Green councillors in action at the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council meeting

Cllr Joseph Booton reports on the July Council meeting. If you have a question you’d like raising at the next full Council meeting, or would just like to chat through some concerns you may have, please do get in touch with one of your friendly Green Party councillors. Their contact details are on this website.

 

Jonathan Essex, Della Torra, Ruth Ritter and Joseph Booton, four of the seven Green councillors on Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

July saw the convening of the full Borough Council of Reigate & Banstead. This provided an opportunity for the Green Party councillors of the Borough to demonstrate why so many residents look to them to provide real and meaningful change, as well as a main vocal opposition to the ruling party on the Council.

Green Party councillors were successful in bringing two motions and a number of questions to the council. Both motions were passed unopposed and will be keenly monitored for their progress.

Firstly, Green Party councillors Paul Chandler and Ruth Ritter implored the Council to add their voice to calls for a joint local and national government taskforce to plan action to reach net zero emissions. Cllr Chandler specifically called for “greater collaboration between local and national governments to respond to the challenges of climate change”. The motion called for the Council to put this in writing in a letter to the Prime Minister as well as to the President of the upcoming COP26 conference and the Leadership Board of the Local Government Association. Our nation’s environmental strategy needs to be more ambitious and delivered without delay. This motion ensures the resident’s of our borough will be heard.

Secondly, Green Party councillors Jonathan Essex and Della Torra highlighted the plight of over 10,000 residents of the Borough who are living in households that still do not have the long-promised kerbside recycling service that so many others within the Borough enjoy. The motion pushed the Council to expedite the recycling scheme roll out to all residents, including expanding communal bin stores for those in properties such as flats and implementing creative solutions for those who would be unable to accommodate the ‘standard’ recycling scheme offering.

This motion was referred to the Council’s ruling Executive on the basis that it would have a cost impact. This represents an acknowledgement for the first time from the Council that it needs to invest money to complete the recycling roll-out. We look forward to the Council now, finally, properly financing (starting this year) and rolling-out the full recycling service so all residents have access to the same recycling service, ensuring people are not left out because their household or situation doesn’t ˋfitˋ into the current scheme. In some cases this requires smaller bins or other creative alternatives and in other cases investing time, resources and what is required to change arrangements such as in blocks of flats where existing bin stores and bin arrangements are inadequate.

Questions were also asked of the council by Green Party councillors Della Torra, Jonathan Essex, Joseph Booton, Sue Sinden, Paul Chandler and Ruth Ritter. The questions respectively covered the cutting of hedges and trees, nuclear non-proliferation and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, engaging with residents on ideas and improvements for our Borough’s green spaces, support for long-Covid sufferers, reducing demand for fossil fuel powered transport and calling for an urgent review of the long-overdue Earlswood Common Management Plan.

Cllr Ritter asked the council “Given the strong public interest can you give assurance that the review of Redhill and Earlswood Commons Management plans are being given the urgency they deserve (particularly as the last Earlswood Common plan expired in 2013 and the golf course closed in March 2019) and that a date will soon be set for a public consultation?”

This led to the Council confirming the management plan had indeed expired and still no date has been set for its review or for a public consultation. Your Green councillors will continue to monitor the situation and with a seat on the Earlswood Common Management steering group, we can ensure we get the public consultation and progress on this that is long overdue.

 

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