Climate Emergency Statement
speaking up for immediate action on energy, housing and transport, and in support of the NFU
Statement by Clara Douglas, Labour Party member in Axminster, to the East Devon District Council motion 26th July 2019:
“I am commenting on behalf of Honiton and Axe Valley Labour Party on the district council response to the Climate Change Emergency.
The County Council declaration states “we will lead in the global response”, but action cannot wait for its carbon foot-printing plan, which now know will take 18 months to develop. Radical policies are needed in times of crisis. Labour is calling upon this council to achieve measurable reductions in carbon emissions immediately by taking the following steps:
Energy: This council must use truly green energy providers, and must strongly encourage individuals and businesses in the district to use providers whose power is purchased directly from a renewable energy generator, and which retains the Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin. Otherwise those who think they are buying “green” are not contributing to additional renewable energy capacity; they are just making everybody else’s power more “brown” by the selling of certificates in the secondary market.
Housing: All new homes built from now on must be zero carbon by robust planning restriction. Insulation should be required in all homes and businesses. Photovoltaic systems generate income as well as saving gigawatts of carbon per year in the aggregate. I urge councillors to consider all of the climate change recommendations Labour made at the 27th February council meeting, including use of tidal energy.
Transport: This council must ensure all communities are served with regular, local bus services. Improving bus services in rural areas would not only boost communities but would also help the environment through reduced car use. Labour in government would reverse cuts to bus services, and provide free travel to those under 26. The district should create additional green cycle routes, like the Exmouth to Exeter one, for instance from Feniton to Sidmouth, or from Axminster to Seaton. Solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations should be provided throughout the district not just at council facilities: electric is only low-carbon if low carbon charging is provided. This council must lobby central government to improve train services to the South West.
Regular measurement must be built into today’s statement, and management accounting sleights of hand must be rigorously rejected. Also, climate action must not be a smokescreen for further ideological austerity measures.
Devon’s response can only be successful if action and expenditure is backed and coordinated by central government. East Devon is the farming heart, and stomach, of our country and all levels of government must help farmers achieve the National Farmers Union net zero carbon target of 2040. This means creating new environmental schemes like EnTrade and the Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme that are fit for purpose and simple to manage, and new businesses using more of the beautiful nature that makes us all so proud to live here.
Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution calls for an end to Austerity and provides for a public banking ecosystem that will give green businesses, infrastructure and industries of the future the funding they need.”