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Labour's Green City Charter full of hot air

June 21, 2019 9:40 AM
By Southampton Liberal Democrats

Four months after Southampton Labour Party announced their Green City Charter to their own fanfare, we finally got to find out what's in it following its formal launch at Southampton City Council yesterday.

It contains some significant aspirations, which Southampton Liberal Democrats support. The commitment set out in the Charter to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 is vital; the city must do its share in combatting climate change. Likewise, the wish for World Health Organisation limits on NOx to be met and be the norm for air quality by 2025.

However, it is all rather light on detail on how the aspirations will be achieved. Warm words may read well, but they won't bring about radical change.

For a city that cannot even provide holistic plastic recycling and kitchen waste composting, it seems the Council is doing everything it can to push all responsibility onto residents themselves. In addition, we should not forget that the Council diluted its plans for a Clean Air Zone following opposition from the distinctly environmentally-unfriendly Conservatives. Moreover, it's still not clear whether or not Southampton City Council has declared a climate change emergency.

Southampton Liberal Democrats call for a greater sense of urgency in the Labour Council's environmental policies. The city needs leadership not tentativeness.
Demand Better - Air Quality
Alexander Clifton-Melhuish, Southampton Liberal Democrats' Environment spokesperson, commented:

"The Green City Charter rightly places responsibility for addressing climate change with every member of the city, asking for voluntary commitments from residents, businesses and organisations. But without a plan to actually achieve its aims, and clear support for the residents and small businesses they're asking to sign up, the Labour-run Council are setting up the city to fail.

We cannot make our whole city carbon neutral without everyone, so how will the Council ensure that everyone is involved?"

Richard Blackman, Chair of Southampton Liberal Democrats, added:

"We support the Green City Charter in as far as it goes. However, we want to see more radical measures to bring about significant change.

As such we stand ready to cooperate with other parties to build support for the action on climate change and the environmental progress that the people of Southampton want to see".