Canterbury Districts Green Party think it’s ‘’high time’’ that other parties caught up with them on the environment.
During the lead up to the local elections all parties released their manifestos and almost all of the parties said that they will be focusing on improving the environment and climate change.
The issue of climate change has become increasingly more popular amongst social media and news outlets who have widely covered the topic this year.
People are more aware than ever about the massive impact that climate change is having on the environment and the fact that drastic measures need to be taken in order to save the planet.
A recent report commissioned by the Green Party on the London Assembly, indicates what life in the capital will be like as global temperatures increase by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
The study is one of the first to chart the likely impacts of the crisis and comes amid growing pressure on politicians to take radical action.
‘Environment and Climate Change emergency’
Following a discussion in Parliament that took place on Wednesday 1st June, MPs made history by passing a Commons motion that declared an environment and climate change emergency.
With the issue being spoken about more, we spoke to Canterbury districts Green Party Campaign manager Nathan Tough, who said ‘’I think it’s high time that the other parties caught up with the greens on the environment’’.
He was confident for local elections, as he said ‘’we’ve put more work in than ever before, and I think the residents of Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay have noticed. We stand as much chance as anyone else of gaining a seat on the council.’’
Canterbury City Council currently has no Green Party representation. Nathan said ‘’We’ve seen across the country the difference a Green councillor can make, with anything from improved social housing, to more action on air pollution. A Green voice would hold Canterbury City Council to account on their spending, particularly on vanity projects such as the multi-story car park.’’
Canterbury City Council have an ‘Air Quality Action Plan’. The primary focus for this is to put measures in place which will ensure levels of NO2 across the district, and hot spots, are consistently below the objective annual mean of 40µg/m3.
When asked how bad is the current impact on the environment and how crucial is it that people start to listen to you and make a change?
Nathan said, ‘’Canterbury has had an Air Quality Action Plan in place since 2006. Yet far from taking measures to improve it, the local council is making decisions which could worsen it, such as the multi-story car park, and building thousands of houses without improving infrastructure.
A Green voice on the council would lend weight to the residents campaigning fruitlessly against these poor decisions’’.
However, other parties such as the Conservatives and Labour party have also said that they too will be focusing on improving the environment.
Labour candidate for Gorrell, Whitstable, Chris Cornell said ‘’the Lib Dem’s and Labour proposed the council call a climate emergency last month and the Conservatives dismissed the act as arbitrary. We’d promised to go carbon neutral by 2030 and set up an independent carbon panel to assess all council contracts and proposals’’.
When asked what plans they have in place to improve the environment, Chris said, ‘’we want to lead the country in electric car parking points, introduce real time air quality monitoring across the district and set new powers so headteachers and local residents can impose new parking restrictions to encourage kids to walk to school’’.
Canterbury is in a unique position with regards to its heritage and the damage its infrastructure is doing to it. We have the opportunity to become a carbon free city and set an example to other cities across the globe.
When asked for his opinion on the promises released by the Conservatives and Labour Party, including plans to improve the environment, Nathan said ‘’we’ve seen them make promises on it before and not keep them. Hopefully this time is different, though I won’t be holding my breath.’’