Portsmouth Tories vow to make city ‘the UK’s greenest’ with local election pledge

Claire Udy

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AMBITIONS to make Portsmouth the ‘greenest city in the UK’ have been tabled by the island’s Tory leadership as they ramp up their charge to remain in power.

Tories revealed their grand ‘Green City Pledge’ yesterday as they look to persuade residents to back them ahead of next month’s local elections.

Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP with Cllr. Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council during a visit to The LEP at Lakeside 1000 at North Harbour together with fellow Conservative Candidates for the Local Elections on May 3rd 2018. 'Picture by: Malcolm Wells

Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP with Cllr. Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council during a visit to The LEP at Lakeside 1000 at North Harbour together with fellow Conservative Candidates for the Local Elections on May 3rd 2018. 'Picture by: Malcolm Wells

And their grand vision received the backing of Britain’s transport secretary Chris Grayling, as he paid a visit to Portsmouth to endorse the plan.

City Conservative boss Donna Jones said many of the plans were already well underway, adding: ‘This is a really momentous day. We have been working up to this green pledge for the last two years.

‘This really is a commitment – a pledge – and an opportunity to really make Portsmouth the cleanest, greenest city in the UK.’

In the 15-page document, the Tories have vowed to tackle air pollution and look at ways of slashing the city’s energy usage, through the installation of LED street lights.

Recycling is also high up on the agenda, with Conservatives promising to negotiate a new deal to recycle more plastics than currently available, as well as ending single-use plastics in the city council by 2020.

Efforts will also be taken to protect the city’s natural habitats, from cleaning up the harbour with the use of ‘sea bins’ and other green initiatives, to working more closely with environmental groups to preserve green spaces.

Conservatives have promised to introduce a special planning document which they say will force developers to plant ‘super pollinating trees’.

Work will continue to try and cut the number of cars on the road from pumping out harmful toxins, by offering more points to charge electrical vehicles as well as launching a cycle hire scheme.

Tories also pledge to lobby Westminster to introduce legislation to make green policies easier to introduce locally.

However, city Lib Dem leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, was not convinced by the set of promises.

‘Of course there is cross-party to make Portsmouth a greener place,’ he said. ‘But this has got to be more than just warm words – there has to be action.

‘In four years they have made choices not to make Portsmouth cleaner.’

The local elections are on May 3.