Author Archives: Sarah

Green party campaigners protest to save trees at Aldi site in Deal

East Kent Mercury press clipping May 2018

East Kent Mercury press clipping May 2018

Environmentalists held a small demonstration in the car park on the proposed new Aldi store in a bid to save nine mature trees.

The German chain plans to remove the features to make way for its brand new 1,254 sqm supermarket and 128 space car park on the current Co-op site in Park Street, Deal.

In a stand against this, members of Deal and Dover Green Party held a “love-in” where they tied messages to the trees and handed out leaflets to shoppers.

Green Party parliamentary candidate for the area, Beccy Sawbridge, said: “It’s not about not wanting the supermarket there but making sure these trees aren’t unnecessarily taken away.

“Trees do so much for us to protect our increasingly fragile eco system.

“Given that these mature trees already have Tree Preservation Order’s on them, people were astonished and rather angry that Aldi seemed to feel justified in chopping them down.

“It’s important to remember we share this earth.”

The activists argue that the mature trees currently in existence – one oak, two lime, two beech and six sycamore – are not only loved for their visual amenity but because they all also help clean the air, contribute to people’s health, help save energy and benefit wildlife.

They feel in the rush for development, Deal would lose some of its character.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We agree that trees have many benefits for an area, and where possible we will maintain existing trees and plant new trees within our proposed development in Deal.

“As part of the planning application submission we will provide an assessment of the existing trees on site. Whilst nine trees are proposed to be removed to allow the Aldi development to come forward, Aldi will be replacing these with 13 mature specimens throughout the site, w’hich will be supported by the required infrastructure to allow them to grow successfully within the car park and ensure their longevity.

“Overall, the additional trees and landscaping proposed, in addition to the introduction of a modem and highly sustainable Aldi building, will regenerate the site and enhance the local Conservation Area setting. We are delighted that an overwhelming number of local people have already shown their support for the proposals and can’t wait for Aldi to open.”

Aldi will submit a planning application to Dover District Council this month. If it is granted the store will open during 2019.

Let’s work together for better air quality in the Dover District

In November 2017, our Dover and Deal Green Party campaigners put up air quality monitors outside four primary schools in Deal and five primary schools in Dover. Then they took the nitrogen dioxide results to the professionals at Dover District Council (DDC).

“We are very aware that deaths attributable to air pollution in the UK, at 8% of the annual death rate, are higher than in neighbouring countries, it is an issue that we need to work on together.” Commented campaigner Liz Hayes.

The campaigners had a very constructive meeting at Whitfield on 18 December. The DDC environmental protection team keep careful records of the two Air Quality Management Areas in Dover:

  • along the A20 from Aycliffe to the Gateway
  • and outside the old Town Hall.

Both areas continue to show levels that breach legal limits.

The DDC team are preparing to consult and draw up a new action plan to improve air quality in Dover in early 2018. Details will soon be available on how local groups such as  local Green Party campaigners can participate in the consultation.

On behalf of the local Green Party, Sarah Gleave / Christine Oliver / Liz Hayes said,

“Our one-off sampling is not the same as longer-term sampling, and none of our readings were above the legal limits, however our highest four readings were above the 20 micrograms /m3 that are the World Health Organisation’s recommended maximum levels to avoid harm to health.”

Three of these four higher readings are from primary school streets which are outside the AQMAreas that DDC monitor.  Our four highest readings were from:

  • Barton Road, near Charlton and Barton Primary schools, 32micrograms /m3 ;
  • London Road, Sholden, Deal, outside Sholden Primary school, 26micrograms /m3;
  • St David’s Road near Aycliffe Primary school, 22 micrograms /m3
  • Western Road, Deal outside Sandown Primary School, 21 micrograms /m3   

Two of the measures recommended to reduce air pollution caused by traffic:

  • speedy replacement of diesel cars, lorries and buses with better scrappage schemes
  • the introduction of no-idling zones.

In Dover the number of freight vehicles who keep their engines running while stationary, in cold or hot weather adds significantly to air pollution in the town. Also, the lack of good public transport and zero emissions transport options on new out-of-town developments are making pollution levels worse.

Tom Clother, of the local Green Party said,

“The Port of Dover could help by:

  1. making the lorry parks on the port, no-idling zones and
  2. by replacing their commercial fleet with electric vehicles. 

Many private car owners are aware that children’s lungs are particularly vulnerable and switch the ignition off to protect young lungs. 

Many of our supporters are parents of young families and have said they would buy plug-in electric cars if only there were some electric charging points in the District.

Another form of protection for schools with playgrounds on busy roads is to plant street trees as a living barrier.  We’d be very happy to work with community groups and across party lines to lobby for some solid improvements on this issue; prevention is better than cure!”. 

What does Brexit mean for live animal exports?

Written by Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP, Autumn 2017

Live exports are barbaric; treating beautiful and sentient animals as ‘goods’ no different from a bottle of whiskey or bar of chocolate. Greens want to see it banned outright.

“Animals exported live for slaughter and breeding often travel great distances, for days at a time, in confined spaces, and suffer great distress, dehydration, disease, fatigue, and injury.”

Live transportation and the suffering it wreaks is entirely unnecessary. Current European Union legislation provides protections for animals in transit. But they become problematic when the destination is outside of the European Union.

EU regulations, for example, make it illegal for pigs to be kept in confined sow stalls when travelling within Europe, but not once they cross EU borders.

Recently, there has been a buzz of excitement amongst some British animal welfare activists who believe leaving the EU might finally offer an opportunity to ban live exports outright. Greens are the first to acknowledge that the rules of the Single Market are a barrier to banning the industry outright.

In theory, therefore, the argument is that leaving the Single Market would mean the UK is free to ban live animal exports. The Government, proponents say, would then have to listen to the overwhelming majority of British people who support such a ban.

It’s a tempting scenario, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Ignoring the disastrous economic consequences and the loss of vital environmental, workers’ rights and even animal welfare protections — if Theresa May pursues an extreme Brexit — Britain will become an independent member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

As a member of the WTO, it is as likely — if not more likely — that live animal exports will increase rather than decrease. The WTO governs the conditions, rules, and regulation of trade between countries.

There is currently no means by which WTO members can restrict trade on animal welfare grounds.”

Much like the EU’s Single Market, WTO membership enshrines the principles of free
movement of trade — including live animals. Any attempts to ban live exports, therefore,
can be swept aside.

Other WTO member states, particularly those that profit from live exports, can also challenge any proposed ban if they see it as a barrier to trade. It is the WTO that stops the EU from banning the import of eggs from barren battery cages, despite the cruel farming practice being banned across the EU.

The best thing that we, as passionate, animal-loving Brits, can do is to continue fighting
to strengthen animal welfare standards as members of the EU. We already have the necessary legislative tools at our disposal to help us in the fight — they were a gift from the EU, afforded to us by virtue of our membership.

The EU-wide #StopTheTrucks campaign is calling on the EU Commission to review and update transport regulations. Ultimately, the campaign demands that the trade in live animals be replaced with a trade in meat.

Until that happens, they are calling for the duration of any live transports to be
capped at eight hours — an effective ban on live exports from the UK. Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands have all submitted an official request in support of the campaign and, so far, the campaign’s online petition has garnered the signatures of over a million EU citizens.

EU legislation has significantly improved on-farm conditions for millions of animals, from banning veal crates and sow stalls to stopping the use of barren battery cages; we can’t afford to lose these protections.

We are stronger working with our friends and neighbours, and we can — and should — continue to fight as part of the EU with the strength that our membership brings.

Sign the UK petition now: the issue will be debated in parliament on 28 February 2018.

Join us and stand against Live Animal Transport

There is a EU-wide campaign  of the Euro Group for Animals on The petition already has over 1 million signatures across Europe, and is officially supported by Austria, Denmark, German and the Netherlands.

Sign the UK petition now: the UK government will debate it on 28 February 2018.

Recent campaigning by Greens on this issue

  • our South East Green MEP Keith Taylor has been pushing Westminster to support the ban, and took action in Strasbourg.
  • Caroline Lucas attended the Stop Live Transport Demo in London on 13 September.

Dover and Deal Green Party sends support and respect to the valiant campaigners demonstrating in East Kent and Thanet. The Great Repeal Bill of this Government failed to include animal welfare protection regulations of the E.U.

As Keith Taylor MEP says, “live animal transport is barbaric. We need to fight it tooth and nail.”

Caroline Lucas campaigning to Stop Live Transport at a demonstration in London, in September 2017.

Let’s work together on Clean Air

Four sites in Dover scored 8 out of 10 for bad air quality in a BBC pollution warning last July. To help improve the situation, can you help us raise £200 to pay for 10 NO2 air monitors for Dover and Deal, and some particulate matter ones?

We spoke to Dover District Council back in March 2017, to discuss ways to reduce car use and encourage a switch to low emission vehicles.

Dover district has no working electric charging points for cars – Maidstone has 14. Canterbury Green Party with Canterbury Clean Air have taken effective action recently and we’d like to take a leaf out of their book! Please help us if you can – thank you!

This graphic was part of a BBC pollution warning in July 2017. It shows 4 sites in Dover with 8 of 10 for bad air quality.

Please don’t vote for cruel, callous, chaotic extremist Conservatives

Beccy Sawbridge, your local Green Party candidate

Vote for Beccy Sawbridge, your local Green Party candidate

Text of letter sent in to East Kent Mercury:

An irresponsible Conservative government must not be given more power at Westminster in June; our rich country is already the most unequal on this continent.

Beccy and her election agent, Sarah  went with an East Kent Greenpeace delegation to the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015 and demonstrated with tens of thousands of others representing communities worldwide.

The Green Party believes that the dangers to life on Earth have never been more urgent. Civil society, communities, church groups, NGOs and many businesses and unions are stepping up to the plate, to divest fast from fossil fuels, to create an economy for the future and to mitigate the horror for those on the sharp end of climate change.

However, the Conservative Govt at Westminster is siding with Big Oil multinational corporations to protect ‘stranded assets’; while expert scientists worldwide warn of a species collapse.

After Brexit, we want a new Environmental Protection Act and a reformed farming subsidy that puts sustainable, humane agriculture first.

The Conservatives, who brook no democratic opposition, side with privatising healthcare companies and tried to delay the weak, new air pollution regulations until the judges stood up against early deaths and for the health of the people.

Let’s think of future generations and oppose the Conservative stranglehold on our democracy.

The Green Party nationally had 10% of the votes that the Conservatives had in 2015.  If we had a fair voting system, the Green Party would have had 10% of the 330 MPs the Conservatives have had at Westminster; the voice of 20 -30 Green MPs at Westminster to speak out for life on Earth; for a fairer Britain.

We could turn Dover district Green

For the first time, everyone in Dover district will have a chance to vote Green Party in the KCC ELECTIONS on 4 May 2017.

Currently in Dover District, there are no Green Party councillors at Town, District or County level. We think it is time to change that.

Our five candidates

  • Sandwich, Eastry and villages – Aidan Shanks.
  • Deal and Walmer – John Lonsdale.
  • Dover North villages – Nick Fox.
  • Dover Town – Beccy Sawbridge.
  • Dover West villages – Sarah Gleave

Working together for a brighter future

For the last 2 years your local Green Party activists have been working hard on local community initiatives with progressive councillors.

The two big parties are strongly against us getting any representation at all. But we stand with voters who want to be heard not herded by bigger parties more interested in Westminster power-grabs.


Hooray, a chance for the Dover constituency to rid itself of that false, deluding young man. The right Charlie who became our MP in 2010.

The majority didn’t vote for him in 2010 or 2015. Over 28,000 didn’t vote for him and around 22,000 did.

Most of us are less than keen on the far-right and very risky directions taken by the Conservatives since 2015.

This conservative government is seen as grossly irresponsible by people across the political spectrum. From our valued NATO allies to Lord Heseltine and Ken Clark, and all the way across the opposition benches.

Together we can rid ourselves on the 8th June of MPs on the government benches like Charlie. They schmooze with city speculators, plan the slimming of our state, and pretend not to be imposing harsh and divisive austerity measures with their ‘universal credit’. They pretend they’re not rapidly privatising our NHS.

Yes, it is irresponsible to pretend that 250 acres can solve the mayhem for Dover of Britain leaving the customs union in 2019.

Can those of us in the majority, who long for a much more responsible government, and a much more accountable Westminster, find a way to work together? Towards some real ‘One nation’, progressive policies? So that the next generation may inherit a fairer Britain, respected by its allies once again?

We should look into the influence of Big Oil and Putin on our policy-makers, like the US senate has been doing. It is divisive at Easter time to be playing party politics with our beliefs. Politics isn’t a game Teresa, not for the powerless amongst us.

Suggestions to prevent ‘stack’

Scenic Dover deserves infrastructure money much more than London – so Westminster should spend London Green Bridge money here.

We Greens called for a shallow greened-over tunnel from A20 Western Heights / Aycliffe to Eastern docks for freight last year- like the A3 Hindhead tunnel or the M25 Bell common. Air pollution could be taken from tunnel out to sea. A better plan would diversify and redirect freight across the southeast using more ports, and by using RAIL links.

Big new roads and developments are just starting along A2 near Whitfield – If they want to put more freight on A2 it would need a fly-over or under at Duke of York’s roundabout for local traffic.

Photo credit: By Barry Davis (originally posted to Flickr as Operation Stack) [CC BY 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The planned lorry park at Stanford will prevent much-needed sustainable, radical solutions being put in place. It would not reduce air pollution and eat up 250 acres of farmland.

Progressive Alliance; the alternative to destructive conservatives post referendum ?

Natalie Bennett our Green Party star who was national leader 2012 –16 came to speak in Deal on 21 November 2016 on this subject, at the  Astor Community Theatre.


There needs to be real constructive opposition and Caroline Lucas reached out to others in the Labour and Lib dem parties in July to suggest a Progressive Alliance. A cast iron commitment to making votes count, i.e. proportional representation is key.

A prog alliance would see discussions amongst Greens, Labour and LibDems in constituencies across the UK  in the lead up to the next General Election.

Libdem Vince Cable and Labour shadow minister Clive Lewis are some of the many who believe we need to come together for more accountable, inclusive govt than that  provided by the the risk-addicted conservatives. (The investigation of election expenses cheating in 29 conservative seats continues.)