Gloucestershire Greens secure £400k funding for green projects
By Sarah Wood | 17th February 2023
The four-strong Green group at Gloucestershire County Council secured amendments to the county council's budget for 2023/24 worth £400,000 this week.
Gloucestershire County Council approved a £567 million budget for 2023/24 on Wednesday (February 15).
The Green's amendments include a range of projects that will help the council meet its environmental commitments, support Gloucestershire communities and protect the natural landscape.
Thanks to the Green Party councillors, an electric bike (or e-bike) hire scheme will roll out in locations across the county. The £150,000 scheme is expected to allow residents to trial e-bike ownership over a number of months, with the option to purchase the bike at a discount after the hire period. Studies have shown that those who trial an e-bike are significantly more likely to want one for the longer term, and to cycle more in the future.
E-bikes are particularly suited to more rural and hilly areas, such as Stroud district, or areas where there aren't suitable, safe, separated cycling options, giving confidence and increased pedal power to those who need it and a cheap way to get around at a time when many are struggling with rising costs.
Secure bike storage will also begin to be made available thanks to the Greens, with a £90,000 budget for lockable bike hangars for public use across the county successfully passed. People are more likely to travel by bike with the reassurance of having somewhere safe to store their cycling equipment.
The Green Group persuaded councilllors that a budget of £100,000 should be assigned to the County Council Restoring Our Rivers Working Group. Widespread national coverage of the poor state of river water quality and biodiversity led to the establishment of this project on the state of the county's watercourses, and its recommendations can now be pursued thanks to this new funding.
Rights of way officers will see their budgets increased by £100,000 in the coming year, with a Green amendment worth £60,000 topped up by a Labour amendment of £40,000, to better support the routine maintenance of the county's network of footpaths and other rights of way, helping to reduce carbon and traffic.
Cllr Chloe Turner (Green Party, Minchinhampton) said: "Gloucestershire County Council is waking up to the urgency of the climate and ecological crises. I am so pleased we have been able to contribute these further improvements to the council's budget, part of our commitment to a fairer, greener, happier Gloucestershire."
Cllr Cate Cody (Tewkesbury Division), Green group leader, said: "Actively promoting cycling and walking whilst conserving our lovely county are high priorities for Greens and we're also thrilled to be able to help tackle filthy river pollution, which is highly topical and very important to our constituents. We know much of what needs doing, now we have some financial support to help carry out some action."
At its meeting on Wednesday, the council agreed to allocate funding worth £119 million to complete infrastructure projects such as the Gloucester South West Bypass, Arle Court Transport Hub, the flagship 26-mile cycle spine, and flood alleviation schemes like those in Nailsworth, Coleford and Pittville.
The council agreed to commit a further £21 million into protecting the county's vulnerable children and a further £20 million into supporting vulnerable adults and those living with a disability.
The budget also includes £44 million for schools across the county, including £9.9 million towards the cost of building a new primary school in Bishop's Cleeve.
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