Bristol Initiative Members Meet the Green Party: “We’re not all tree hugging hippies who hate business”

Sam Harrison
Marketing Executive | Business West
14th February 2024

Last week, we brought together Bristol Initiative members to meet with Carla Denyer, Green Party Co-Leader and Green Party Councillor for Clifton Down, as well as Tony Dyer, Green Party Councillor for Southville and Green Shadow Cabinet member for Housing Delivery and Homes. The event was kindly hosted by Initiative members Foot Anstey at their office in Temple Quarter.

Carla and Tony presented the Green Party’s policies, and explained how they would affect business in the area. They also talked about a lot of the challenges that Bristol and the surrounding regions are facing – and not just from a sustainability perspective.

Transportation emerged as a focal point of the morning, with a consensus that weneed a system that works and is delivered at pace. And, that the transport solution needs to work for the region, not just Bristol. It was also underscored that private sector investment is crucial to retrofitting the current transit systems we have, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between businesses and the council in driving the city's success.

They also acknowledged the pivotal role of Business West in Bristol's prosperity; the consensus was clear: collaboration between the council and businesses is paramount and the only way these things get done is with the support of organisations like Business West and the Bristol Initiative. The financial contributions from businesses are essential for overcoming the city's obstacles to growth, particularly in transportation and housing. It’s also vital to recognise that Bristol is outperforming the national economy as well.

During the engaging Q&A session many pertinent questions were raised, reflecting the audience's concerns. Notably, the issue of transportation's significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions was brought to the forefront. The Greens emphasised the need for a rethink on Bristol’s mass transit plans, rejecting the notion of underground transport and stressing the need for immediate investment in the bus network. Carla Denyer aptly summed up the sentiment, stating, "Bristol's transport is broken, and it needs fixing."

Concerns were also voiced regarding the potential impact of the upcoming Bristol Council’s committee system on decision-making speed. However, several voices noted that this system could potentially expedite processes rather than hinder them, offering a fresh perspective on local governance dynamics.

Finally, the delicate balance between environmental goals and economic competitiveness, particularly concerning Bristol Airport, was addressed. Tony Dyer acknowledged the airport's role as a contributor to business activity while also acknowledging the pressing need to mitigate its environmental footprint. The impending challenge for city leaders was encapsulated as a “balancing act” between sustainability and city economic objectives.

The Meet the Greens Breakfast provided a platform for meaningful dialogue between Bristol business leaders and Green Party representatives, underscoring the imperative for collaboration in addressing Bristol's pressing challenges while striving for sustainable growth.

In March we will be hosting the next event in this series, connecting local politicians with Bristol Initiative members, by hosting representatives from the Labour Party.

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