At full council on 25th April 2019 Medway Labour Group will ask Medway Council to declare a climate emergency.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader, who moved the motion said ‘The environment is vital to our economy, our security, and our wellbeing. Climate change is already here; in the UK we’re experiencing deadly heatwaves and air pollution, and the UK is predicted to face a trebling of heat deaths by 2050.
‘Closer to home, poor air quality is resulting in 120 premature deaths every year in Medway.
‘We can all contribute to environmental protection, but the fact is that governments are the most powerful actors in climate change efforts, and they need to act now.
‘The fact is that governments are the most powerful actors in climate change efforts, and they need to act now.
‘This motion gives Medway Council the opportunity to take action and make our communities safer, healthier, and more sustainable.’
Cllr Clive Johnson, Councillor for Gillingham South said, ‘Governments can no longer ignore such a pressing issue that affects us all, no matter our politics, and local government has a role to play in protecting the environment.
‘In my role as Medway Labour Spokesperson for Children and Young People I’ve heard the views of Medway’s young people loud and clear – they’re demanding action on climate change.
‘At a time when politics seems inaccessible to young people, school-aged children around the world and here in Medway have been taking part in the #Strike4Climate protests outside of Medway Council and around the Medway Towns.
‘If the current administration fails to declare a Climate Emergency, not only do they risk complicity in increased flooding, extinction of species, and further international economic instability, they also risk alienating huge numbers of young people who might otherwise continue to be politically engaged citizens.
‘Furthermore, if the current administration fails to declare a climate emergency, Medway Labour will do so if elected on 2nd May.’
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
This motion gives Medway Council the opportunity to take action and make our communities safer, healthier, and more sustainable. Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader
If the current administration fails to declare a climate emergency, Medway Labour will do so if elected on 2nd May Cllr Clive Johnson, Councillor for Gillingham South