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News Release

 

For Immediate Release            22 April 2010

How Green is Your Candidate?

Parliamentary Candidates outline their position on key environmental issues for Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth (BHFOE) has polled the candidates from the four main parties contesting the Parliamentary seats in Brighton & Hove to see how seriously they take environmental issues [1].  BHFOE asked each of them 10 questions on topics covering climate change, transport, waste and landscape and biodiversity [2].

BHFOE is pleased that all candidates who responded showing a personal commitment to the environment [3].  However, Juliet Williams (Lib-Dem PPC for Brighton Kemptown) did not reply, while Simon Kirby (Conservative PPC for Brighton Kemptown) declined to answer the questions and instead just repeated national policy issues.  BHFOE is particularly disappointed in Simon Kirby’s response given that he could win this seat.

There were some notable differences in those that did respond with Conservative candidates unwilling to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport over roadbuilding.  Mike Weatherley (Conservative PPC Hove and Portslade) also did not want to commit to backing a 7 days a week railway service.  Conservative candidates were also unwilling to back a moratorium on incineration but so too was Celia Barlow (Labour PPC Hove & Portslade).

Overall, all candidates supported Brighton & Hove becoming a Low Carbon City and to big carbon cuts by 2050, although Charlotte Vere (Conservative PPC Brighton Pavilion) did not say she supported a 42% cut in carbon emissions by 2020.  The Green Party candidates all said that greater cuts in carbon emissions would be needed.

All candidates supported the city becoming an urban biosphere (where biodiversity is better integrated with development) and would lobby to ensure adequate funding for the new South Downs National Park Authority.  They also supported the re-opening of the Uckfield – Lewes railway.

The answers to the open-ended question as to what is the most significant change you would like to see in Brighton & Hove, were as follows:

In Hove & Portslade both Celia Barlow and Mike Weatherley wanted to see environmental industries supported and nurtured.  Ian Davey wanted transport tackled, while Paul Elgood wanted more renewable energy (as he is opposed to nuclear energy).

In Brighton Pavilion, Charlotte Vere wanted to improve dialogue between the Council and community groups.  Caroline Lucas wanted to make Brighton & Hove a demonstration city on sustainable housing, while Nancy Platts wanted to focus on solving the city’s transport problems.  Berni Millam wanted more renewable energy.

In Brighton Kemptown, the two candidates Simon Burgess and Ben Duncan both focussed on the need to solve the city’s transport problems.

Alison Walters, coordinator of BHFOE said:

 “We are pleased to have got such a positive response to our survey.  However, it is disappointing that Simon Kirby declined to answer our questions.  People have a right to know where he stands on these important issues before casting their vote.  Merely repeating national Conservative policy does not help people understand what he’ll do for the city.  We can only assume that he doesn’t believe that the new National Park, improving the city’s train services, reducing dependency on incineration and the need to increase recycling and composting are important enough for him to comment on.

“From our survey it is clear that all candidates who answered the questions take the environment seriously.  This is good news for the city.  Our concern lies with the apparent contradictions with some of the responses.  Without a prioritisation of investment in walking, cycling and public transport we cannot see how we will cut our carbon emissions which all candidates agreed we needed to do.  Equally without a moratorium on incineration, there is a danger that it will undermine recycling and composting, which again most candidates said they supported.

“Whoever wins on 6 May, we trust that they will stick to their promises to press these important issues in Westminster and make a real difference for the city.”

A full list of the questions asked together with a summary of the candidates responses can be seen on our General Election Page

ENDS

 Notes to editors:

 [1]   The prospective parliamentary candidates polled were from the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrat Party.  These were chosen as being those parties currently represented on the City Council and the ones most likely to win some or all of the seats in Brighton & Hove.

 [2]   The questions can be found on our General Election Page:

[3]    Summary of responses to the questions by candidates can be found on our General Election Page      Key: Y – yes, (No) – Brackets indicate that BHFOE deduced candidates didn’t agree with the statement but didn’t actually say no explicitly, * – Responses to the open ended question are in summary only.  The full responses are available on request

Contact:        Alison Walters 01273 766643  or  07779 634710
   
                        Chris Todd  01273 553044  or  07889 302229

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