Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sustainable Communities Bill

I have just had a mailing from “Local Works” about the Campaign for the Sustainable Communities Bill in the UK Parliament. It is very difficult to achieve meaningful and positive changes through the current undemocratic parliamentary and electoral system in Britain, afflicted as it is by corporate lobbying, reactionary inertia and timidity, but one way that has achieved some success has been that pursued by the campaigner Ron Bailey and others who have lobbied for a series of “Private Members Bills”. These are Bills that individual MPs can put forward without government or Party support, with the small number of MPs that are allowed to do so each term selected by a Parliamentary Private Members Ballot. The next one of these is 23rd November this year, and Local Works is leading a campaign for adoption by one of the 7 MPs that top the list of the Sustainable Communities Bill. They are asking that people write to their MP now (You can find the details of yours through They Work For You.Com) asking him/her :

- To sign the parliamentary motion entitled Early Day Motion No.641 in support of the Sustainable Communities Bill; and
- To please agree to “adopt this bill if you are successful in the Private Members’ Ballot to be held on 23rd November”. If we can, by massive lobbying, secure advance pledges from MPs we can really ‘shorten the odds’ regarding the possibility of success in the ballot.

If successful, the Bill could be law by mid 2007.

Here is a brief description of the Bill and what it aims to achieve –

One Page Brief of the Sustainable Communities Bill
Have you noticed the following things happening in your community?:
o closure of local independent shops
o closure of the local Post Office
o closure of the local bank branch
o decline of local street markets
o closure of the local pub
o closure of local services e.g. health centres
o green spaces being built on
o more traffic and less people walking on the streets
o less public transport services
o more "clone" branded shops and huge superstores
Local Works is the campaign that aims to change this situation that is known as Ghost Town Britain. Instead we want local sustainability, which has these 4 measurements:
1. thriving local economies
2. environmental protection
3. social inclusion
4. active democratic participation
We want a more ‘bottom-up’ society in which communities are developed and empowered and local authorities and citizens are given a powerful role.
Local Works is campaigning for the Sustainable Communities Bill. If made law the bill will greatly empower local government and communities. Central government will be required to provide for the implementation of local sustainability strategies that local communities will be asked (but not told) to draw up.
These sustainability strategies will state ways in which ‘appropriate authorities’ will promote local communities and sustainability according to specified indicators. These include local services, local jobs, local businesses and economies; measures to reduce social exclusion and increase active citizenship; and environmental measures. The strategies may set targets for these indicators, or even introduce new ones, and these may differ from area to area. Politics will be turned upside down as local communities are given the power to reverse Ghost Town Britain and decide how the places where they live are developed or conserved.
Huge support is needed to win this campaign. It will only be through individuals signing up to Local Works that the Sustainable Communities Bill will become law! The campaign is cross-party supported and is constantly building more support from individuals and organisations across the country. 15000 individuals, 70 national organisations, 300 local organisations and 335 Members of Parliament support the campaign.

That the time for this Bill is here is shown by the recent 4 million signature petition submitted over the protection of rural post offices.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home