Medway Labour’s motion to declare a climate change was passed at Council on Thursday.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader and Councillor for Chatham Central said, ‘There’s no doubt that Climate Change is too important to ignore so I’m pleased to see cross-party support for our motion.
‘One of the reasons I put forward this motion was because of the young people who protested outside of Medway Council to show their frustration at the lack of serious action from governments on Climate Change.
‘Not only does this motion set out a blueprint for action on Climate Change in Medway, it shows central government that we’re expecting strong action on climate; action that invigorates our local economy and helps improve the lives of people here in Medway.’
Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Yong People and Councillor for Gillingham said, ‘Locally, nationally, and globally, young people have successfully made their voice heard and convincingly argued the case for strong action on climate change.
‘These young people have shown that, through collective action and peaceful protest, individuals truly can make a difference in politics; even if they are too young to vote.
‘If elected on 2nd May, Medway Labour will take strong action on Climate Change and other environmental issues that have been ignored for too long.’
The motion reads as follows:
Medway Labour Group motion to Council: Declaring a Climate Emergency
Full Council notes that:
- The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have warned that we have 12 years to make the necessary changes to limit a rise in global temperatures to 1.5c;. Failure to act will see a marked increase in sea levels and flooding, extreme and abrupt changes to weather patterns, crop failures, extinctions of plant, insect and animal species and global economic disruption and crisis;
- At the Global Climate Talks in Poland last December the UK along with over 200 nations agreed action on climate change;
- Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts, particularly for the most vulnerable in society, including children and older people and those with heart and lung conditions;
- There is often a strong correlation with equality; areas with poor air quality tend to be less affluent;
- Medway Council is currently working to tackle four Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) :
- Central Medway (encompassing Frindsbury Road, Cuxton Road, Strood Centre, Rochester Centre, Chatham Centre, Luton Road, Chatham, High Street, Chatham and Rainham Road, Chatham.);
- Rainham (encompassing the High Street);
- Gillingham (Pier Road);
- Four Elms Hill (part of Four Elms, Chattenden);
- Medway Council is demonstrably committed to preserving the environment, evidenced by the partial implementation of Labour’s 2018 motion to become a Single Use Plastics Free Authority;
- Declaring a climate emergency can be a powerful catalyst for community-wide action if paired with a clear action plan;
- Declaring a climate emergency will help to address challenges that Medway Council have already identified and more;
- Neighbouring Maidstone Council passed a similar motion on 10th April 2019.
This council therefore:
- Declares a climate emergency;
- Notes that current targets are inadequate to respond to the challenge of keeping global temperature rises below 1.5c;
This council requests that:
- Cabinet establish a Medway Climate Change Working Group to respond to this challenge, which meets in public and includes representation from all party groups, in order to create a clear action plan for Medway;
- Cabinet set more ambitious targets for Medway to become carbon neutral;
- The Chief Executive to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer stating the concern of the Council with respect to the above, the likely national impact on the economy and on the wellbeing of citizens, and requesting government funding be made available to implement swift appropriate actions in response.
Cllr Vince Maple
Not only does this motion set out a blueprint for action on Climate Change in Medway, it shows central government that we’re expecting strong action... that invigorates our local economy and helps improve the lives of people here in Medway Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader and Councillor for Chatham Central
These young people have shown that, through collective action and peaceful protest, individuals truly can make a difference in politics; even if they are too young to vote. Cllr Clive Johnson, Medway Labour Spokesperosn for Children and Young People and Councillor for Gillingham South