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Opinion: For A Green Councillor Vote Liberal Democrat

Published on: 16 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 22 Apr, 2019

This is the second in a final set of opinion pieces from the five political groups which currently form Guildford Borough Council (GBC) during the period running up to the borough council elections.

We are grateful to all the participants for taking part. Our aim is to allow our readers to hear from local politicians directly and become better informed of the political choice they have on May 2. Articles from the other political groups are being published, one each day, this week. All previous articles in the series can be found here.

Caroline Reeves, Lib Dem candidate for Friary & St Nicolas

By Caroline Reeves

“There’s No Planet B.” That’s just one of the slogans on signs at Guildford’s Strike4Climate march last Friday. And the young people and adults who marched are absolutely right.

I joined those young protesters last Friday on the High Street, along with Zöe Franklin our Parliamentary Candidate, and applaud their willingness to make their voices heard.

They’re protesting to highlight the urgent need for action address the Climate Crisis our world is facing. They’re demanding action and for politicians and public alike to listen. Listen we must, especially all of us fighting for election to Guildford Borough Council on 2nd May.

I’m proud to be part of a party that takes the environment seriously. I want to tackle our environmental issues not just for ourselves now but also to ensure that our children, grandchildren and future generations have a thriving, healthy planet to live on. But to make that happen we have to be bold right now.

Our natural environment is precious and in our manifesto we’ve highlighted four key ways we want to tackle the environmental challenges we face:

  • Take the lead to move Guildford towards a zero-carbon borough;
  • Work with local people and businesses to make Guildford a single-use, plastic-free borough.
  • Tackle the serious problem of air pollution with more monitoring and serious action;
  • Promote green transport across the Borough: Neighbourhood Zones for residential areas to tackle engine idling and speeding, charging points for electric cars, off-road cycle and pedestrian routes, community bus schemes and the creation of a joined-up plan for public transport.

In order to realise these commitments, the whole of our community will need to work together. It will be uncomfortable and we’ll all need to change our habits, but change we must.

Tackling climate change and other environmental challenges is nothing new for the Liberal Democrat team on Guildford Borough Council. Just before the end of 2018, we took a motion to council calling for the council to act boldly in a number of ways.

Sadly, the motion as we originally put forward was diluted by the Conservative Executive, resulting in the formation of a Conservative Executive cross-party working group instead of an Overview & Scrutiny cross-party working group with the resources of dedicated officer support.

Smiling protestors carrying the Guildford Schools Strike 4 Climate Change Banner

The working group, including members of the Guildford Environmental Forum, has met three times. We’re glad that this happened rather than the motion being rejected out of hand, but the proof will be the actions taken to implement the radical action needed.

Whether it’s going zero-carbon and plastic-free as a borough, potentially introducing a low emission zone for central Guildford to tackle dangerous air pollution levels (including outside our schools), or working to radically reshape our transport system so that it prioritises green transport methods, the Lib Dems are not afraid to consider innovative ideas that may challenge people to fundamentally change their behaviour. If residents want a green councillor and a green council, then they should vote Lib Dem on 2nd May.

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test 3 Responses to Opinion: For A Green Councillor Vote Liberal Democrat

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    April 16, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    What tosh.

    Liberal Democrats at Guildford have voted to build over our green fields, destroying habitat, increasing pollution and seriously affecting our air quality. Where were their environmental concerns when the green belt sites were listed in the Local Plan?

    Now they want to be known as the ‘Green’ option in Guildford.

    Do Cllr Reeves and Zoe Franklin think we’ve all been asleep for the past four years?

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    April 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    A bit late for the Lib Dems to climb onto the Green bandwagon. They have consistently supported the Local Plan that defies basic principles of sustainability. It is based on ribbon development along the A3. The largest proposed site, Three Farms Meadow [the former Wisley Airfield] in Ockham, is completely car dependent and ten or so miles from any employment centre.

    Ben Paton is a GGG candidate for Effingham in the forthcoming borough council election

  3. Paul Spooner Reply

    April 16, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    The Executive at GBC fully supports Cllr Reeves’ position on Climate Change. I attended the Sister Cities Conference in Freiburg supporting UN Sustainability Goals a few months ago along with Cllr Furniss, our managing director and the head of economic development because we all recognise the importance of this and the challenges ahead.

    Guildford is now leading on providing the portal to drive this international initiative forward. It is testament to how serious we take this issue, cross-party at GBC, that the Executive and significant officer resources available are now driving this rather than leaving it to a backbench committee. I thank Cllr Reeves along with Cllr Reeve, Cllr Nelson-Smith and many other councillors for their efforts in relation to climate change, one part of a sustainable future.

    Paul Spooner is the leader of Guildford Borough Council and a Conservative candidate for South Ash & Tongham in the forthcoming borough council election

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