- Leading by example. Climate action must start at home. By investing in £28bn every year until 2030 to tackle the climate crisis, we can protect the planet and create secure jobs in the UK;
- Supporting the most vulnerable. By reversing the overseas aid cut, delivering and surpassing the $100 billion pledge to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change, and vaccinating the world’s poorest;
- Pressuring the big polluters. By calling for 1.5C-aligned targets from big-emitting countries, phasing out fossil fuels, and ensuring a just transition for workers;
- Protecting nature. By ending deforestation and ensuring all emissions reduction protects and promotes nature. We also need a robust Net-Zero and Nature Test for all government spending;
- Mobilising private finance behind climate action. By requiring financial institutions and FTSE100 companies to publish their carbon footprint and adopt credible 1.5C-aligned transition plans.
These calls sit alongside plans recently announced by Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves to be the country’s first ‘Green Chancellor’ with a pledge to invest an additional £28 billion every year between now and 2030 to accelerate the transition to net zero.
WHAT ARE LABOUR DOING LOCALLY?
In November 2020, our Labour Cabinet agreed a detailed action plan to ensure the council plays its part in tackling climate change, and in March the first meeting of our multi-agency Climate Change Commission took place.
The action plan includes proposals for significant reductions in the use of paper and plastics across the council; the creation of a Climate Action Working Group to lead on developing and implementing initiatives; the appointment of an accountable officer for overseeing and leading on climate change issues; and training for all councillors on the climate emergency.
The climate change commission is chaired by independent expert Stephen Sykes, Director of 2030 Hub, the world’s first UN Local2030 Hub which aims to raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework and share how it adds value to cities, businesses, social sectors and individuals.
Other members of the committee include Aston Fuller, General Manager of Glass Futures; Paul Nolan, Director of the Mersey Forest Team; Brenda Fields representing the Environment Agency; Tracy Mawson, Chief Executive of St Helens Chamber; St Helens College Principal Simon Pierce; Carmel College Principal Mike Hill; Jo Harrison, Director of Environment at United Utilities; Adam Biggs, Environment Adviser to the National Farming Union; Robert Haywood representing Highways England; Andrew Darron from Groundwork; Amanda O’Donnell from Torus; Jenny Morten from Cadent Gas; and Gill Wood, Clean Growth Champion from the Growth Platform.
They are joined by representatives from the Liverpool City Region and St Helens Borough Council officers, and a place is also reserved for opposition groups.
In November 2021 we approved our new Climate Action Plan: https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/11/11/pathway-to-net-zero-carbon-emissions-set-as-cabinet-approves-climate-change-response-plan/ and held the first meeting of our Youth Climate Commission: https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/11/25/youthclimatechangecommission/
Importantly, St Helens and our City Region were also well represented at COP26 in Glasgow in November: https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/11/07/st-helens-leading-the-way-at-cop26/.
We’re leading the way:
From fighting for funding to redevelop brownfield land (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/06/17/brownfield-land-fund-scheme-welcomed-with-support-for-developers-looking-to-invest-in-st-helens-borough/), organising green festivals (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/10/19/green-festivals/), fighting for and winning investment in sustainable transport improvements (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/10/07/3-8m-funding-agreed/), working with partners to invest in hydrogen-fuelled buses for St Helens (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/08/28/zero-emission-local-buses-another-step-closer/), launching a grant scheme for local green projects (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/06/29/new-grant-funding-for-green-schemes-launched-by-labour-council/), supporting the delivery of world-first energy projects (https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2021/08/26/worldfirsts/) and much more, Labour are the only Party taking the action necessary to bring about the changes we need.
Cllr Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, says: “Our adoption of the action plan and creation of the commission follows Cllr Mancyia Uddin’s motion to council last year on the climate emergency (see https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2019/07/11/climateemergency/) and also Cllr Robyn Hattersley’s excellent motion to council (see https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2020/11/06/sdg/) in support of the UN sustainable development goals, both of which were supported unanimously by Labour councillors.
Our progress on these issues should be seen alongside our focus on the environment, for example within the local plan, and our work at city region level with Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham on green and sustainable transport.
I believe this demonstrates a real commitment to the climate emergency we face.
And let’s be clear: sustainable development and addressing the climate emergency is not about saying ‘no’ to a development just because it’s near your home or your default position. That’s not being Green – it’s very often just political opportunism, job snobbery and NIMBYism, whilst at the same time denying others opportunities for housing and jobs, contradicting the aims of the UN sustainable development goals.”
Cllr Mancyia Uddin. Labour Group Spokesperson on Climate Change and the council’s first Climate Change Champion, says: “Collectively achieving economic, social and climate justice should be at the heart of everything we do.
The Council plays an essential role in protecting the health and well-being of our people and our planet, and whilst the Council alone cannot solve the global climate crisis, we can and should use the influence we have as to encourage our staff, partners and communities to be more conscious of the environment and be mindful in the choices they make.”
WHAT ARE LABOUR DOING REGIONALLY?
Working as part of the Liverpool City Region alongside Labour Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram we have made several important commitments, including:
- Declaring a Climate Emergency and pledging net zero carbon by 2040
- Progressing the Mersey Tidal project
- Purchasing more than 20 hydrogen fuelled double decker buses, with the 10/10A route from St Helens to Liverpool being among the first used
- A campaign to encourage Active Travel, investing over £1m in improvements to cycling and walking routes in the borough
- Completing battery trials on the new, state-of-the art trains for the Merseyrail network
- Identifying ways to help residents move to electric vehicles affordably
- Continued delivery of 52.8km of cycle lanes and habitat improvements
- Investing £11.38m to make around 1,120 homes more energy efficient
- Securing gains in biodiversity through planting and habitat creation and management
- Developing a Zero Waste 2040 strategy including plans to reach 55% re-use and recycling by 2025
In May 2021 Council Leader David Baines was appointed as the Liverpool City Region’s portfolio holder for the Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy.
David Baines says: “Labour recognise that the climate emergency is the greatest and most urgent challenge we face. I specifically asked for this portfolio responsibility because it’s one I take seriously and am determined to help make sure the region and St Helens does all we can.
Through projects such as Mersey Tidal Power, HyNet, the introduction of hydrogen buses, more active travel including cycling and walking improvements, funding for green homes and brownfield regeneration, tree planting, community green projects and much more, as a member of the City Region we have the opportunity to take big steps towards net zero carbon by 2040. St Helens has also won millions in funding from the City Region to help bring brownfield sites at Moss Nook and Cowley Hill back into use for housing and this is something we will continue to push for at every opportunity.
Following on from the Year One Climate Action Plan we published earlier this year (https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/YearOneClimate6_compressed.pdf) we’re also developing a Net Zero Action Plan and you can currently contribute to this here: https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/liverpool-city-region-is-asking-people-to-help-shape-plans-to-be-net-zero-carbon-by-2040/. St Helens will be developing our own action plan and through our own Climate Change Commission recently established we will be doing all we can to reach net zero – it’s a commitment we made and one we are determined to meet.”
Find out more about the work we’re doing as a member of the City Region to tackle climate change and environmental issues: https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/energy-environment/