Friday, 24 October 2008

Carbon reduction not a high priority target for Maidstone

Maidstone Borough Council's Cabinet decided not to make carbon reduction a high priority target for the borough. They prefered economic growth. Both Lib Dems and the Tories backed the prioritisation of the targets, i.e. both parties were happy that reducing Maidstone's carbon footprint was not a high priority target, yet economic growth was (it was stated at the meeting that the New Business Registration Rate is an excellent proxy for economic growth).

Another nail in the coffin of the LibDem claims that they are green. In fairness to Mark Woodin (Con) he was the only one to suggest that this target should be upgraded (thanks Mark), but his suggestion fell on deaf ears and he also agreed for the priorities to be passed as set out below.

As an aside, James May from Top Gear, was dicussing renewable energy on TV last night and presented a sensible picture. He started by saying that he wants an energy source that will last forever and only renewables can do this. If a Top Gear presenter can get what Greens are saying, why can't Maidstone's councillors?

The adherence to the need for economic growth by the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour is one of the key differences that sets the Greens apart from them. Continuous economic growth on a finite planet is simply not possible or desirable and certainly not sustainable. A stable economy does not grow and we should not keep using up finite resources.

The other interesting comment at the cabinet was from the Tory leader, Chris Garland, who suggested that the Growth Point status was a good thing for Maidstone. The Growth Point status was voted in by the LibDem administration (plus a number of Tories) in March 2006 and increased the house building target over the next 20 years by 20%.

Extract from the cabinet agenda, 23rd Oct 2008:
1.2.1 That based on an examination of the available data, laid out in the draft LAP (Appendix A), the Cabinet agrees that the following National Indicators should be given the highest priority within the new LAP and that this be reported to the Maidstone LSP and Kent Partnership:

High priority
1. NI 15 -- Serious and Violent Crime
2. NI 21 -- Dealing with local concerns about anti-social behaviour and crime by the local council and police
3. NI 39: Related Hospital Admissions per 100,000 for Alcohol Related Harm
4. NI 47: People killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents
5. NI 55: Number of affordable homes delivered (gross)
6. NI 75 - Achievement of 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and Maths (Threshold)
7. NI 110 - Young people's participation in positive activities
8. NI 117: 16 -- 18 year olds who are not in education, employment or training (NEET)
9. NI 141 Percentage of vulnerable people achieving independent living
10.NI 154: Net additional homes provided
11.NI 163: Proportion of population aged 19 -- 64 for males and 19 -- 59 qualified to at least a level two or higher
12.NI 171: New Business Registration Rate
13.NI 191: Residual household waste per household
14.NI 187 - Tackling fuel poverty - % of people receiving income based benefits living in homes with a low energy efficiency rating

Medium priority
1. NI 8: Adult participation in sport and active recreation
2. NI 55: Obesity in primary school age children in reception
3. NI 111: First time entrants into the youth justice system aged 10 -17
4. NI 120: All age all cause mortality rate (All Persons)
5. NI 186: Per capita CO2 emissions in the LA area
6. NI -- 189 Flood and Costal Erosion Risk Management
7. NI 73 - Achievement at level 4 or above in both English and Maths at Key Stage 2
8. NI 83 achievement at level 5 or above in Science at Key Stage 3
9. NI 87 - Secondary school persistent absence rate
10.NI 3 - Civic participation in the local area
11.NI 11- Engagement in the Arts

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