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'Liberal Democrats launch their Autumn environmental campaign for the Medway Towns'

September 29, 2021 10:53 AM
By Alan Wells/Stuart Bourne Medway Liberal Democrats

5 point green planThe UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October to 12 November.

Medway Liberal Democrats have long campaigned on environmental issues which affect our towns and we want to stay active on this issue, this is why we have decided to launch an environmental campaign for Medway to raise awareness of environmental concerns that affect our towns. This also coincides with our national 5 point green recovery plan.

Our campaign will focus on:

Our own Medway Liberal Democrat 5 point Green Recovery plan

Clean Air for Children: 1 - 4 children in the UK attend schools that in areas that regular break air pollution limits, with many of schools right here in included. With air pollution linked to increases in childhood asthma and breathing disorders, a child in Medway should not have to risk their lives to attend school.

Yet it does not have to be this way.

The Liberal Democrats are proposing a £20 billion clean air fund that we allow councils to create safe walking and cycle routes for our children, and used to invest in making our buses emission free. On top of that Medway Liberal Democrats would assess each school in Medway on whether their street could be closed during the school run, encouraging more parents to walk their children to school and allowing a safer walk to school for others.

Green Every Home: The recent huge spike in the cost of gas has shown us how unpredictable and dangerous the fossil fuel market is to the average household. When inflation and taxes are both beginning to rise, the last thing Medway residents need is an increase in their energy bills. This makes the conservative government's move to scrap the Green Homes Grant, a scheme to help people insulate their homes and save on their energy use, even more disappointing.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats would upgrade all the insulation in houses by 2030 and require all new houses to be built eco-friendly. Medway Liberal Democrats would also identify ways that the council can assist home owners in converting their gas boilers into fully electric. Insulating our homes not only saves the planet, it saves you pennies.

Transport Revolution: Despite what the conservative council believe, Medway Liberal Democrats haven't given up on public transport in Medway. Transport is the UK's biggest source of carbon emissions, and yet public transport in Medway has been neglected and dismissed for decades forcing people to make even more unnecessary car journeys.

The Liberal democrats would invest £40 billion over three years in rail, buses and electric vehicles. In Medway we would call for a major push in electric car charging points, ensure all buses are electric or emission free, reassess the bus routes to improve connectivity, and call for a Medway rail card. Medway Liberal Democrats goal will always be to make public transport quicker and cheaper than car journeys.

Save British Countryside: 4 out of 10 British species are on the decline, and the UK is failing to meet 17 out of 20 of its biodiversity targets. Here in Medway, large areas of countryside are being swallowed up for housing developments and our parks and greenspaces are being underfunded and neglected.

Medway Liberal democrats would halt this decline by giving more power back to the community on how they run their parks and greenspaces. More community groups have sprung up in Medway with a goal in improving their local area, and we would free up more council parks and land to these groups. This would allow them to plant more trees, create more habitats for wildlife, and change how we manage the parks that suit them.

Already these groups are making huge improvements in the biodiversity in Medway, we just need to give them the space to grow.

Green Energy Switch: Only half of Britain's energy comes from renewable sources, and we are all feeling the chaotic effects of the fossil fuel market on our energy bills. Switching to green renewable energy is vital to cutting emissions, meeting our climate change targets, and saving the costs of our energy bills

It is the Liberal democrat's goal to invest so that Britain gets 80% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Medway Liberal Democrats will do their part by identifying and installing solar panels on all viable council buildings and land. Every panel helps save the planet and our dependency on foreign oil and gas.

Additional focus on the following:

  • protecting nature and the role the natural world can play around our towns and countryside

  • reducing carbon emissions from travel, for example encouraging people to drive less and cycle and walk more

  • protecting Medway's green spaces

  • air quality

  • communities with access to better, higher quality, desirable green spaces

  • reliable, affordable, and convenient public transport to reduce congestion on our roads, and calling for investment in more cycling routes and cycling facilities

John Castle, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said, "Liberal Democrats are committed to improving the environmental situation for Medway, throughout the lockdown of 2020, we saw so many more people visiting our local green and blue spaces to exercise, relax and enjoy nature; our environment really can make us happier and healthier people in times of stress. However, with nature under threat from climate change and local planning, we need to make sure we all play our part, around our towns in caring for it and ensuring it can be there to help future generations."

Over the past year, public interest in the environment has increased. According to YouGov's 'Most important issue facing the country' tracker, the percentage of people citing the Environment as the most important issue facing the country has increased from 23% in September 2020 to 33% in September 2021. We want to highlight that Medway's environment is local but is is also connected to the global.