Saturday, 8 August 2009

Bristol Greenwash Companion

Thanks to a comment by Tim in the Greenwash Corner post I tracked down a copy of the Green Companion, delivered as an insert in the current issue of Venue magazine. It was marked 'free' (i.e. already paid for by we tax payers) so it was with a clear conscience that I liberated a copy from Borders for later perusal.

The Green Companion is published by the Bristol Green Capital Initiative whose website is, which is sponsored by The Bristol Partnership, who are, er, we don't know because their web site refers to an executive board but neglects to tell us who they are. Minor details I know and only a carping critic like me would try to make anything of such trivial omissions. It seems the website is due to be revamped because we find this tucked away on the site -
We apologise for the inconvenience caused and look forward to introducing you to the new Bristol Partnership website in the near future.

Jon House
Deputy Chief Executive
Bristol City Council

Last Updated: 20th November

The "near future" since last November doesn't seem to include the subsequent 9 months so it looks like we're dealing with local government here, as the name of the Sheffield policeman who now trousers £140k of our taxes each year confirms. Interestingly we also find this -
Last March, we commissioned a review of the Bristol Partnership, which gave us some hard messages. Since then we have been working hard to make the changes required but at the same time keep the work going.
Hard messages? Like you're totally dysfunctional and a pointless waste of tax payers' money? Of course we, who merely paid for this review, have no business knowing what it said, but we can all guess (but see later edit). I wonder if concealing details of who the Bristol Partnership are is one of the "changes required".

What about the Green Capital Initiative then. Do we know who they are? The website seems to confirm that it is merely part of the Bristol Partnership and the only clue we have as to who runs it comes from the contact list, a bunch of bureaucrats ensconced safely out of the way at the Create-a-job Centre on the city's western fringe.

Anyway back to the Green Companion. What's that about? Firstly it's not about asking questions and provoking debate. The 'Resources' section refers to a variety of nice, fluffy 'green' websites that won't trouble your cerebral cortex with anything more taxing than reading familiarly soothing words and half-baked notions of greenness like ecojam, bristol streets and the create centre. You certainly won't find a reference to this blog, the Bristol Blogger, Bristol Traffic or anyone else asking awkward questions and encouraging people to think for themselves.

But look who we do find with pride of place in the 'Money' section of the Green Companion, none other than Hargreaves Lansdown, whose co-founders Steve Lansdown and Peter Hargreaves have prominent local profiles. Steve Lansdown of course has green plans to build a new stadium for Bristol City Football Club on greenbelt land and to turn the existing stadium site into a giant Tesco Extra supermarket with 600 car parking spaces which many locals fear will undermine the viability of that ungreen anachronism from the pre-car shopping era - North Street.

Later edit. Thanks to a link provided in the comment below by the Bristol Blogger we now have access to a copy of the 'peer' review of the Bristol Partnership - here. There was no link provided on the Bristol Partnership website as per normal practice so I wrongly concluded that it wasn't available to public scrutiny.


Anonymous said...

More info' on the 2008 I&DEA report into the Bristol Partnership here (with link to full report):


"An early decision has been taken to 'stand down' the current Bristol Partnership team during this review period to September/ October 2008."

Last I heard the relaunch utterly failed and they've employed some director at huge expense to sort the mess out. Although so far only silence ...

Al Shaw said...

Great stuff, as always.

MJ Ray said... is marginally better, but the Partnership appears to be near-totally resistant to participation in my experience. I went to one event and since then have heard nothing, even when I've asked questions.