Metro Mayor Candidates’ climate commitment put under spotlight

Posted on Mar 05, 2021.

Winterbourne and Frome Valley Environmental Group is a Climate Action Group which has been involved in encouraging the WECA Metro Mayor candidates to commit to climate actions

Campaign and community groups from across the West of England are joining forces to scrutinise candidates' positions on climate and nature in the forthcoming Metro-Mayoral elections. The public from across the region will have a chance to put their questions and hear candidates' responses at an online hustings on Monday 19 April.

All three of the local authorities in the West of England have declared Climate Emergencies, as has the West of England Combined Authority (WECA). Bristol additionally has declared an Ecological Emergency and others might follow. All have set targets for their areas to be zero carbon by 2030. James Sidwell of Bath Climate Action Group said:

"For our area to become zero-carbon within a decade is of huge importance. The Metro Mayor who is elected on 6 May will be in office until 2025, so if the commitment is to mean anything they must have a credible plan for what they will do to ensure the region gets at least half-way to the goal under their leadership".

Representatives from Friends of the Earth and Climate Action Groups, working together under the banner of Climate Action West of England, met all four metro mayoral candidates during the last two weeks in February.

Commenting on these meetings, Katrina Billings, from Bristol Friends of the Earth, said:

"All the candidates recognised the scale and importance of the climate challenge, which is encouraging. But in our conversations with them we did see some marked differences in approach - over issues such as the expansion of Bristol airport, for instance. All the candidates wanted to see the West of England Combined Authority playing a stronger role than it has up until now, especially in improving public transport for the area".

Discussing the importance of the Metro Mayor creating green jobs, Jacqueline Walkden, from Bristol Friends of the Earth, added:

“Making all our homes and businesses zero-carbon is a massive opportunity for our area and for our young people especially. We can create thousands of new jobs that are truly green - reducing our emissions, while rebuilding our economy. The Metro Mayor will have a vital role in providing the skills and training needed to reap these rewards”.

Pauline Harris from Bath-based group Families Acting on Climate Emergency said:

“Voters are more climate-savvy than ever, especially in this region. Greenwashing and wishful thinking simply won't cut it anymore. We want to see candidates making genuine commitments based on rock solid facts. This election is a chance for the West of England to make the words 'green recovery' really mean something”.

The Groups have published a Climate Action Plan for the WECA region and are asking the Mayoral candidates to adopt its policies in their own manifestos. Key policies include:

  • Creating thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships in the region including in renewable energy and home insulation
  • At least doubling public transport use, cycling, and walking within the next 10 years
  • Increasing tree cover, protecting nature, and eliminating greenspace deprivation

Please join us on Monday 19 April. Register here.


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