Norwich congestion charge project a sham

Greens condemn Norwich congestion charge project as a sham


·        TIF project was just a ‘wheeze’ to develop the NDR


Green Councillors today condemned the Conservative administration at County Hall for carrying out a sham study into congestion charging in the Norwich area.  They point out that Government funding intended for sustainable transport has been used to fund traffic modelling for the NDR and to falsely justify building the NDR. 


The Government itself rumbled Councils like Norfolk last year when they warned that Councils would not be able to use TIF funding for road building (see note 1).    


Green County Councillor Andrew Boswell said “We warned in 2006 that the TIF congestion charge project was a ‘wheeze’ for the Council to do modelling work to justify the Northern Distributor Road.  We have been proved right. It is a disgrace that Government money intended to promote sustainable transport has been used to help develop an old-fashioned road-building project.  “


The Green Party key transport policies for Norwich are:

·        A massive improvement in public transport with a Quality Bus Contract (QBC) to hugely improve Norwich‘s bus services;   

·        A blanket 20mph speed limit on all urban residential roads, 30mph to remain on ring roads and key radial routes;

·        The completion of the Norwich Cycle Network, including more cycle friendly infrastructure;

·        Greater pedestrian-only areas in the city centre.


Councillor Rupert Read, Norwich Green Party Transport spokesperson said “We would develop real sustainable transport solutions paid for by the cancellation of the white elephant ‘Northern Distributor Road’.  20mph limits, a Quality Bus Contract with greater funding, and a complete cycle network would transform the city –  making it much more pleasant and viable for those on foot and on bike, and making public transport in Norwich affordable again. It is a great shame moreover that the County Council has wasted time and money on this pointless TIF study when they could have been spending that time and money instead on improvements to public transport which by now they could and should have put in place. ”


Further Information:


1.  The House of Commons Transport Committee carried out a complete study on TIF.  After interviewing Government ministers, they made this statement (176) in the final report at: – with Norfolk being specifically mentioned.

‘We urge the DfT to be vigilant in preventing opportunistic attempts to access Congestion TIF funds to support long-standing, controversial and expensive road building programmes’


2.      Norwich Green Party warned that Norfolk County Council was considering congestion charging project merely to fund modeling of the NDR as early as July 18th 2006:



Green Party: Funding gap makes Norwich ‘growth’ targets unachievable

Green Party calls for plans for Norwich’s expansion into the countryside to be radically scaled-back

Green Councillors in Norwich have challenged the Government’s plans to build 33,000 new homes in and around the city by 2021. With an estimated infrastructure funding gap of around £400million, the Green Party is calling on Norwich City Council to tell the Government that the housing targets cannot be met.

An estimated £650million of infrastructure funding will be needed to support the proposed level of housing development growth and the target is
unlikely to be met. Developers would be asked to contribute between £25,000 and £27,000 per house built, which would only generate £165 million. This has
created a funding gap of at least £380 million, and possibly as much as £485 million.
It seems increasingly unlikely that the Government will supply the rest of the money, as an initial bid from the local councils for £90million only attracted a £12million Government contribution.

Cllr. Rupert Read, Euro-election lead candidate for Eastern Region Green Party, said “This funding shortfall is extremely disturbing. Who will foot the bill? The Green Party will categorically oppose any effort to foist this bill onto Council-Tax-payers.”
City Council Leader Steve Morphew also recently admitted that much of the development would be on greenfield sites if the housing targets are to be met.
Funding gap makes Norwich ‘growth’ targets unachievable
Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Co-ordinator of the Green Party Group on Norwich City Council said: “Greenfield sites outside of the city and open spaces within the city could be affected by the Government’s plans for major housing development. This is very worrying. I don’t think the plans for this level of housing growth are desirable but the recent news on infrastucture funding suggests that they are not achieveable either.
"Huge amounts of Council officer time are going into the so-called ‘growth agenda’. This is a waste of resources. It is time for the City Council to stand up to the Government over these over-the-top housing targets and for the City Council to instead concentrate on securing much smaller-scale housing development that is affordable and of a high environmental standard – and not on greenfield sites or sites that are important for wildlife."
Cllr. Ramsay concluded: “Given the funding shortfall, the Green Party says that the best solution is simply that these development plans should be cancelled, or at least radically scaled-back, now. We are the only party going into this local election with such a clear position, willing to stand up to the Government. Labour and LibDem Councillors have increasingly encouraged the massive housing growth targets. It is time for the Council to challenge them – and only Green Councillors will do that."

Councillor Adrian Ramsay, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Norwich South
07940 930465
Councillor Rupert Read, Norfolk Green Party Press Officer
(01603) 219294 / 592079 


Bite This, Boris – RR, and others, in the New Statesman.

Your 31 March cover story (“Is Boris faking it? The makeover of a candidate”) asks: “Who is Boris Johnson?” I went to Balliol with Boris, studying philosophy with him there and working with him at the Oxford Union, and I have touched base with him off and on in the years since.
What your story mostly misses is Boris’s ruthlessness (as well as opportunism) as a politician. Much of what he does, if my experience is anything to go by, is very calculated. His self-presentation as slightly buffoon-like is largely deliberate. He does what he thinks will bring him publicity and affection. And he is not at all averse to deceiving people in the process. For example: at Oxford, when I was president of the university Social Democratic Club, Boris sometimes presented himself as sympathetic with the SDP in order to curry favour with sections of the student body. His self-presentation nowadays as green-leaning is a piece of equally opportunistic and calculated spin.

Rupert Read

Your cover story sold me last week’s edition. Of course, Boris Johnson is a fake – a bonking comedian masquerading as a politician. His friendship with the fraudster Darius Guppy should be an indication of the sort of company he prefers. However, your exposé of his mendacity in fabricating a quotation from his historian godfather, Colin Lucas, which got him sacked from the Times, was news to me.
Johnson’s lead in the polls for the London mayoral election despite his chronic laziness, as shown by his dismal voting record in the House of Commons, and his undistinguished track record as MP for Henley, shows how we may be sleepwalking into electing yet another incompetent liar into one of the most important jobs in the country.

Arthur O’Connor
Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey

Brian Cathcart’s otherwise excellent account of Boris Johnson’s disturbingly effective campaign to become Mayor of London omits one important factor: the use of the Evening Standard, London’s only paid-for paper, as a propaganda sheet for Boris and against Ken Livingstone. This shameless silencing of alternative voices among the city’s media would make Vladimir Putin or Silvio Berlusconi proud.

Julian Bell
Twickenham, Surrey

Norwich Greenest city in the U.K. – again!

It has just been announced that, once again, Norwich has come top of the
list of Greenest places to live in the entire country, in the annual Local Life survey ( ). (Peterborough comes second.)
But why is this?
The answer can be found here:
 Note especially the following quote from this article:
 “It is thought that Peterborough, which has been an Environment City
 since 1993, missed out on first place because, unlike Norwich, it does
 not boast any Green Party councillors.

“That could change after the May 1 elections, with a record nine Green
 candidates bidding for seats on Peterborough City Council…”




ITV – 18.25 || BBC – 18.55 || OR WATCH IT ONLINE, ANYTIME, at

The Green Party's visually stunning broadcast for the local elections
airs tonight at 18.25 on ITV and 18.55 on both BBC1 . The film,
produced by Contaminant Media and animated by sought-after Shroom
Studios, uses no actors; instead real people were invited to discuss
their concerns, making a compelling argument for Green solutions for a
more affordable and fairer society.
I've already watched the broadcast — it is really something! Do watch and
share the link!

Little’s Log: Norwich City Council: UEA Students need not apply

Little’s Log: Norwich City Council: UEA Students need not apply
I am not usually the world’s biggest fan of Tory Cllr. Antony Little, but in this post he is bang on the money. It is a disgrace that the LibDems in Eaton are whipping up anti-student prejudice in this election to try to hold onto this, their last ‘safe’ seat in the city.
The Green Party is standing a number of students for the Council this year in Norwich, and if elected they will make excellent Councillors, as did Adrian Ramsay (who was still at UEA when he got first elected to the Council.). For example, Ruth Makoff in my ward (Wensum) and Amandine Stone in University ward — both highly-intelligent and hard-working candidates. It will be especially interesting to see what happens in Uni ward. ‘The University ward Labour team’ have in the past not been averse to student-bashing, in a ‘populist’ bid to win votes off campus. But Amandine seems so far to be winning quite a lot of Green votes both off AND on campus.
Perhaps those in the LibDems and Labour who bad-mouth student candidates for Council will have cause to regret doing so, at this election…

Only the Greens have defended the Post Offices, in Brussels and Westminster




 There is a ‘Postal Services Directive’ making its way through the EU legislative process at present that seeks to commercialise postal services. Labour, Lib Dem and Tory MEPs have all voted for it. The Directive will lead to post office closures
because it prevents governments subsidising any that are a public
service but not making much money.

 The only Party whose Euro-MPs have voted against this Directive is the Green Party.


Cllr. Adrian Ramsay, Parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, said “It is unfortunate that the other Parties, though locally they say they are against Post Office closures, have national and international policies that point in precisely the opposite direction. It is MPs and MEPs from the three old Parties who are taking the very actions that are making post office closures in Norwich more likely.”




On Friday 11 April, Charles Clarke MP was quoted in the EVENING NEWS as saying: “I strongly support the campaigns against the closures of Vauxhall Street and Rosary Road [Post Offices].”

This remark contrasts with his actual voting record in Parliament:

These sites show Charles Clarke’s actual voting record on Post Offices. Mr. Clarke also spoke to a reporter at the EVENING NEWS on March 20th, as follows: “Mr. Clarke has distanced himself from criticising the cuts. He added: “I don’t think closing branches is a bad thing.”


Said Cllr. Rupert Read, Green MEP-candidate for Eastern Region: “Charles Clarke’s record proves that he is NOT against the closure of post offices. We in Norwich Green Party say that Mr. Clarke has started misleading the public about his views on post offices, during the last week or so. It is extremely unfortunate that Mr Clarke is misleading the public about his stance on Post Offices for the sake of local popularity at election time.”

Cllr. Read continued: “The only Party that can be trusted not to close Norwich Post Offices is the Green Party. Because we actually believe in local services. And the record of our MEPs on this shows the difference between us and other Parties, in this crucial respect.”



A canvassing tale from Norwich

Eminent Cambridge Green Party blogger Jim Jepps blogs here on one of the spicier moments of his visit to Norwich this weekend, to help us win big on May 1st…
He is now sitting across the dining room table from me drinking a cup of tea and eating a biscuit; we’ve been prevented from canvassing further this afternoon by a sudden thunderstorm.
He tells me that his experience this afternoon and yesterday has convinced him that Norwich people are not, as had been led to believe, inveterately eccentric!