Bristol Green Capital 2015

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So how was it for you?

For George Ferguson the high point of 2015 was “having the privilege of representing Bristol as European Green Capital and star city at the successful Paris Climate Summit”. Well I’m really pleased you had a good time in Paris George, particularly as my taxes paid for it.

Personally I found our Green Capital year pointless and frustrating. When Stephen Williams got £7m from the government for Bristol, I had high hopes. We have a huge array of talent in the City. I understand Bristol West is supposed to have more Ph.Ds living in it than any other constituency. We ought to have made a real difference, but we didn’t.

I first heard about neighbourhood grants when I went to the Bishopston Neighbourhood partnership meeting on 11th September 2014. Unfortunately when I investigated I found that the deadline for applications in Bishopston was September 5th! Other places had longer submission periods but none more than six weeks away.

I had several ideals I should liked to have submitted but like most citizens I was excluded. There are some new wind turbines that are supposed to work in urban areas. Would’t it have been useful to get one and test it out? If I could have demonstrated it was cost effective how many others might have copied my example?

The biggest environmental problem we have is climate change. Transport is a big user of fossil fuels so anything that reduces fuel use would be worth investigating.

I should have liked to bring to Bristol a Denby Ecco trailer to show what is possible. This claims to reduce fuel use by artics by up to 15.8% and is in use in the Netherlands but blocked here. It would also be very good to demonstrate ULTRa PRT – after all it was designed here. However the criteria for transport in the small grants only allowed proposals to encourage “active transport such as walking and cycling” which will make no significant difference to climate change. So that excluded anything that would really make a difference.

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Never mind they gave £37,500 to Bristol Ensemble for Treesong Bristol 2015. A project: “To create music from fruit falling from a tree – will be set up as a public display and a series of performances”. They chose a nut tree. Unfortunately the only “nuts” were the ones looking up and wondering where the nuts were!

We could make a real impact on climate change and Bristol with a modern 21st century transport system. The problem is that the people in charge refuse to look at anything invented later than 1900. I have long dreamed of organising a Festival of Future Transport to show the people of Bristol all the fantastic new ideals that are available.

£50,000 from the capital grants fund would be just the job. However I didn’t find out about these grants until 14th October. You had to register your intention to bid by 10th October and the full bid had to be in by 5th November. Even if I had known about these deadlines in September it would have been impossible to put together a bid for a project like the Festival of Future Transport in the time available.

I tried complaining about this to the Council. They sent me a letter saying I could still have applied even though I didn’t register an intent by 10th October as long as it was by the final date, 5th November. Unfortunately they wrote to me in March!

They gave £50,000 to the People’s Republic of Stoke Croft to: “Install shipping
containers at the Bearpit roundabout in Bristol and encourage local
artists to debate green issues through art form and growing produce on
site”. Much better value than a Festival of Future Transport I have to agree.

I could go on and on but this sounds like a rant already. Well it is a rant. The planet is cooking and we have been treated to ridiculous stunts like shining green searchlights at the suspension bridge and enveloping Pero’s bridge in mist. There is more chance of an Indian Rain-dance ending a drought than there is of shining green searchlights helping to combat climate change.

Worse we do not even know where all the money has gone. The £7m from government and £1.2m from the City Council was put into Bristol 2015 Ltd. As a private company this is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act or to scrutiny by our Councillors. It’s absolutely scandalous.

George Ferguson shouldn’t be wearing red trousers he should be wearing a bright red face!

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