'We want to halt the decline of Medway's countryside' - say Liberal Democrats
By Stuart Bourne/Alan Wells Medway Liberal Democrats
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 5 point Green Recovery plan
During the Lockdown, highlighted the importance of access to green spaces and nature for physical and mental health has been starkly highlighted. Those who live alone across our towns, or without access to gardens, balconies, or green space, exposure to nature is a key factor in maintaining positive mental health.
This is why we are calling on saving the Medway's 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.
Stuart Bourne, spokesperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said "Local Lib Dems are calling on Medway Council to improve environmental standards around Medway by adopting sensible and consistently applied planning policies which are in line with the surrounding environment. We recognise the need for new housing, but it must be in the right places, and that any planning system delivers a comprehensive network of green spaces where there is a good provision of infrastructure.
The Conservative-led Council, by not having yet adopted a Local Plan and losing control of planning, has had less control over developments in order to meet the Government's housing targets and this means developers often win their planning appeals, thereby causing great harm to our green spaces.
We want to preserve open spaces around our towns, without causing harm to Medway's most sensitive wildlife habitats and species and improve the connectivity of habitats to provide robust ecological networks and provide new allotments on 'brown build' sites to provide for an increased population. The limitations imposed by the lockdown have brought to the forefront that Medway's parks and green spaces are vital resources for us all.
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.