Thank you to all the constituents who joined my online Climate Consultation on Wednesday 30 June at 11am and to Shadow Environment Minister Ruth Jones MP, who was able to take part in the first part of the discussion.
Here are the notes of what was discussed:
Online Climate Consultation
On 30thJune, I organised a virtual Climate Consultation with my constituents as I wanted to hear their thoughts and concerns on the Government’s Environment Bill and to understand what they believe is needed to tackle the climate emergency. My colleague Ruth Jones MP, Shadow Environment Minister, co-chaired the discussion.
To abide by the UN’s 1.5-degree target and stay within the Paris Agreement, we need the Government to outline how it will act today. Not next week or next year, but we need strong action now. Ruth highlighted Mr Johnson’s feeble climate budget announcement of just £4 billion, compared to President Biden’s $800 billion, our budget is extremely disappointing and will not go far enough. Labour wants £30 billion of new money for the climate – we would invest in sustainable homes, green jobs, and green industries.
The Environment Bill is the most important piece of legislation that must be passed before the UK hosts COP26. Unfortunately, the Conservatives would rather play party politics than pass a serious and competent Bill. They have been voting against every single Labour amendments and committee contributions. For example, we called for a fracking ban, stronger air quality rules and independent powers to the OEP (Office for Environmental Projection). I believe that the Government is wholly unprepared for the challenges ahead – how will it tackle polluted rivers and lakes; how will it protect biodiversity and animals, and when will it properly invest in its tree planting scheme?
I also heard from my constituents on local issues concerning the environment. We discussed:
- The possibility for all governmental departments to have green budgets
- The reliance onincinerators instead of recycling in London
- More funding for the purchasing of electric cars and charging points, as well as public transport
- Introducing Natural History GCSE and more inter-subject discussion on climate change and the environment. The opportunity for a panel debate on the climate emergency for sixth formers
- The world of work and sustainability, in particular for carers and the social care system – this would look at sustainable local transport, support for burn-out, better pay and working conditions and the active involvement of trade unions
- Sustainable housing, including the over-heating of homes, and the Government’s pulling out of the Green Homes Grant
- Monitoring the Low-Traffic Neighbourhood scheme so it does not discriminate against those who rely on cars or that it does not push traffic to other areas
- Better protection of local trees – this includes protecting existing trees and improving the tree planting scheme. I will be doing a tree walk with the Woodland Trust next month, and will share an invitation to anyone interested in joining
One of the most interesting points discussed throughout the call was the importance of national and local climate justice – making sure that any green new deal doesn’t discriminate against the most vulnerable members of our society. My constituents want a fair and just climate transition – we must ensure that people are able to retrain in new, green industries and are not left behind.