Caroline Russell

Bright Green is offering all the candidates standing to be on the Green Party’s list for the 2024 London Assembly election the opportunity to set out why they are standing and their vision for London. This article is published as part of that series. The full series of articles can be found here.

Sian Berry and I were joined on the Assembly by Zack Polanski in 2021 and we are determined that we can grow the City Hall team again in 2024.

Our job is to scrutinise the work of the Mayor of London and his £19 billion budget. He’s responsible for Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, the London Fire Brigade and has big budgets to support environment, economy, equalities, public health, arts, adult education, housing and more.

Working with Londoners, Green Assembly Members expose gaps in the Mayor’s policies and propose good Green ideas, which he sometimes picks up.

I’m Leader of the City Hall Greens, and in my six years on the Assembly so far, I’ve shown I can get things done.

Ever since I persuaded the Mayor to declare a climate emergency, I’ve been exposing the gaps in his plans to meet his 2030 climate targets.

It was me that pointed out that Transport for London, one of the biggest consumers of power in the UK, used just 0.01% renewable energy and asked the Mayor to start using power purchase agreements to bring new renewable energy generation projects on stream.

I’m now on the budget and performance committee and still chasing down power purchase agreements through the Mayor’s new climate budgeting process.

This year, my budget scrutiny has revealed that the Olympic Park is dependent on a fossil (gas) powered heat network to heat all homes and businesses and is facing catastrophic energy price hikes.

The Fire Brigade, who are at the sharp end of floods and wild fires, are on top of their climate targets with a clear plan to replace fossil fuelled vehicles and all gas boilers on the Fire Brigade estate. The Met Police on the other hand have clearly not thought through the risks to their operations of failing to meet their climate targets.

I’ve been leading on policing for the Green group since May 2021, since when there’s been a shocking series of revelations starting with the deception, kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer that have shown that the Metropolitan Police Service needs fundamental reform of recruitment, vetting, safeguarding and training processes.

I’ve held the police to account for their shocking strip searching of black children, disproportionate criminalisation of young black men and their disgraceful culture of misogyny, racism and homophobia.

I’ve made the case for a zero murder target for London, just like we have a vision zero target for death and serious injury on our roads and campaigned to stop the Met showing scary knife images on their social media as young people and academics say it can be harmful, even prompting some young people to “upgrade their tools”

As Health Committee Chair last year, I delivered reports on drug harm reduction, access to everyday healthcare for trans and gender diverse people, and the woeful state of public toilet provision in London.

I’m currently working with Age UK London campaigners pointing out the urgent need for more toilets. This is a public health issue and a real cause of loneliness as people go out less if they are not confident they’ll find a loo when they need one.

I’ve been meeting with the RCN to help boost their campaigns for free or more affordable transport and housing costs. Nurses on the picket line the week before last were crystal clear in calling for free travel like police officers get. We included a fully costed proposal for free travel for student nurses in our budget amendment last week, but sadly it was voted down by other parties.

I’m proud of London Greens and the great campaigning going on right now, as people vie for a place on the ordered list of Green candidates that determines who gets elected by the proportional part of the London elections in 2024.

Choosing the team to contest the Assembly election next year is a huge responsibility and with just days of voting left, there are plenty of Green Party members in London who are yet to have their say.

I would love to serve another term on the Green Assembly team working with Londoners, campaigners and Green councillors to make this a fairer, safer and greener city.

And I hope London Greens will look at my track record, experience, passion and commitment and place me at the top of the Green Party’s London Assembly list.

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now donate to Bright Green now.