Motorists with polluting vehicles could face charges to enter the city centre under plans unveiled by the Greens.

The party, which today launched its manifesto for this year's local elections, pledged to expand Brighton and Hove's ultra-low emission zone if it gains majority control of the council in May.

The party is looking to secure the UK’s first-ever majority Green council.

In a launch event at the party’s headquarters in Surrey Street, Brighton, the Green Party encouraged voters to “vote Green for action” and unveiled plans to tackle issues facing the city, including the climate crisis, inequality, health and the economy.

Phelim Mac Cafferty, leader of the city council and of the Green group, said the party had taken control of the council amid challenging circumstances, particularly the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

“Greens are making the tough decisions to keep our city moving forward, making the best of a bad situation and stretching every penny,” he said.

The Argus:

One priority for the party is to tackle air pollution, with the Greens proposing to expand the current ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) into a London-style zone to create a "liveable city centre".

Currently, the low-emission zone affects buses only and requires them to comply with the "Euro 5 emission standard". It stretches from Castle Square, along North Street and Western Road to Palmeira Square.

Deputy council leader Hannah Allbrooke pointed out the poor air quality in city centre roads such as North Street and said the party's commitments would help make streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Cllr Allbrooke said: "The London-style zone would mean you enter the zone and you charge - that's what we would be looking at.

"We have been looking at what a liveable city would look like and where that would be placed and how we would do that. It is expanding something we have started the initial work on, but have not yet been able to deliver."

Details about how much drivers would be charged and where the zone would cover have yet to be decided.

Some of the party’s other commitments include:

  • Building 800 more sustainable council homes by 2028
  • Improving recycling by introducing a food waste collection and moving to weekly recycling collections
  • Ending the “long delays” in redeveloping the King Alfred Sports Centre by building a new sports facility in the west of the city
  • Supporting tourism and key tourist destinations in the city to ensure their regeneration schemes are a success.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said the party’s councillors have been firmly focused on the important issues affecting the city.

He said: “Protecting the most vulnerable, creating jobs, opportunities and apprenticeships, helping to build a cleaner, healthier and greener city fit for the future.

“Our manifesto demonstrates just some of what we’ve managed to do in only two years.

“Imagine what Greens could achieve over the next four.

“When you vote Green on May 4, you vote for action: action on the climate crisis and for a fairer Brighton and Hove.”

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The Greens are the latest of the three main parties represented on the city council to unveil their manifesto, with Labour pledging to create a “better Brighton and Hove for all” and the Conservatives offering voters “ten good reasons” to back the party in May.

Voters go the polls on May 4 to elect the city’s 54 councillors for the next four years.