. I also worry that there will be no ‘localism’ in the decision-making, with this pro-fracking government ready to steamroller through the applications, cheered on by energy companies and business speculators.”  
1. New onshore licensing round opens A map of onshore licenses and prospective areas is available here:
2. It is planned to submit the petition at County Hall at 2pm on Tuesday 25th November.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

BBC's by-election debate sparks new call for Green inclusion in General Election debate

In the wake of the BBC's broadcast of the debate with candidates in the Rochester and Stood by-election, which saw overwhelming opinion that Clive Gregory, the Green Party Candidate, had won the hearts and minds of viewers, Kent Greens have written again to the BBC to demand inclusion in next year's General Election Leaders' debate.

Over 200,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Greens to be in the televised leaders' debates next year. Recent polling has put the Green Party ahead of the Lib Dems.

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party and Candidate for Canterbury, commented: "I have been in correspondence with the BBC over the past few weeks as exclusion from next year's debate is fundamentally undemocratic. In the wake of the response from last night's debate, I will be stepping up the pressure from Kent.

"Last night it became clear that being able to get our distinctive message across in a televised debate demonstrated to the public just how in tune our thinking is with theirs. The response of the audience, people on Twitter, and on the phone-in on Radio Kent afterwards overwhelmingly showed that Clive Gregory was the best candidate with the best ideas.

"The Green Party is soaring in the polls, regularly ahead of the Lib Dems, despite our low level of national media coverage.

"Being able to have a voice in politics is central to a democracy. Until our leader can take part in next year's debate, democracy will not be served."

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Huge surge in Kent for Green Party membership

Kent Green Party Chair and candidate for Canterbury has welcomed a huge surge in Green Party membership in the county, including a single week in October which saw a 7% rise in just 7 days. The party membership in Kent has grown by almost 60% since January. Canterbury has seen a 36% rise in the past 3 months alone where the Greens achieved 18% of the vote in the city putting them in contention for the Parliamentary seat in 2015.

Across the UK membership has risen by 45%[1] and last week's Ashcroft Poll on General Election voting intention put the Greens ahead of the Lib Dems[2]. Across the UK, Green Party membership has reached 30,000.

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Greens and Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury: "While the national media focuses on and therefore drives the rise of UKIP, it is clear that the Green Party is rapidly growing and gaining support. This is despite that refusal of national media to give us a level playing field.

"Membership in Kent has rise steeply this year and is up almost 60% in nine months. In Canterbury we have seen a huge surge in the past three months alone, with membership rising by 36% since June.

"In Canterbury we achieved 18% of the vote in the EU election, far ahead of the Lib Dems, neck and neck with Labour and just behind the Tories and UKIP. This puts us in a great position to win our first parliamentary seat in Kent in 2015."


Friday, 24 October 2014

KCC short-changing Kent’s poorest residents

Kent Green Party is calling on Kent County Council (KCC) to honour its obligations to support the county’s most vulnerable and impoverished residents. The council is threatening to take away money allocated for people in dire need and use this to cover overspending elsewhere.

When pressed on this issue by Green Party KCC member for Hythe, Martin Whybrow, at today’s full council meeting, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, John Simmonds, admitted that KCC would only consider rolling over the underspend on the council’s Kent Support & Assistance Service (KSAS) if the authority as a whole achieved underspending of at least this amount.

KSAS provides support for people having serious difficulties managing their income or facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency or crisis. It provides essential home items such as groceries (for up to seven days), clothing, young child and baby food, milk and nappies, furniture, bedding, and electrical appliances plus help with utilities (gas and electric, for up to seven days) and emergency travel arrangements.

KSAS is funded by the Local Welfare Assistance Fund (LWAF), a budget allocated to local authorities since 2013 by central government to support people in urgent need. The fund was created under the 2012 Welfare Reform Act to replace Social Fund Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans, previously administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

KCC is predicting an underspend on KSAS of £2.691 million and, as Councillor Whybrow has argued, this should be rolled over to extend the service for at least another year (it is unclear whether there will be any additional central government money to support the scheme beyond the current year). Some voluntary agencies in the county have been critical of KSAS, arguing that it has been hard to access and has placed too many obstacles on claimants, but KCC has previously stated that it has been cautious because of the uncertainty of future funding. Now it is proposing to take the predicted £2.691 million to prop up other departments that have not made their budget targets.

Councillor Whybrow says: “This money should clearly be ring-fenced for the purpose for which it was intended. But it is clear that KCC is eyeing up the fund as a means to cover shortfalls elsewhere. This is at a time when many people in Kent need help more than ever before, because of the increasing levels of inequality.”

Links: KSAS

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Rochester and Strood by-election candidate

The Green Party's candidate for the expected by-election in Rochester and Strood has been selected.
The candidate, Clive Gregory, has lived in Stoke on the Hoo peninsular for 22 years, and is a freelance musician and sound engineer by trade. Clive also runs the local PA hire business, Clive Sound. Clive joined the Green Party because of disillusionment with the other political parties and worry about the direction of the country.

Clive says:

"Like many, I've gradually become disillusioned with mainstream politics. The takeover of politics and politicians by "too big to fail" banks and corporations has got to stop.

"I believe that the current structure of the financial system lies at the root of most of the world's problems as it drives the relentless 'more, more, more' machine, which in turn produces unsustainable demand for materials and goods. It is nothing short of a suicide mission for the planet to continue in this way.

"It is a suicide mission which is taking the rest of the natural world with us, with 60% of UK species in decline and a 50% decline in wildlife globally in the last 40 years. This feels very prominent locally right now with the potential loss of the Lodge Hill nightingales and all the other rare species the area supports.

"Additionally this rollercoaster of boom and bust, driven by our politicians' dependence on economic growth, does not in reality make us any better off. The Green Party promises to put our future security first with a minimum wage that is enough to build a life on; affordable homes; accessible local shops; a fully funded, nationally run health service we can be proud of; and a parliament which is answerable to us.

"The Green Party has policies to improve our lives massively in all these areas and many more; all within the context of protecting the natural ecosystems that support us. All it requires is joined up thinking and the political will.

"The Medway Greens are a genuine local grassroots party making the best use of minimal funds to effect change. The national Green Party is funded solely by its growing number of members which hit 20,000 this week. This contrasts with the huge corporate funding for UKIP and the Tories. While UKIP love to portray themselves as outside the current political elite, they are in fact at the heart of the establishment. Only the Green Party can be trusted to bring about the changes we need".

Clive will be out on the streets talking to voters over the coming weeks.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Give youth a voice in Shepway!

Our excellent candidate for the upcoming Folkestone Harvey West by-election is 19 year-old Jasmine Heywood. She is the chair of Shepway Young Greens and would be a great addition to the District and Town councils. If you can help with her campaign, please contact out election coordinator, David Horton (

Jasmine is a former Folkestone School for Girls student who, through Shepway Green Party, has become involved with campaigning in local politics. She is keen to give a voice and engage with young people, and present a more positive alternative to the other political parties.

Among other things, Jasmine is carrying out a survey of local residents to help us to set our priorities for taking action locally. You can also fill out our survey online via this website (see front page).

Jasmine feels that more needs to be done to address road safety. In particular she is interested in making cycling a more accessible and safer mode of transport as it acts as a healthier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly way of getting around than any other. Campaigning for 20mph zones around schools and introducing more cycle lanes would play a vital role in achieving this.

Jasmine is also involved with the Local Works campaign to implement a tax on supermarket profits, which would then be reinvested in local business and the community, a similar scheme of which is currently in place in Northern Ireland. She is also keen to ensure that local residents have access to decent and affordable parking, and that the expansion of the Folkestone West Station does not infringe upon that.

If you would like to get involved in the campaign to elect Jasmine (the by-election is 23rd October), we’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Lodge Hill Decision – Disgraceful Hypocrisy by Medway Council

Medway Green Party has accused Medway Council of hypocrisy in passing plans for housebuilding at Lodge Hill  and called on local people to contact the Secretary of State.
Medway Green Party members have expressed extreme disappointment in Medway Council’s decision to approve the plans for 5000 houses at Lodge Hill. The party is also highly critical of the conflict between this decision and previous arguments made in Medway Council’s campaign against an airport in the Hoo penisular.
Trish Marchant, parliamentary candidate for Gillingham and Rainham comments:
“Only last week, Medway Council Leader, Rodney Chambers, was celebrating the Council’s anti-airport campaign for stopping (in his own words) “mass destruction of habitat and wildlife that could never be replaced”.  How is this any different? The hypocrisy of Medway Council is disgraceful!”
The Lodge Hill site has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as it supports the UK’s largest nightingale population which could be destroyed if the development goes ahead.  Campaigners claim that overruling the SSSI would set a dangerous precedent for many other SSSI’s in the country.
Medway Green Party is urging local people to continue their support for the nightingales by contacting the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, who has overall responsibility for housing.
Clive Gregory, parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood says:
“So much for Medway Council putting local democracy first; these plans were opposed by the overwhelming majority of those consulted, a factor which Medway Council completely disregarded. There is still a chance to stop this unique site being destroyed, however, if we contact Eric Pickles, Secretary of State, who has the power to overrule this decision. Please ask Eric Pickles to call in this disastrous plan”.
RSPB are heading a campaign to contact the Secretary of State regarding the Lodge Hill decision, called “Ask Eric Pickles to Step In”.  This is available on the following website address:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Alarm at CQC findings in East Kent

Green Party Councillor and Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Thanet South, Ian Driver, has expressed his alarm at the publication today of the Care Quality Commission Inspection Report into East Kent University Hospitals Trust which has given the Trust an overall rating of inadequate.

Said Driver “whilst I applaud the excellent work and dedication of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff at the QEQM Margate, I am astonished to learn that there is a divide between senior managers and frontline staff and astounded to hear that there is a culture of bullying and harassment at the Trust. These revelations suggest to me that there are extremely serious problems within the senior management team at the Trust”

I am also extremely alarmed by the reported lack of “appropriately trained staff across the three sites” and the Inspectors concerns about poor staffing of emergency departments and hospital wards at night.

I appreciate that the Trust has a tight budget, but surely senior managers should be getting the basics right such has having enough trained staff in A&E and sufficient ward cover at night”.

The CQC is so concerned about the Trust that it has recommended it be placed in “special measures” allowing for extra support to be brought into the organisation to overcome its current difficulties. Driver said “I fully support this proposal. Its clear to me on reading the report that frontline medical staff have been badly let down by their senior management team who are clearly struggling. Special measures will hopefully get to the bottom of these failures and perhaps allow for the introduction of new managers who can ensure that the Trust runs a more effective service providing first rate patient care”.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Fracking in Kent will meet with stiff opposition from the Greens

Kent Greens have reacted with dismay at today's news that more fracking licences are to be granted. Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party has called for energy security to be met by renewables and has vowed to step up opposition to any fracking in Kent. The Green Party is the only party opposed to fracking.

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party: "The Government is charging headlong into environmental disaster. The evidence from fracking sites across the globe demonstrates just how bad this technology is and to claim that it will be different in the UK is frankly ridiculous.

"The government has acknowledged that fracking won't reduce our fuel bills and if we want energy security then we need to be tapping into the huge amount of renewable potential that this country has.

"This summer, global temperatures are breaking records once again. Climate change is the greatest threat to mankind so we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground where they belong rather than increasing extraction.

"We will be watching closely where the licences are to be granted and stepping up our opposition to any fracking here in Kent."



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Change the approach to Defence

Kent Greens have written to the new Defence Secretary and the new Minister for Defence, Michael Fallon and Julian Brazier, congratulating them on their appointments and calling on them to bring a new direction to the government. They have called for an end to Trident and a reversal of the military intervention approach to foreign wars without a request from the UN.

Stuart Jeffery Chair of Kent Green Party: "Spending £25 billion on an unnecessary and devastating weapon of mass destruction is frankly obscene. This money should be used for socially and environmentally useful projects, such as renewable energy, public transport or improving health care. I have no doubt that the Kent MPs will continue with the disgraceful replacement programme but they must be challenged to reverse the decision.

"Military intervention should be last resort and only when requested by the UN. I want Julian Brazier to take a radical new approach to defence, one that doesn't have aggression at its heart."

Amelie Boleyn, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Sevenoaks: " Michael Fallon has an opportunity to change the way the UK is seen in the world. We want the UK to be seen as a nation that promotes peace rather than war. While I have no doubt the he will remain committed to trying to police the world, I hope that he will come to agree that this outdated colonial attitude must come to an end. Rather than promoting our military strength, which can only breed more fear, we must learn the lessons from our colonial past and work with the UN and INGOs in an exclusive peacekeeping capacity, setting a progressive example as world leaders for peace, not war"


Dear Mr Fallon and Mr Brazier,

Congratulations on your appointments as Defence Secretary and Minister in the Ministry of Defence.

We are aware of Mr Brazier's military background and hope that you will be able to reflect on those experiences in your new role. Given Mr Brazier's knowledge of the military and Mr Fallon's standing in the Conservative Party we hope that you will be able to influence the government on the need for a new approach for defence, one that is less aggressive and not focused on direct military intervention.

In particular we call on you to reverse your previous support for Trident and to now champion its demise so that the funds devoted to this outdated, unnecessary and devastating weapon system are channelled into socially and environmentally useful schemes.

We also call on you to reverse your previous support for foreign military intervention, unless requested by the UN.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party
Amelie Boleyn, Green Party PPC for Sevenoaks

Monday, 14 July 2014

Message of Support to the Fire Brigade Union

Kent Green Party have sent a message of support to the Fire Brigade Union at the start of their strike against the increase in the age of retirement. The government want to increase the retirement age to 60 which the FBU deem as unsafe. Kent Greens have

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party: "It is very clear that this is the latest in a long line of ideological attacks on the public sector and one that affects the safety of the service.

"Kent Fire and Rescue Service provide an excellent and vital service to Kent but our public sector services have, for decades, been systematically attacked. Workers are bearing the brunt of this, and are being expected to pay the price for an economic crisis not of their making.

"We are proud to be able to express our solidarity with the workers on strike who have done this as a last resort. We hope their action is successful."


Letter to the FBU 15th July 2014

Dear Mr Simmons,

On behalf of Kent Green Party, I wanted to drop you a short note to express our solidarity with your strike action.

We are disgusted by the approach of the government against all sections of the public sector and we have been supporting recent actions across the country. The latest attempt to increase retirement ages is simply another attack on the public sector and as you rightly point out, it impacts on the safety of the Fire Brigade.

It is very clear that you provide an excellent and vital service to Kent but our public sector services have, for decades, been systematically attacked. Workers are bearing the brunt of this, and are being expected to pay the price for an economic crisis not of their making.

We recognise that going on strike is the option of last resort. We sincerely hope that your action succeeds in defending your pensions and working conditions – all of which are vital if we are to protect the integrity of the service.

Kind regards,

Stuart Jeffery
Chair of Kent Green Party

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Whitstable Job Centre under threat

Canterbury Greens will be supporting the PCS protest on Friday at the threatened closure of Whitstable Job Centre.

Pat Marsh, Canterbury Green Party: "Whitstable Job Centre is there to provide a key service to people in need. It has already seen its hours reduced and closure will simply make it harder to access and more likely that people miss essential appointments.

"This appears to be the latest in a long line of attacks by the government on the poor and vulnerable in our society."

Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party: "I have written to the PCS expressing our support for their campaign and to the Job Centre management calling for the Whitstable centre to remain open. We have to ensure that essential services are available and accessible to all who need them."

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

MEP dismayed at Dungeness announcement

Keith Taylor MEP has responded to news that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has approved changes to key safety standards at Dungeness B nuclear power station in Kent.

EDF, the energy company operating Dungeness, had applied to the ONR to relax the safety limits for graphite bricks inside the reactor, which are vital for safety.

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for Kent and South East England, responded to the announcement:

"I am dismayed that the ONR has approved EDF’s application to lower key safety standards at Dungeness in order to prolong the life of the reactor.

"This is particularly worrying as Dungeness has had a number of unplanned shutdowns in recent months due to safety concerns.

"Rather than re-writing the rules in order to keep this unsafe and expensive form of energy production online for a few more years, we should be focussing our efforts on the switch to a truly sustainable energy future – one which focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and which would deliver more jobs, faster carbon reductions and a fundamentally more democratic energy system fit for the future."

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