Leicester City Council were the first council in the East Midlands to acknowledge that there is now an urgent need to act on climate change; they declared a climate emergency in February last year. They are following this up by writing a Climate Action Plan for the city, with proposals for reducing the environmental impact of housing, workplaces, transport, land use and even the products we buy.
The City Council have published their proposals and they are asking people for their comments before they write the final plan. We have responded, firstly by praising the Council’s approach to writing the plan and secondly by asking that sustainability be embedded within every department, committee, and policy of the Council so that the impact on the environment is always considered first.
We have stated that they think the Council now needs to set annual goals for reducing carbon emissions and then create a carbon budget for the Council’s activities. We are also asking the Council to take all of their pension fund investments out of fossil fuels, explaining that it is incompatible with their declaration of a climate emergency to continue to invest their employees’ money in the dirty energy that has created this problem. You can read our full consultation response here.
Leicester Friends of the Earth are part of Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire, a group of individuals and organisations working together to address the climate crisis. (We helped to launch this group last year.) Climate Action is encouraging everyone to respond to the consultation and they have written a briefing and a template letter to help people, which are available on their website. They will also be running a drop-in event on Saturday 2nd February, from 1pm to 4pm at Quest Gaming on Belvoir Street, where people can write their responses to the Council’s proposals together.
We hope that thousands of people in Leicester will get involved in helping the Council to write a Climate Action Plan for our city. Democracy doesn’t start and end at election time – we can have our say about the Council’s plans at any time and on such an important issue, it is really important that everyone joins the conversation about how we can tackle climate change.