Events in Europe and around the world in the last few weeks have shown that Climate Change is here. Some of scientist’s worst predication are coming to pass and its impact is worse than most believed it would be. Greece and Southern Italy have fought wildfires, while Northern Italy suffered rainstorms and hail. North Africa and Iran became oven hot and in America cities like Phoenix had conditions that were almost unliveable. In Arizona, even the cacti died in the heat. The Antarctic sea ice reached never seen before low levels during their winter. Clearly more action is needed now than ever. Humanity and Earth itself is facing unprecedented climate and potential ecological collapse.
What was our government’s response to this unprecedented weather? To issue over 100 new licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, attack Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, announcing a review into them, criticise ULEZ schemes and introduce restrictions on local authorities’ ability to implement 20mph zones near schools.
These latest policies are out of touch and damaging, they represent a new low for the short-sighted and short-term government under Rishi Sunak. The government refuses to take the Climate Emergency seriously, just like they refuse to take the cost of living crisis seriously, and just like they refuse to take the strikes in the NHS and across other industries seriously. They are risking our international reputation as leading on climate change and carbon neutrality. Once again, they are making Britain a laughingstock.
Policies like Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 20mph speed limits are not just about reducing pollution and car usage. They are also about increasing safety on our roads. They are so vital outside schools. Someone hit by a car at 30mph has a 20% (1 in 5) chance of being killed, a person being hit by a car at 35mph has a 33% (1 in 3) chance of being killed. This reduces significantly at 20mph. Someone going at 20 mph is also more likely to be able to stop in time, meaning that no collision happens at all.
In Nottingham, we take the Climate Emergency seriously. We know the impact it will have for the residents in Nottingham, and for everyone across the globe. We are committed to the ambitious target of Carbon Neutrality by 2028. We believe in increasing public transport, not car usage. We have the best public transport system outside of London in the UK. Our publicly-owned bus company and tram network ensure that residents can get around the city affordably and quickly. Our District Heating system provides energy for homes across the city, by burning our waste products. Over 50% of Council vehicles are Ultra Low Emission Vehicles and we have the highest number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points per head of population for any UK city. We have 11 School Streets blocking through-traffic to encourage walking or cycling to schools.
Since 2019 we have planted 24,000 trees and we plan to plant thousands more. We have been recognised as one of the top 120 cities in the world for climate action by a leading not-for-profit charity which focuses on climate disclosure and action. It was also one of the pledges in Nottingham Labour’s manifesto that we will continue to reduce air pollution by campaigning for electrification of the railways and reducing motor transport on our streets.
We want to continue to be a leading city in terms of green policies and working towards Carbon Neutrality. Nottingham stands at the forefront of local authorities seeking to mitigate the impact of Climate Change and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Nottingham Labour is wholeheartedly committed to this. It is the only way we can provide the best future to our young people. The actions of the government are reckless and will have an impact for years and decades to come. They are playing with our futures for short-term electoral benefit. It is no way any serious government would act.