The Green Party

Wealden District

Our Policy Priorities

Now is the time to take action.

With extreme weather events in every part of the world in the news every day, action to address the climate emergency has never been more urgent and important. Help us continue to push for local action.

The Green Party now has two councillors on Wealden District Council, four councillors on East Sussex County Council as well as Town and Parish councillors. All our councillors are working hard to get local government to step up and meet the scale of the challenge facing us.

Our policy priorities put people and the natural environment first – and challenge the widely-held belief that we can achieve the necessary transformation through ‘business as usual’.


Our Promise To You

The Green Party believe in the importance of integrity and honesty, that's why we promise we will always:

  • Tell the truth about what we can and can’t do
  • Listen to residents and understand what they need
  • Be prepared to do things differently
  • Focus on quality services - and getting it right first time
  • Provide open and honest communication with residents

Here in Wealden we have six key focus areas

1. Protecting Wealden’s natural environment

For now and future generations: Wealden’s forests, rivers, coast and farmland are its crown jewels. They are essential to current and future residents, and are a huge draw to visitors, a basis for many livelihoods and locally-produced food. In many different ways, Wealden’s natural environment is under attack and the Green Party will champion and protect this irreplaceable treasure.

Action areas:

  • Protect Ashdown Forest from encroaching development, protect its habitats and its funding
  • Protect our green spaces, promote rewilding and biodiversity
  • Push for repair of flood defences and support action for cleaner rivers and waterways
  • Take action creating wildflower verges, tackle litter, eradicate avoidable pesticide and herbicide use



2. Sustainable transport and safer roads

Safe, sustainable travel: We need to develop an integrated approach to road planning, public transport and active travel that encourages people to exercise and which reduces the impact of cars and other road traffic.

Action areas:

  • Developing Wealden’s public transport networks with better rural bus services to reduce reliance on private cars; promote re-opening of railway lines where feasible.
  • Promoting infrastructure for sustainable transport, such as EV charging points, dedicated cycle lanes and advocating for EV buses.
  • Promoting safe and active travel: safer cycle paths and maintained footpaths; more pavements in villages and towns so people can walk safely.
  • Campaigning for speed control such as 20’s Plenty speed limit in built-up areas
  • Improving quality and value for money of road resurfacing and pothole repair


3. Joined-up planning and housing policies

Need not greed: Wealden faces a crisis of affordability, not a shortage of housing. Communities are landed with unwanted developments of expensive homes, some of which encroach on protected areas. Some of these developments are badly located and lack the necessary infrastructure.We need a joined-up approach to planning, development and house-building that addresses the crisis of affordability and protects Wealden’s countryside and communities.

Action areas:

  • Challenging housing targets imposed by central government; and supporting the council, housing co-operatives and non-profits to provide affordable and appropriate housing.
  • Preventing development in protected areas such as Ashdown Forest and AONBs and where there is insufficient access to public transport, amenities and work.
  • Tackling the problem of affordability and Wealden’s empty homes, speculative “investment” homes and second homes
  • Enforcing sustainable standards for new builds, providing incentives for low energy housing and sustainable retrofits

4. Building a sustainable ‘wellbeing economy’

Beyond growth and business as usual: Our society can’t carry on with “business as usual”. We need to stop focusing on endless growth, which is unsustainable: we must prioritise wellbeing, jobs, and reducing carbon emissions and resource use.

Action areas:

  • Promote wellbeing and green job creation, not endless economic “growth”; channel council spending power towards job creation, environmental sustainability and climate adaptation
  • Push for the County Council pension fund to speed up the programme of divestment from fossil fuels; and support Wealden’s businesses to reach net zero by 2030
  • Local ‘resource and circular economy centres’, such as the one we hope to pilot in Forest Row, to encourage reduction, re-use and recycling; encourage and support local Repair Cafes
  • Local energy cooperatives and sustainable generation encouraged


5. Fairness in education and social care

Inclusive, affordable services: Our focus will be on ensuring equitable access to services and taking a future-facing view. In health and social care the emphasis will be on prevention; in education in developing training in the green economy.

Action areas:

  • We will champion preventative care, making changes in support provision to enable more people to live safely and independently for longer.
  • We will seek to promote inclusive services, improve access for those with special educational needs, disabilities and all those who have been excluded
  • We will push for investment in young people’s futures, promoting school and training opportunities in the green jobs of the future and the social care sector
  • We will listen to service users, locals and communities to make sure the ESCC gets it right; and we will push for better pay, status, training and management of social care workers



6. Preparing Wealden for climate shocks

Resilience and preparedness: How would Wealden cope with a prolonged heatwave or drought? How well are we prepared for heavy rain and flooding? What can we do now to prepare for the impact of climate change? Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council have both declared a climate emergency and now need to increase ambition to reach zero carbon as soon as possible.

Action areas:

  • We will campaign with enhanced urgency for local government  to research, plan and prepare for an uncertain future, looking at the latest evidence best practice
  • We will encourage emergency preparedness structures in towns and villages.
  • We will engage with researchers and experts to help Wealden’s farmers adapt and prepare
  • We will push for active preparedness for drought and flooding and other climate risks
  • We will seek to encourage local and community-focused horticulture and make food security a priority
  • We will encourage local farmers’ markets and produce sales to minimise food miles