5 January 2021
What is Talking Point?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every week. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What should the council’s priorities be in 2021? What will the biggest challenges be this year?
In 2021 the priorities for Cambridge City Council should be: –
Reducing the effect of the pandemic: helping all of us until there is a high level of vaccination. The impact of Covid on our health, education, employment and businesses will be with us for many years. The Council has a key role in helping tackle these.
Addressing the climate emergency: the City Council declared intentions in 2020, but more must be done. The increasing flooding in the region is just one sign of what can happen. The city should show leadership in reducing its impact on CO2 emissions.
Managing growth: we need more houses at a price that people can afford, but we don’t need the number in the Local Plan and the price we will all pay.
The biodiversity emergency: Britain has lost a greater amount of wildlife than any other country in the world. We should expand our effort in Cambridge (e.g. the Tree Canopy and the Verge projects) and minimise the impact of development. Cambridge is a place we all live in, not a place only for bricks and mortar.
Unlimited growth will increase the extraction of water from the environment we live in. Pumping out too much water is badly damaging our chalk streams. We have to re-engineer water supply and ensure its kept it clean after we have used it.
One night last autumn 33 homeless people were sleeping rough, in the open in Cambridge. Not in hostels, shelters, or sofa surfers. On the streets. Poverty and wealth are here. To try to end the gap would be a priority.
Air pollution: causes around 50 deaths a year in Cambridge. The Council should implement an Air Pollution Control Zone, air monitoring, Park and Rides, electric charging points and encouragement of walking and cycling.
Our response was written by Elizabeth May. Elizabeth is Co-Chair and Secretary of Cambridge Green Party, a former Biology & Environment Lecturer and University Environment Manager, and an active grandmother as much as the Covid rules allow!