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#LetPompeyBreathe had another successful action day on the 4th April with a gathering in Guildhall Square, and a public meeting at the Southsea Village Pub later in same the day. Portsmouth Green Party joined with Portsmouth Friends of the Earth and Keith Taylor MEP to call for Portsmouth City Council to tackle the illegal pollution levels in the city. The heath burden was symbolised by a cluster of head stones pointing out the approximately 100 early deaths linked to air pollution per year in the city, and the cause of death: "inaction". Leaflets were distributed by volenteers to the public, who in many cases were completely unaware of the danger they routinely exposed to by NO2 and particulate pollution.
A letter was delivered by Tim Sheerman-Chase, a local air quality campaigner, addressed to the head of Portsmouth City Council, the Council CEO, the Regulatory Services Manager and the head of Portsmouth public health, calling for strong action to tackle the problem.
The evening meeting was well attended with a panel comprising: Rachel Hudson, Portsmouth Friends of the Earth, Rob Bailey, Milton Neighbourhood Forum, and Keith Taylor MEP. Several people spoke out about their local concerns, including schools being next to busy polluted roads. Measures to tackle pollution were discussed, including improving bus services, a Healthy Streets policy for urban planning, improved monitoring around the city, ensuring new developments are sustainable including in terms of traffic pollution, and pushing for a car free day in the city centre. Keith launched his Polluted Cities Hampshire report, which outlines the situation in Portsmouth, Reading and Winchester.
Following the event, Mr. Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:
“There is an overwhelming demand from residents for action on air pollution in Portsmouth. The graveyard protest is a macabre but vital reminder that green campaigners won’t let the Council sit idly by while the people of Pompey choke.”
Rachel Hudson, from Portsmouth Friends of the Earth, added:
“It shouldn’t be an aspiration to have clean, fresh air for everyone, everywhere in our city – it is our right. We’ve been monitoring air pollution levels using our own diffusion tubes and we want to ensure community input is listened to by those who can make a difference. With people’s health being at risk, adequate public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure are urgently needed.”
#LetPompeyBreathe is also launching a petition to call for action by Portsmouth City Council to address pollution. 1000 signatures will have the petition debated by the full council. (Watch this space for when it is ready and live!) This campaign forms part of the Green Party's national Breathing Cities campaign.
We call for:
The government is proposing to cut £8,052,952 from Portsmouth schools, which is equivalent to 216 teachers, according to the National Union of Teachers. That means fewer teachers, bigger class sizes, less support staff, fewer resources and some subjects scrapped. If you are a parent of a child in a school in Portsmouth, you can ask your headteacher about the budget cuts that the school is facing and what measures the school plans to take to cut their costs, or search for specific school on schoolcuts.org.uk.
The local party have released a press statement to express our extreme disappointment and dismay at the contents of the document, the lack of strategy and the scarcity of any consultation process so far. We would recommend you to take a look at the PCC Air Quality strategy document and the contrasting one from the Greater Manchester Area so that you can raise and contribute as you see fit to the response section of the Portsmouth City Councils portal.
Here is the link to the Portsmouth Air Quality Strategy document and survey. You can access the Greater Manchester Air Quality Action Plan here for comparison. The deadline to complete the survey is 9am on Monday 8th May, 2017. You MUST get your response in by then, but we recommend you submit it by Sunday evening.
You can download the full press release here .
We have launched our crowd funder to Elect a Green MP in Portsmouth. We are not funded by big business and we do not have the enormous funds that other political parties have. That is why we need to ask for your support. We will work hard to represent the people of Portsmouth with your help!
Go to crowdfunder.co.uk/help-elect-a-green-in-portsmouth to give what you can and support our campaign!
It seems a while since I started on 'our green patch' at the Southsea Green space (opposite Canoe Lake). When we were offered a patch we had little idea of what we were going to plant and a bit of a mix of experience of vegetable growing. What we did have is some enthusiasm to just dive in and have a go at it. I have always loved gardening and in the past I have successfully had a garden full of veg, but that was way in the past. Apart from a few tomatoes and a fig tree and some lovely herbs I had not grown anything other than flowers. We made a trip out to a friendly horse stables in Denmead to get 'some good poo'. We added in some organic mulched compost and dug it all in to the patch that had been left for a while and looked a bit dry. I painted some signs and some green insignia around the outside edge and we were ready to go. Soon we were planting up courgettes, leeks, a herb garden with sage, rosemary and cress, purple sprouting broccoli, garlic, spring onions and peppers. Jo installed a watering system of old plastic milk cartons with holes in so that we could keep the soil moist more constantly when its hot and the ground gets dry . Within a short space of time our patch was looking really healthy and although we had some casualties along the way, the vast majority of plants grew and kept on growing. During the winter months we have not visited so much but our plants still look healthy and thriving.
Southsea Green (map) also serves a very different purpose, not just to tend your veg and dig the ground, but also to form friendships with the others in the garden. There are times when you can meet up and swap seeds and bulbs, taste each others produce and get gardening tips. The space is a really nice place to meet up (especially when the sun is shining) and I hope to get down there with the group a lot more in the coming months. I only wish we lived a little nearer and we would be watching the crops a little more constantly. This week I visited again to plant some pea seeds that have all come along very nicely in my shed for the past 3 weeks.
Looking forward to a little harvest of broccoli soon and maybe some sweet smelling wild flowers.
If you are interested in coming along and being a bit green fingered (or brown if you are prepared to get your hands a bit dirty) please get in touch. :) Tracey
Portsmouth has one of the lowest recycling rates in the country, coming in at 345 out of 352 authorities. That's in the top 10 WORST councils! We need to do something about it... just one of the reasons we need the Green Party represented on the council. To find out how you can help, go to Donate, or get in Contact!
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