28 July 2018
Welcome to the e-newsletter for members, supporters and friends of Witham & Braintree Green Party
If there is an event or news you would like us to include, please get in touch
This month – hot weather across Europe!
Hot weather across Europe
Well yes, the summer so far has been remarkably hot and dry but also the political temperature has been rising over the messy situation of the UK leaving the EU.
On the former, we are experiencing another summer of above average temperatures, not just in the UK or most of Europe, but across most of the northern hemisphere land masses. Notably so far this summer has been the incursion of heat into very high latitudes – well above the Arctic circle in Scandinavia for example. Public water supplies remain reasonably good in the UK thanks to winter and spring rains, but as the extreme drought in England goes on, stress in the wider environment is becoming evident with trees and wildlife starting to suffer.
At the time of writing, it has now been 37 days with no measurable rain in mid-Essex and 46 days since any appreciable rain (a tenth of an inch on June 2nd). Also we have seen 31 days in a row since the maximum daytime temperature last went below average.
The Tory Government's retreat from many aspects of the Green agenda has included increasingly mixed messages on the major issue of climate change. Their support for expansion of Heathrow is a serious blow to UK efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. The Government's behaviour is due to a number of triggers, including their drive for growth and getting rid of regulations. But there is also a vocal climate change denial movement, in which there are a number of senior Tory backbenchers who happen to also be "Hard Brexiteers". The main UK climate change denial organisation, the Global Warming Policy Forum/Foundation is led by former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson.
Dozens of MPs have been identified as backing the parliamentary lobby group pushing for a Hard Brexit called the European Research Group (ERG). Its members reportedly include prominent climate change denier/skeptic MPs such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Owen Paterson, John Redwood and Christopher Chope.
The EU has its shortcomings but it has been a key driver of environmental legislation and action on climate change. Brexit is seen by the hard right as an opportunity to get rid of environmental laws and regulations which they see as a barrier to growth (ie road building, more/larger airports, more incinerators, building in the countryside and on protected habitats).
Even while Tory backbenchers openly joust with each other in parliament, the mess over our future in Europe has recently been compounded with the findings of the Electoral Commission on the spending of Vote Leave during the Referendum campaign.
Green Party Co-Leader Jonathan Bartley said on 17th July that
"the Commission report marks a watershed moment and clearly calls into question the legitimacy of the referendum result. This cannot be pushed into the long grass or glossed over with a slap on the wrist and a fine. When the very democratic process is called into question in this way then there must be consequences. If people do not have confidence in the system they can have no confidence in the result.
There must now be a wider criminal investigation into the actions of the Vote Leave campaign. All members of the Government who sat on the campaign committee of Vote Leave should resign. They can have no place in a Government negotiating Brexit.
And clearly any final deal that is negotiated must now be put to the British people with a People's Vote including an option to remain in the European Union if that is the will of the British people."
Braintree District Draft Local Plan
Following the letter from the Inspector's Examination of the Braintree District Draft Local Plan Part 1 (Part 1 is a joint Local Plan with Colchester BC and Tendring DC), there remains uncertainty as to what the councils will do next. BDC is to hold a Full Council meeting on 23rd July and a Local Plan Committee meeting on 1st August at which we will learn more.
The Inspector's letter was published on 15th June. It was a devastating demolition of Braintree DC's plans (alongside Colchester BC and Tendring DC with backing from Essex CC) for their three so-called Garden Communities strung out along the A120.
Since then, senior administration councillors from the 4 authorities have largely sought to downplay the mess they are in with the ECC Cabinet Member claiming, astonishingly, that the Inspector's letter was "not viewed as a setback".
Garden Communities, if well done, could be an option for boosting housing. But the largest of the prosed GCs, West Tey, is 10 times larger than the size at which GCs can be considered in planning terms and is acting as the "dam in the stream" to sorting out the Local Plan and future major infrastructure.
The latest applications for the Rivenhall Airfield waste site/incinerator will now not be considered in July at the Essex County Council Development and Regulation Committee. The further delay is so that a full review of the need for the site is looked at including time for responses from the applicant to new documents. Meanwhile the Green Party has published a report showing that waste incineration is set to overtake recycling in England – completely at odds with the Tory Government claims on the environment and recycling.
We are getting steady numbers coming to Green Drinks but it would be great to see more attend. Its very informal – just a chance to meet and chat with fellow Greens in the area and come up occasionally with some good ideas !
We meet on Thursday 19th June at 7.30pm at Fowlers Farm (just off the A120 at Galley's Corner roundabout Braintree).
We meet every 3rd Thursday of the month.
Contact Karin for more information at
Green Party Internal Elections
Nominations for Leader, Deputy Leader and the Executive of the Green Party of England and Wales have now closed.
These elections will decide the direction the party takes over the next two years while the country faces some important challenges, particularly climate change and our future in Europe.
Voting will be from 30th July to 31st August.
These are the candidates:
Jonathan Bartley & Sian Berry (Co-Leaders)
Green Party Executive and Policy Development Committee elections
In addition to the Leadership elections, ten positions on the Green Party Executive and five positions on the PDC are up for election.
There will be hustings nationally and these 2 events are the ones currently being advertised closest to Essex:
Saturday 28/07/18 9:30 - 1pm
St Davids Church, 76 Westbourne Rd, London N7 8BZ
Saturday 28/07/18 2-5pm
St Pauls Centre, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1JP
For more information please see:
Important meetings/dates coming up
The report on the July ECC Full Council meeting has now been published on Essex Green Party facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Essex-Green-Party-350740061707505/
We now have 471 people following Essex Green Party on facebook – a good increase in a month - it is our main "noticeboard" for county-wide Green events and news.
NEXT NEWSLETTER: August 2018
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