Kermit the Frog once sang that “it’s not easy being green”. I don’t think Kermit was necessarily talking about being green in the sense of being environmentally-friendly, but I do quite often hear people talk about the difficulty of living in a “green” way. Whilst most of us want to limit our negative impact on the environment, we can sometimes find that practical issues get in our way.
That’s why I think that it’s so important that government – whether at a national or local level – put measures in place that make it as easy as possible for us to lead green and sustainable lives. In Stockport, we’re very lucky to have a Labour-led council which is really leading the way on this, and a lot of the drive is down to my friend Cllr Sheila Bailey, who’s really led the way on this strategy.
Back in March 2019, the Labour group put a motion before the council which was passed, declaring a climate emergency. This was not a mere gesture. A cross-party task group has been set up to work on a climate action strategy that covers every aspect of life in Stockport. The purpose of this ambitious strategy is for the Council to reduce carbon emissions across the borough, with the aim of being carbon neutral by 2038. The strategy proposes all sorts of measures to achieve this target, including more home insulation, planting as many trees as possible and carbon impact assessments on every contract and decision by the Council. The last of these will also allow the Council to find alternative solutions that use less carbon.
Transport is another important dimension, and there will be more investment in cycling and walking routes. Public transport will also play an important role once the pandemic is over and people feel more comfortable using it once again. This strategy has had a lot of expert input, but it will only work if we all play our part and that’s why it’s so important that as many people as possible engage with this work. There is a consultation open on the Stockport Council website until 4 September and I’d encourage you all to take a look and submit your views.
The Coronavirus crisis is the most obvious and immediate threat that we need to deal with, but we should never forget the vital importance of tackling the climate emergency. We need to act now – not just for us, but for our children and our grandchildren.