Environment and Climate Change

Part of Speaker’S Statement – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Ruth George Ruth George Labour, High Peak 6:44 pm, 1st May 2019

I would like to talk not only about what the national Government can do but about what local councils can do. There will be elections tomorrow in High Peak and in rural districts across the whole of England, in which local people can show their commitment to taking the measures needed to tackle climate change by voting for Labour councillors who are putting forward practical proposals to tackle it.

Labour councillors on my council in High Peak voted to ban fracking and to declare a climate change emergency, in the face of opposition from Conservative councillors, who have not taken the actions that we need in this area. They are not proposing to introduce proper passive housing standards, and they are not legislating for clean air; they are not even monitoring it properly. Where they are monitoring air pollution, they are refusing to release the results, even from outside schools, despite the fact that parents are concerned about their children’s health.

Not a single public charging point for electric vehicles has been installed in High Peak for the past four years under that Conservative council, yet people are crying out to be able to use electric vehicles. They are also crying out to be able to use public transport, but we are seeing our buses cut and our train services not being supported. It is the Labour councillors who are out there fighting for our bus services and working with local companies and local people on cycle routes to ensure that people can cycle to work and use their cycles for leisure, to reduce emissions in a practical way, not just by doing things like banning fracking but by supporting renewable energy in a positive way at local level. That is what every local person across rural England can do tomorrow: they can back policies that will support the environment and make this change real.