Bristol Friends of the Earth is an active local group of the international environmental organisation Friends of the Earth. There is also a nature subgroup and an associated Air Quality campaign.

We also organise public meetings on important issues, election hustings, and responses to various local proposals (planning and development, air quality, pesticides, etc).

We welcome new members to get involved, and we sometimes hold open organising meetings where you can come along to meet us and find out more.

If you can help us with campaigning time or resources, or want to come to a meeting to see what we do then please get in touch. Also see our facebook group.

Key WECA Mayor Election Issues

March 11th, 2021

On 8-May-2021 the WECA mayor is up for election, as well as the Bristol mayor, the PCC and local councillors. This website tells you the voting options for your address: https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/ .

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is a tier of local government that has substantial powers and funding covering the Bristol. South Gloucestershire, and Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) areas. This may be extended to include North Somerset.

The WECA mayor is important for future sustainability so Bristol FoE have done some analysis of the issues to help inform your vote. We are also partnering in environmental hustings online for you to meet the candidates and ask questions, see events. For a longer article see http://www.bristolfoe.org.uk/weca21/ .

Why is the WECA mayor important?

Bristol, BANES and WECA have all declared climate emergencies and adopted a policy of reaching net zero emissions by 2030. To achieve this it is essential that emissions reduction is at the heart of all WECA policies. This is urgent to ensure the region has a green recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic: there is now lots of evidence that a large part of our decarbonisation needs to happen in the next 5-10 years to avoid the most serious negative consequences.

WECA is the lead authority for:

Transport

Transport currently amounts to around 25% of CO2 emissions and the proportion is rising.

WECA produces strategies for all means of transport from walking, cycling and electric scooters through public transport and cars to freight, and administers government funding for transport schemes.

To get emissions down the region needs to dramatically reduce the amount of car travel, and support electrification for remaining travel and transport.

Industry, skills and training

Other energy is responsible for around 50% of emissions, and a lot of that is wasted in heating and cooling inefficient buildings. A building ‘retrofit revolution’ for energy efficiency and conversion to low-carbon heating and cooling is vital, along with developing and deploying renewable energy supplies such as wind, tidal and solar.

The low uptake of the recent government Green Homes Grant was largely due to lack of accredited installers and contractors, so this is an essential and urgent area for skills development and accreditation.

Decarbonisation strategies for all industry and business also needs to be at the top of the agenda, and the mayor needs to influence the type of industries that are allowed and encouraged to develop in the region.

Housing and land use

As well as being very low carbon, the location of new housing developments in relation to transport infrastructure and jobs is important – not only in reducing CO2 emissions from transport and avoiding flooding but also in creating better communities.

There is also the need to grow a larger proportion of our food locally, in sustainable ways on our best agricultural soils, and reduce the environmental burden of producing and importing meat and dairy products and animal fodder. This is key to address both the climate and nature emergencies we face locally and globally.

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Metro Mayor Hustings 19-Apr-2021

Monday 19th April 2021

Online Event, Monday 19 April 2021 – 6 to 7.30pm
The West of England Metro Mayor has a great deal of influence over how Bristol, Bath and surrounding areas will respond over the next decade to the now extremely urgent global climate and nature crises. A green and fair recovery is in sight but needs the political vision and will to implement with the urgency required.
The mayor will control a substantial budget for public transport and vocational training, and the authority has bid for a Great Western Freeport – citing growth, aerospace and nuclear, but no concrete green proposals.
https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/great-western-freeport-could-create-almost-50000-jobs-in-the-region/
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/feb/04/free-ports-or-sleaze-ports-rishi-sunaks-dream-of-tax-free-zones-about-to-become-reality
With bus services in danger of collapse after covid, the green homes grant having flopped due to insufficient qualified retrofit contractors, and a need for rapidly ramping our renewable energy infrastructure, the leading mayoral candidates will be asked to share their plans in these and other areas. Follow the booking link below to ask questions relating to a sustainable future.
Candidates confirmed to take part in the hustings are:

Dan Norris – Labour Party
Jerome Thomas – Green Party
Samuel Williams – Conservative Party
Stephen Williams – Liberal Democrats

Further candidate information at
https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/elections/mayor.west-of-england.2021-05-06/mayor-of-west-of-england-combined-authority/
This event is organised by Bristol Green Capital Partnership in collaboration with Avon Wildlife Trust, Black & Green Ambassadors, Campaign for Rural England, Friends of the Earth, Sustrans and XR.
For latest details and booking see https://bristolgreencapital.org/events/west-of-england-mayoral-hustings-2021/

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Bristol Mayoral Hustings 27-Apr-2021

Tuesday 27th April 2021

Online event, Tuesday 27 April 2021 – 6 to 7.30pm.
The Mayor of Bristol has a great deal of influence over how the city will respond over the next decade to the now extremely urgent global climate and nature crises.
A green and fair recovery is in sight but needs the political vision and will to implement with the urgency required.
The leading mayoral candidates will be asked to share their plans in this area.
Important areas for questions will be their approach to energy and the City Leap program https://www.energyservicebristol.co.uk/cityleap/ ; their approach to clean air, reducing through traffic in central Bristol and cycling support; and their approach to leading on good food with lower environmental impact. Follow the booking link below to ask questions in these and other areas relating to a sustainable future.
Candidates confirmed to take part in the hustings are:

Alastair Watson, Conservative Party
Caroline Gooch – Liberal Democrats
Marvin Rees – Labour Party
Sandy Hore-Ruthven – Green Party

Further candidate information at
https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/elections/mayor.bristol.2021-05-06/mayor-of-bristol/
This event is organised by Bristol Green Capital Partnership in collaboration with Avon Wildlife Trust, Black & Green Ambassadors, Campaign for Rural England, Eastside Community Trust, Friends of the Earth, Sustrans and XR.
For latest details and booking see https://bristolgreencapital.org/events/bristol-mayoral-hustings-2021-climate-ecological-emergency/

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