Greens’ people power city manifesto ‘most ambitious yet’

Edinburgh Greens have launched their campaign for the council elections in May. Contributed

Edinburgh Greens have launched their campaign for the council elections in May. Contributed

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RESIDENTS in the Capital would be given New York-style powers to decide how £20 million of city cash should be spent, under plans unveiled in the Edinburgh Greens manifesto.

In what the party described as its “most ambitious manifesto yet”, the party pledged to give people more power to build stronger ties between the council and its local communities.

Edinburgh needs councillors who can combine a commitment to action with vision

Steve Burgess

The party said one of its key priorities was to take “participatory funding” to a new level, allowing citizens to decide directly how money is spent across the Capital.

Under their plans the Greens want £20m of the council budget to be decided by residents to place Edinburgh “alongside pioneering cities like New York and Paris”.

Projects in the Capital which have already benefited from participatory funding include the Leith Decides initiative, which has seen a number of community groups across the area receive a cash boost.

Gavin Corbett, standing for re-election in Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart ward, said the move was about getting people’s views heard and making the council feel less “remote”.

He said: “This is part of a package of things to say let’s shift that balance to people being more directly engaged.

“It’s not just consulting, it’s let’s hand the power over to the people.”

Other proposals include making George Street and the Royal Mile for pedestrians and cyclists only and increasing recycling levels to 70 per cent of all waste.

The party has also pledged to overhaul how roads and pavements are repaired and “replacing the use of bed and breakfast hostels for homeless people with high quality housing”.

Green group leader Steve Burgess said: “Ten years after Green councillors were first elected in Edinburgh, this is our most ambitious manifesto yet.

“Edinburgh urgently needs councillors who can combine a commitment to action on day-to-day issues like waste collections, and footway repairs, with a real vision of where our capital city is going. That’s what more Green councillors offer.”

The Greens also propose to bring an end to allowing development on green-belt land and to give the public more say at planning meetings.

Melanie Main, standing for re-election in Morningside ward, said: “These elections pose critical questions for residents in the city. Which candidates show real understanding of our great city and how to use council powers to make it even better? Which party has detailed policies and candidates with a track record of getting things done? Which party is really focused on what these elections are about?

“Edinburgh’s only future is a green future. Our manifesto shows that electing more Green councillors will light the way to that green future.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk