This speech by the new leader of Brighton and Hove Council gives a taste. It will be no easy task in the present conditions but I wish him and his team well.
Brighton & Hove will become the UK’s greenest city, the city council’s new leader Bill Randall has said.
In his first major speech since taking control, Mr Randall set out three key aims for the next four years. Apart from the ambitious eco-drive, they also comprise tackling inequality and involving residents, community and voluntary organisations in the council’s work.
He set out a plan to reduce the city’s eco footprint and set up a ‘biosphere reserve’ with neighbouring authorities – both plans backed by the business community and other public bodies.
Initiatives also include adopting local carbon budgets, which run alongside financial budgets, as well as plans to fit solar panels on schools and other public buildings to take advantage of feed-in tariffs and increase the use of renewable energy.
While admitting that tackling inequality will not be easy because of the public spending cuts, he said the first priority will be to protect services for children, vulnerable adults and those on low incomes.
Other initiatives include introducing a ‘living wage’ and ensuring that the highest paid council officer earns no more than 10 times the lowest paid officer.
Involving communities is a high priority with plans being piloted to introduce neighbourhood councils with their own budgets and working closely with the city’s vibrant third sector and trade unions.
Mr Randall said the administration takes over in hard times but that there is a new spirit in the city.
“We believe we have captured that spirit to offer the city a fresh start through policies fuelled by fairness and driven by a desire to produce the UK's Greenest city and narrow the gap between rich and poor. We look forward to working with residents, public and private sector partners to achieve our aims."