Bradford Council meets this afternoon to debate and vote on its budget.
The Green councillors - myself and Martin Love - have tabled a substantial amendment to Labour's proposed budget calling for multi-million pound green investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy projects.
This is our response to the ‘climate emergency’ declared by Bradford Council only last month (as a result of our motion to Council).
Our Green budget proposals have been assessed as “robust” by senior Council finance officials.
We are proposing a range of multi-million pound investments over the next three years to help ‘future-proof’ Bradford in relation to the challenges of climate change.
The far-reaching proposals include £4m of capital investment in solar power for the District’s schools and city centre and a range of other energy efficiency projects that will yield decades of revenue savings for the Council. Half of this investment will help create a 'Climate Fund' to kickstart low carbon investment.
We also want to set up a Council-run ‘Solar Together’ scheme, similar to the successful project recently launched in London, to bring together residents and businesses who wish to invest in clean energy for their properties at discount prices.
We also want the Council to invest £1.5m in Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) for the Council’s transport fleet over the next three years, as part of the Council’s annual £3m rolling fleet replacement programme. This will have the added benefit of reducing the Council’s annual fuel bill (last time I looked, this was around £5m annually). We also want the Council to invest £1m in 400+ electric vehicle charging points to encourage Bradford residents to switch to low carbon travel and help reduce air pollution in our urban areas.
We have proposed to invest an additional £1.4m in traffic calming measures to help communities blighted by speeding motorists, including investment in new traffic-calmed ‘Home Zones’ wherever they are practicable. We have called for an extra £1.5m for much-needed pavement repairs and other measures to encourage walking and cycling, as well as an additional £600k to provide replacement street trees and green barrier planting near schools to help mitigate the worst impacts of air pollution on local families.
We have also allocated additional resources (£150k) for the Council’s Street Cleaning and fly-tipping services.
These proposals are far-reaching and fully costed. Bradford Council has declared a climate emergency and now needs to put its money where its mouth is. Action always speaks louder than words, and it is time for us to act to future-proof our District in relation to the climate challenges ahead.
Bradford Council will be investing over £500m in capital schemes across the District over the next four years, and we want much more of that investment to go where it is needed most – the creation of a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. We need to radically change the way we invest in energy, housing and transport, and our proposals today are a first step on that long-term transition to a low-carbon society.