1 March 2021
Cambridge City Council’s budget proposal for 2021-2022 has been questioned by the Cambridge Green Party as lacking commitment to the climate and biodiversity emergencies that the Council declared in 2019. The City Council identified “leading and co-ordinating the Cambridge response” to these two emergencies as one of their three key priorities. However, the Labour-led executive has put less than £1.7 million of the budget, presented at the full Council meeting on Thursday 25th February, towards this priority. In response to a question from Hannah Charlotte Copley (Green Party City Council Candidate for Abbey Ward), Councillor Rosie Moore stated that the amount allocated was equivalent to £13.60 per Cambridge resident.
That same day, the Green Party led Brighton and Hove City Council executive secured cross-party support for their landmark budget, which proposed £27 million (£96 per resident) towards fighting the climate emergency, as well as new investments in activities to address equality, housing and economic recovery.
Hannah said “declaring climate and ecological emergencies is not enough. This week the head of the Environment Agency told a meeting of British insurers that the effects of climate change are already hitting levels of ‘reasonable worst case scenarios’ and that “... our thinking needs to change faster than the climate. And ... our response needs to match the scale of the challenge.” She left the Cambridge City council with the unanswered question: “do the council really think this is enough when considering the existential threat facing our planet?”
Cambridge needs a real conversation with residents about how to reduce emissions in a way that is fair and does not discriminate against the least well off. We need a climate-focused citizen’s assembly, which will bring residents from across the city together and allow them to put their views forward. Brighton and Hove City Council ran such an assembly, and has dedicated £1.3 million of its budget to implementing the actions recommended by residents. A citizen’s assembly on climate change is urgently needed in Cambridge.
Cambridge is promoted as a centre of excellence and leader in developing solutions to climate change and the biodiversity crisis. When will the City Council start to add real action to its rhetoric?
Green City Council Candidate Hannah Charlotte Copley stands beside Coldham's Brook
(Photo credit Hannah Copley)