Across the country, Climate Action Groups are starting up to bring together seasoned campaigners and people new to activism to call for action on climate change. They are asking local councils to declare a climate emergency and then adopt ambitious climate action plans to tackle the problem.
In Leicester, we held a launch meeting for our Climate Action Group on Sunday 29th September. We had booked Secular Hall, expecting that to provide plenty of space, but then 85 people showed up and we were quite cosy!
Mel and Zina facilitated the event on behalf of Leicester Friends of the Earth. We began by talking to each other about what had brought us to the meeting and what upsets us most about climate change. This gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit. We also discussed effective campaigns for change that we had seen or been part of, to help collect ideas about what works.
We then split into groups and looked at ideas for actions that local councils can take on climate change in different areas: transport, housing, green spaces and education. Everyone had time to consider every topic and vote for the ideas that they thought would be most effective in Leicester. When we collected all the votes together, we were able to identify the following policies that we want to see in Leicester City Council's Climate Action Plan:
- To set annual measurable targets for Leicester to achieve net zero greenhouse reduction by 2030.
- To require officers and councillors to identify for each council decision whether the recommendations would help or hinder carbon reduction.
- That council to set up a cross-party, non-partisan Climate Emergency Advisory Committee.
- To enforce building standards.
- To require higher standards than current national standards for all new developments.
- To protect existing local green spaces, green belt and locally designated nature sites
- To increase tree cover on council-owned land to 20%, update local planning strategies to double tree cover across the Local Authority area, ensure existing trees are properly protected to store carbon support nature, improve soils and water quality, aid flood protection and urban design.
- To reduce car use through measures such as promoting car sharing, improving the bus service, and constraining road space
- To prioritise transport investment into cycling, walking, trams and public transport, such as electric buses
- To improve and integrate our public transport system.
We sent this list to the mayor, Peter Soulsby, and we have now set up smaller working groups to campaign in each area. If you missed the launch meeting but you would like to get involved in a working group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The City Council will be launching a
consultation on their new Climate Action Plan this Autumn and we need as
many people as possible to get involved in the campaign for action on climate
change in Leicester!