12 June 2016
The Green Party welcomes the publication of the Draft Low Emission Strategy and calls upon Northampton Borough Council to conduct a widespread and engaging public consultation.
The Low Emission Strategy has been in preparation for a number of years, and outlines how the Council intends to tackle the public health emergency creeping across the town.
Cllr Bottwood, presenting this report to Cabinet, observed that it should go out to public consultation for a period of 8-12 weeks in line with DEFRA Policy Guidance. This guidance suggests that local authorities should look for innovative ways to engage stakeholders and that if people feel personally involved in air quality issues, they will be more likely to change their behaviour and support measures to improve air quality locally.
Tony Clarke, for the Northamptonshire Green Party, spoke at the Cabinet Meeting and challenged the Council to ensure that the consultation is a wide-ranging one, taking in roadshows, open forums and presentations to schools, ensuring that everybody knows this is a town-wide issue, and that, as the report states, everybody has a role to play.
The Strategy suggests that the air pollution in parts of the town may not reduce to legal levels until after 2020. Steve Miller, secretary of the Northamptonshire Green Party said today “This is not aspirational enough. There are some good ideas in the strategy but we shouldn’t be admitting defeat before we have started. Air pollution is an invisible killer that is affecting the health of children in this town and we need to start reducing it now.”
The publication of this draft strategy is an important first step, and we recognise the considerable work that has already been done. This strategy is intended to cover the next 5 years. It’s a critical public health issue and it is important to get it right.
Northamptonshire Green Party will be taking part in the public consultation, and will be happy to support the Borough Council’s work to publicise the strategy.