Our speaker at the March meeting was Kevin Frea, who is a Deputy leader of Lancaster City Council, Council Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Rural Affairs and founder of Climate Emergency UK. Kevin pointed out that while 3/4 of UK councils have declared a climate emergency and 126 councils have set a target to reach zero carbon by 2030, for some it has been just words.
Interestingly the ambition to really put their money where their mouth is occurs across the political spectrum. Councils which have been ambitious and active include Lib Dem Cornwall, Labour Nottingham and Conservative Isle of Wight. Despite budget constraints councils like the above are doing what they can in areas they have control over such as social housing stock and public transport policy. Conservative led Wiltshire council, for instance, is building modular, zero carbon council homes, retrofitting older council homes and supporting housing associations to do the same.
The Conservative Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity at the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council here writes about the council’s Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan. And to top it all, borrowing a concept from the Cold War, Lewes and Amber Valley have joined Barcelona and Vancouver in signing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The sole focus of CCL UK remains to campaign and lobby for a national carbon pricing policy to render all other strategies possible and probable. We are convinced, however, after our successful experience in Wiltshire, that it is worthwhile to engage with your council and other local environmentalists.
Being involved in pushing council action ahead of the central government response can only help to persuade central government that the country is ready and willing to act on climate change with the most effective methods, including taxation! Some areas of the UK are holding citizen’s assemblies on climate change, and the clear message is that any transition must be fair…
Reshaping the economy to fight climate change must not result in making life “even harder” for disadvantaged communities. (Susie Ventris-Field, Climate.Cymru Campaign.
Campaigning with other local environmentalists can also help spread the word about the benefits of CF&D, and maybe even get your MP discussing the issue with Alok Sharma ahead of COP 26!