Our Green Councillors are the official opposition on Labour-led Lambeth Council. They work tirelessly all year round for a safer, fairer, greener community for us all.
We achieve results and hold the Labour administration to account, speaking up on scrutiny committees and at Full Council meetings.
Please read our pledges for a better, fairer Lambeth for all and vote Green on 5th May 2022.
Lambeth Council needs a ‘Directorate for a Sustainable Lambeth’ to ensure the borough reaches carbon neutrality by 2030. We believe that every council decision and scheme should be assessed against its impact on the environment and subject to a Council Carbon Budget which accurately reflects its whole life cost.
Planning would be kept within this new directorate and would promote retrofit first developments, green travel and living initiatives. We wish to see Lambeth at the forefront of delivering innovation in the UK, building an ecosystem of forward-thinking architects, building firms and technology partners in the borough to help us drive to net zero by 2030. We need to look to a future beyond 2030 where our decisions and developments mean zero emissions being released into the atmosphere.
The Polluter Pays Principle should be applied to all planning applications, taking into account whole life carbon costs of developments. Explicitly this means both embodied carbon in the fabric of the building and operational running costs including all scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. We would also end carbon offsetting schemes as this is invariably a get out of jail free card for developers keen to prioritise short term profits over long-term environmental costs. Conversely, we would incentivise businesses who help mitigate against climate and ecological breakdown on the sites they develop and incorporate into their business model.
The Polluter Pays model would also be applied to licensing. By engaging with local businesses, officers can encourage businesses to vastly reduce the amount of plastic they use. In the case of single use plastics, the borough ban should be enforced by adding a premium to re-visits to businesses.
Homes for Lambeth is failing residents.
Lambeth requires a programme to build new social homes that doesn’t require the need to demolish people’s existing homes or tear local communities apart.
We will develop a People’s Housing Plan which will explore alternatives to demolition, such as infill on existing estates, supporting community land trusts and investing to bring empty properties back in to use. We will compulsory purchase empty properties starting with those that have sat empty the longest. We would also urgently refurbish empty council owned homes and support the homeless in to secure housing.
The council has identified over 1,239 privately owned properties that have been empty for more than six months, and 2,682 empty properties of all tenures, in addition to 416 empty properties owned by the council itself. To date, Lambeth has only initiated twelve Order for Sale proceedings, the resulting revenue raised is just £197,429.25. We propose an end to this approach, and to start to compulsory purchase empty properties, funded by loans from the Public Works Loans Board which would be paid back through the proceeds from rental of those properties at London Living Rent levels. These properties would be held outside the Housing Revenue Account.
There are currently 421 empty council homes which need repairing and occupation by our residents desperate for secure housing. Some homes have been empty for years. Many of these are on Lambeth’s estates that Labour have earmarked for demolition. We need to see a renewed effort by the council to ensure that the turnaround time to bring these homes back into use is minimised. The amount of revenue lost through unclaimed rent, and more importantly for our residents, the loss of secure council housing, needs to be addressed urgently.
Our Plan will be led by the concept of Retrofit First in line with the latest industry thinking and the action plan set out by London Councils. We will provide incentives and expertise to encourage homes of every type in Lambeth to carry out retrofits to reach the target of 20,000 per year. Our goal is retrofit and insulate all homes by 2030.
We believe that affordable, secure and comfortable accommodation is a basic human right and we will continue to champion the voices of residents fighting for this right.
We want to see living conditions improved for people in the rented sector by making sure landlords are held accountable to a minimum standard for providing safe and comfortable accommodation.
For social housing to adhere to these standards, a radical overhaul of the Council’s property repairs, and maintenance service is needed. We propose to bring this service in house over a sensible time period, providing employment, training and apprenticeship schemes to young people. Our initiative would crossover with the People’s Housing Plan and building a green economy around property and homes in the borough.
Meanwhile, landlords providing accommodation that does not meet the minimum standards will be held to account and fined. A licensing scheme for landlords would be put in place and persistent offenders will have their license revoked.
Finally, renter’s rights should be enhanced with rent control powers, no-fault evictions abolished and support for renters who wish to set up co-operatives to buy out landlords.
Lambeth Council declared a Climate & Ecological Emergency in January 2019 following a Green group motion, committing to a corporate carbon zero target by 2030, and to facilitate a carbon zero emissions plan across the borough through a Climate Action Plan.
The existing plan will be updated to include:
- Ending the demolition of six council estates and smaller sites such as Denby Court
- Retrofitting and insulating all homes
- Working with all businesses, organisations, community groups and residents to ensure the 2030 target is met
- Including local energy production schemes
- Greening of the borough
- Ending high rise developments
- Measures to decrease private car use
- Rewards for businesses that cut waste
- A move towards zero waste targets for residents.
Lambeth needs a radical rethink about transport in the borough to achieve carbon zero by 2030. There are many opportunities to improve transport for the better, freeing the borough of congestion, stress and delays of moving around.
Drastically reducing the number of cars on Lambeth’s streets
Our vision for Lambeth involves a whole borough/holistic approach to make it safer and more attractive to walk, cycle, scoot or use public transport in Lambeth.
To do this we would introduce low-traffic neighbourhoods as well as promoting schemes for car-sharing amongst neighbours. We would also ensure fully segregated cycle tracks on main roads; only then will it truly feel safe enough for people to choose to walk, cycle or scoot instead of drive. We would also invest in secure bike storage, introducing many more bike hangar spaces for cyclists to store their bikes, and introduce cargo bike parking areas in town centres.
We will incorporate the insight of Disability Advice Service Lambeth, TfL, car clubs and ‘Wheels For Wellbeing’. We will ensure Blue badge exemption and Disabled Freedom Pass applications are straightforward.
Introducing a Workplace Parking Levy
Lambeth is currently the 9th highest borough in London for people commuting in from other places in London. According to the 2011 census, 21,491 people drive a car or a van into Lambeth with another 1,110 coming in as passengers whilst there are an estimated 8,900 (non central) and 1300 (central) private non-residential employee parking spaces in Lambeth. We would introduce a workplace parking levy which would be charged to businesses with four or more parking spaces in the borough in order to reduce the number of people driving into Lambeth for work.
Tackling rat-running by the introduction of ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ in order to prioritise walking and cycling and ‘access only’ for residents with cars. Therefore diverting traffic away from these areas.
Improving bus services and supporting walking buses to schools
We know that many residents rely on their cars for everyday activities like shopping or the school-run. We would reduce reliance on private cars by improving local buses and promoting alternative options such as walking buses to schools.
Working with other local authorities to lobby for policy change
By working with other local authorities we would campaign for cheaper travel on rail networks and lobby for the extension of the ULEZ to the whole of Lambeth and beyond.
Investing in new and sustainable initiatives for the benefit of Lambeth’s residents
For instance, exploring the loan of electric pedicabs and side-by-side cycles in our parks. We would explore innovative new ideas such as the introduction of solar panelled cycle paths as has been trialled in the Netherlands. We would ensure all street furniture has a solar panel element and encourage projects such as The Edible Bus Stop which can transform our public spaces into greener and more pleasant places to be.
Making Lambeth’s streets more pleasant and environmentally friendly by planting more trees & shrubs, kerbside parklets, increase bench provision and introducing Green Screens between the pavement and the road on all roads that are wide enough
Lambeth’s aim was to plant 1000 street trees by 2022. This is less than 50 per ward and is woefully inadequate. As Highway Authority for 340 kilometres of roads in the borough we will be more ambitious than this. We see those 340 km of roads as a resource and would widen pavements where possible and would use them as a space to plant many more trees and other greenery.
The further replacement of the council vehicle fleet with non-polluting vehicles
All new vehicles procured would be electric where possible. We would also provide a sufficient number of electric charging points, on the roads rather than the pavement, for those who do need cars for mobility issues as well as providing an electric power point in Lambeth’s parks for ice-cream vans
Creating ‘walking routes’
Creating ‘walking routes’ immediately with maps available both digitally via an app and through paper copies, guiding the walker through side roads and green spaces - similar to blue signed cycling routes. This, in conjunction with creating more pedestrian crossings on main roads would make walking safer and more accessible.
Pedestrians need to feel comfortable and safe; the widening of pavements, introduction of neighbourhood spaces, resident car-only access roads, more trees and other planting will all help to improve the walking experience. As well as this we would ensure safer junctions to cross roads with markings on pavements for the hard of seeing and audible warnings at traffic lights.
We need to take urgent action to tackle the health crisis of polluted air in Lambeth by introducing high air quality targets and extensive monitoring across the borough. We need to reduce pollution from combustion engine vehicles and address Lambeth Council’s own contributions to air pollution including ending waste incineration and unnecessary development.
All council contracts for new buildings and services will include clean air clauses.
We will lobby the Mayor of London for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole of Lambeth.
We will defend weekly bin collections and introduce free regular collections of bulky waste with more action to deter fly tipping. More regular street cleaning and community engagement in keeping local areas free of litter will be promoted.
We will be transparent and honest about recycling, fly-tipping and waste statistics to set better targets in each area.
We will introduce bins on all Lambeth's streets and in parks which allow for recycling.
Lambeth’s green spaces are the lungs of Lambeth and provide an essential environment for both our physical, emotional, and mental health, and a habitat for wildlife. They are our common responsibility, and we will protect them from over commercialisation. The community will have a full say in what does and does not take place on them.
We will encourage and facilitate where possible the rewilding of open spaces; the use of verges by the local community to grow food, shrubs, and flowers; make more land available for allotments and community gardens. Trees will be automatically protected to ensure the canopy of mature trees is not compromised by unnecessary felling.
Planning preference will be given to small, independent businesses, and we will put a greater emphasis on local procurement for Lambeth Council’s services.
We will work with local supermarkets and businesses to make Lambeth’s high streets the first “Single-Use-Plastic-Free” roads in London, and lobby food packaging businesses to end the use of unnecessary plastic packaging.
We ask residents and visitors to shop local and support local businesses.
Repair workshops, community cafes, and the library of things are three examples of popular, locally led enterprises that encourage a repair, recycle and reuse approach to help counteract the consumer led, “throwaway” economy.
They provide the opportunity to build skills and provide training that can help participants gain employment (including work experience for young people not in school). They also bring communities together, and help address key concerns, including around mental health.
We will continue to provide support for these types of spaces that cost very little, but give so much social value, and help reduce waste and carbon emissions.
Both the NHS, and Social Care, need more money. For too long our NHS and Social Care staff have not received either the remuneration or respect they deserve. These essential, frontline services can only function if they are both properly resourced.
We will continue to support the NHS (Reinstatement) Bill - to return us to a fully publicly owned and provided NHS - universal, comprehensive, free at the point of need but paid for by all of us, according to our incomes.
The NHS is based on the principle that need, not wealth, should determine the health care we get. We back the same principle for Social Care.
The hundreds of thousands of people who need help to eat and wash, get residential care when they need it and to lead a full life under their own control, can do so with their support paid for in the same way as the NHS.
We also commit to good pay and conditions for care workers and to giving family carers the support they need.
We need to ensure social care is fully publicly funded. The current cap of £86,000 leaves many individuals with disabilities discriminated against by this cost, as it places them at a financial disadvantage to their peers, and for many is unaffordable.
We believe in creating a caring, nurturing environment for the borough’s children and young people.
Direct funds, and access additional funding and grants to create additional provision for young people across the borough, including affordable nurseries, children’s centres and youth clubs to provide support to families and young people. Playgrounds, adventure parks, forest schools and sporting facilities should be available to all.
We will work with youth leaders, the Metropolitan and local police teams to introduce a set of actions that will help our young people feel safe when out on Lambeth streets. We will introduce a dedicated youth worker into every school to work with children and young people to address their concerns and issues.
In addition to working closely with Lambeth Youth Council, we will give young people a say by establishing a Lambeth Youth Forum on Climate with the ability to advise on how funds are spent.
We will continue to lobby government to reintroduce non-means tested Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to18 year olds.
Pensioners and benefits claimants have seen the value of their payments fall to the lowest point in fifty years. Despite everyday prices rising as much as 8% and energy bills almost doubling to an average of £2000 a year the state pension and most other state benefits have risen by only 3.1%.
Thousands of residents across the borough are suffering as a result. Inflation is expected to rise even higher and the cost of living to continue to escalate.
We have an out of touch government run by wealthy individuals protected from the current maelstrom. In the 6th wealthiest country in the world there is no excuse for households to have to choose between eating or staying warm.
We will investigate the possibility of a localised payment to cover a basic level of energy for less well-off households.
We will ensure that the London Living Wage is paid to all employees who live and work in Lambeth. We will address the cost-of-living crisis by ensuring the provision of targeted payments to residents, offering additional support and advice where needed.
We will ensure the Council Tax Support scheme is available for those who need it the most to provide the assistance required to get them through hard times.
We will end the use of bailiffs for those in receipt of Council Tax Support who fall into council tax arrears.
Leisure services will once again be run in house ensuring access to outdoor and sporting facilities in a manner the council is accountable for.
Lambeth's library service will be run as a community-staff mutual trust providing access to all residents to computer technology and spaces for homework and reading.
The need for a more accountable and transparent council has never been greater.
Throughout all its operations, Lambeth Council should strive to represent and empower residents, as well as putting their needs at the heart of all decision making. Under Lambeth Labour, we have not seen this happen; instead, we have seen all decisions made by the all-Labour Cabinet with very little resident involvement, and we have seen money funnelled into Special Responsibility Allowances and Corporate Campaigns, whilst vulnerable residents have suffered from cuts to vital frontline services.
We want to move away from the centralised cabinet system towards a committee system. Scrutiny Committees should rotate their chairs between the ruling party and opposition parties.
We will introduce pilots of participatory budgeting which provides an ongoing deliberative process which engages residents in setting the borough's budgeting priorities.
We propose that the council begin to move toward a four day week, with council employees being paid for five days. Trials have shown that, properly managed, a switch to a four day working week can reduce stress and sickness amongst staff while maintaining productivity. Extensive trials are currently being undertaken across a range of businesses in the UK. Based on the evidence gained from these trials we will introduce a four day working week across the Council.
We pledge to continue to support the work of African Heritage communities with the national campaign for an All-party Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparative Justice for the UK’s role in colonial enslavement and to simultaneously support the local community-led implementation of the Lambeth Council Atonement and Reparations Motion.
We will continue to support the demands of the survivors of sexual, physical, psychological, and racial abuse and believe that everyone who suffered should be compensated fairly. This should include all those who were put in harm's way by Lambeth, yet unfairly excluded from the initial redress scheme, including namely survivors from the Melting Pot home, children abused by foster carers and families of survivors that have committed suicide. There should be absolutely no discrimination of any kind against any survivor.
We will continue to push Lambeth Council to be open, transparent and accountable about financial matters and ensure that the council operates more effectively and efficiently.
We will continue to push the council to make council finance more accessible sooner, rather than waiting for government regulation following the recent Redmond Review, which calls for a simplification of council finance reporting.
We will push for a carbon budget to be set alongside the financial budget and ensure that every decision is considered through the lens of social and environmental justice and stop making Lambeth a soft touch for developers.
Instead, we will follow best practice in investing in retro-fitting homes by either issuing Green Bonds or borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board.
We will cut patronage for Special Responsibility Allowances for councillors where they are misused, diverting the money to help and support Lambeth’s most vulnerable residents.
Lambeth currently spends hundreds of millions each year on external contracts and currently outsources many services from housing repairs to refuge collection. Many residents report a poor quality of service from council contractors and the council loses a large amount of money each year as a result of contracts simply “rolling-over” due to a lack of resources in teams to carry out proper procurement and contract management.
We will make substantial savings in this area as other boroughs have done. Through better management of contracts with external suppliers, the insourcing of service contracts, and an invest-to-save approach.
We would ensure greater openness and transparency around the impact the procurement and contract management team are having and encourage more investment in these areas.
Based on estimates from Brighton and Hove, investing in a well-resourced contract management team could save up to 5% on costs.