On Thursday 18th April, representatives of the parties standing as candidates in the Eden District Council elections on 2nd May participated in a hustings event organised by Penrith Action for Community Transition (PACT) and Extinction Rebellion (XR) addressing the climate change crisis. The parties present were in total agreement that the existential crisis we face as a result of accelerating and uncontrolled global warming is an issue that demands the immediate attention of the newly elected Council.
We (all those parties present) recognise that the crisis is global but that it needs to be addressed at all levels. We in Eden are as responsible as anywhere else for taking action and we must make full use of the powers and opportunities available to our Council, and indeed to press for change where these powers are inadequate for the task we face. Whilst we may have different perspectives on a range of issues, on the matter of the climate crisis we are united in our commitment to taking urgent action.
We therefore pledge that, if elected, we will work together to immediately table and support a motion to the Council declaring a Climate Emergency. This will commit the Council to prepare a strategic plan, by the end of 2019, setting out policies that the Council will pursue across all activities over which it presides or has influence, in order to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030. The strategic plan will set out practical actions with measurable performance targets that can readily be monitored, allowing adjustment to improve its effectiveness.
In order to develop the most effective plan the Council will involve members of the community and support an approach to:
- convene an independent expert advisory group to enable fullest understanding of best practice that councils can adopt
- seek to collaborate with other councils both in Cumbria and more widely to share knowledge
- establish a People’s Assembly (or similar public participation method) to enable the residents of Eden District to contribute to the formulation of the climate crisis strategy and assist in monitoring its impact.
The Labour Party candidates for the District elections signed the following letter along with candidates from other parties. The letter was published in the Herald on 26 April 2019.
The process of development of the strategic plan will identify priority policy areas. Amongst other measures, we expect these to include: the promotion of renewable energy; the use of planning powers to encourage energy efficient development; the promotion and delivery of energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings; action by the Council itself and encouragement to local businesses to audit their activities and seek appropriate changes; the promotion of zero carbon public and private transport, and safe cycling routes; measures to improve air quality, improve recycling, and the reduction of single use plastic.
The hustings demonstrated that across our parties there is consensus that this issue is the most important we face.