We have all seen the devastation adverse weather has wreaked over the past few years, more recently the terrible floods and loss of life in Europe. Climate change is a reality and no one political party owns or has the answer, we must all work together to find solutions.
On 13th February 2019 a motion was passed at Hastings Borough Full Council declaring a climate emergency. This was fully supported by the Conservative group. The motion had several ambitious targets for Hastings, with an aspiration for the Council to be carbon neutral by the year 2030.
There are few levers the Council can pull to help offset carbon emissions but whatever power the Council has they must use them to their full effect.
The Conservatives will strive to put forward ideas and initiatives over the coming months and years, setting up a permanent group to brainstorm ideas that might be helpful.
It was regrettable that the Labour group and our one Green councillor voted against a motion brought forward by the Conservative group to incentivise the use of electric vehicles in town by giving reduced parking permit charges for owners of EV vehicles. Green controlled Brighton City Council has a similar incentive giving their residents a 50% discount for parking permits for owners of ultra low emission cars.
It seemed strange that the Labour group turned the discussion in to an argument about how wealthy you must be to own an electric car. Labour argued the incentive only helped the better off in society when it was revealed that Hastings Borough Council already supplies free electricity to all their EV charging points! This seemed to be a contradiction.
The government has already announced that car manufacturers won’t be able to sell carbon fuelled cars from 2030, so the sooner we are incentivised to adopt EVs the better.
Climate change and its mitigation have nothing to do with how well off you are. We all have a collective responsibility to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.
In London, a very strict Ultra Low Emission Zone is being introduced by the Labour mayor for all vehicles within the north and south circular arterial roads. Many people are having to replace their old cars, or scrap their cars, but can’t afford new cars with better emission standards. This policy is greatly affecting poorer sections of society.
Is the policy wrong? No, of course not. The policy was adopted because emissions were adversely affecting the health of all members of society.
Please, let’s not make climate change about political points scoring. All political parties need to work together to tackle this incredibly important, life changing crisis.