Liberal Democrats looking to ‘greater powers’ to make Preston carbon neutral

Posted on - 13th July, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
Climate change activists in Fishergate Pic: Sandra Kirkman
Climate change activists in Fishergate Pic: Sandra Kirkman

The Liberal Democrats are looking to call to ‘greater powers’ to get Preston City Council to do more to become carbon neutral.

Cllr Debbie Shannon, Cadley ward, wants Preston City Council to tackle carbon emissions as figures show progress to cut UK emissions have slowed since 2016.

Cllr Shannon said: “The Liberal Democrats are fighting to tackle the climate emergency, and that includes here in Preston.

“We have our Green Guild City plan to help us achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, but as things stand we’ll struggle to even meet the 2050 deadline. 

“Local authorities are best placed to tackle the climate emergency in their area.”

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In Preston, emissions have fallen from 746.0 to 696.4 kt CO², which the Liberal Democrats state is not fast enough to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

“We are calling for the Government to give Preston the powers to take action on carbon emissions,” she added.

“This means powers to tackle congestion, invest in public transport, build affordable zero carbon homes, and create new green jobs.

“Whether that’s through ambitious targets for net zero carbon construction, the building of much needed integrated cycle networks or installing car charging points in every home.”

In April 2019, Preston City Council declared a climate emergency and looked to begin their involvement in helping to tackle the global issue.

The climate change march in Fishergate during Friday Pic: Jack Dinsley
Children took to the streets last year to push for more to be done in response to the climate emergency. Pic: Jack Dinsley

In response to the Liberal Democrats statement, Cllr Robert Boswell, Cabinet member for environment and community safety, said: “The council has declared a climate emergency and is committed to a target of net zero emissions by 2030.

“To achieve this, it has set up a cross-party member task and finish group to identify the actions that will be required to meet this target.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, all CO2 emissions will be greatly reduced as people are working from home and not using the same level of transport.

“As a society we’ve shown many aspects of day to day life can operate remotely and therefore reduce the need to travel.

“There would be a need for balance between the cost to the economy against savings of CO2, hence the need for the use of more sustainable transport in the mix.”

Sonia Phillips started Climate Action Preston last November and works closely with the Preston City Council in the councils Task and Finish group for climate change.

Sonia wants the public to treat the climate crisis using the same approach that people have practised in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “With coronavirus it has been dealt with as a real crisis because its very simple for people to understand why its important to stay at home, why its important to stay safe and wash your hands.

Sonia Phillips
Sonia Phillips who began Climate Action Preston is now attending council meetings to see how Preston is looking to become carbon neutral

“With climate change its a much more complicated problem so for a lot of people it’s hard for them to understand, why should I be cycling instead of driving or why should I be trying to recycle instead of using single use plastic.”

But Sonia understands that the most important way to tackle this problem ism to educate the public on what they can to to help the climate change crisis.

“One of the things we want the council to do as well is to really aim educate the public so that we have this same sort of united front we have seen from tackling the COVID pandemic in terms of tackling climate change as well,” she added.

“It can really bring the community together and we have seen that positive force of people really trying to take care of each other during the pandemic.

“I think similarly I think if people really understand the issues and how they can help I think people will want to so the council really has a role to play there.”

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Climate Action Preston also wants to see the council continue with some of their current work such as making the temporary cycle lanes that have been introduced to the city centre a permanent addition.

The group would also look to see further improvements and incentives for the use of public transport as well as making housing in and around the city more energy efficient.

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What would you like to see in Preston as a response to the climate emergency? Tell us in the comments below

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