Climate emergency declared in Leighton-Linslade as council pledges to be carbon neutral by 2030

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
'If we make the changes fast we can really improve Leighton Buzzard and our quality of life'

Leighton-Linslade town councillors unanimously declared a climate energy and committed to council activities being carbon neutral by 2030, at a meeting last week.

Members of the policy and finance committee voted to support a motion from Councillor Victoria Harvey and seconded by Cllr Russ Goodchild of the Lib Dems, with powerful speeches made at the meeting by Conservative and Labour representatives too, as well as local residents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The motion stated: "This council declares a climate emergency and commits to the activities of this council being carbon neutral by 2030. This council also commits to working with Central Bedfordshire Council in influencing and supporting the wider community of Leighton Linslade to achieve the government’s targets of net zero emissions by 2050."

Leighton Buzzard newsLeighton Buzzard news
Leighton Buzzard news

Pippa Sandford, from South Beds Friends of the Earth, who looks after the Linslade Garden of Remembrance at Mentmore Road, explained at the meeting how people visiting the gardens have always asked about pollinators and bee friendly plants, but are now expressing their deep concerns about climate change and asking what they can do.

Paul Brown, of the local history society and formerly environment correspondent at The Guardian, explained that ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had been one of the first people to raise the seriousness of climate change and that young people were despondent that their politicians were not showing leadership in tackling climate change.

Christine Sheppard, of South Beds Friends of the Earth, said that in the same way that Leighton Buzzard being officially a Fairtrade town encourages people to think about the implications of their shopping habits for coffee and banana growers across the world, declaring a climate emergency sends out a powerful message that this is urgent and encourages all to take actions.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Cllr Jeremy Silverstone (Conservative) explained that climate change was now a major factor in investment decisions. Cllr Pat Carberry (Labour) explained that when he started 30 years ago in the fire service no-one expected wildfires in the UK but now they are normal, and that flooding is becoming an increasing problem too. Cllr Mark Freeman (Independent) and Cllr Clive Palmer (Conservative) were also among the many councillors who spoke strongly in favour of taking action.

Cllr Harvey spoke about the urgent pleas from thousands of top scientists to cut emissions so that the increasing extreme weather events are limited to manageable levels. In light of the government’s commitment to cut emissions by 61% by 2035 on 2019 levels, she urged the Conservative councillors to support Boris Johnson’s public commitment to tackling climate change.

She said of her motion's success: "This is fantastic news. The town council is already taking some important actions such as using peat free compost in their hanging baskets and planters. However this resolution puts climate change at the heart of what we do and sends a powerful message not only to local residents but to businesses, CBC and Central Government.

"Tackling climate change is really positive for Leighton Buzzard. It means more trees and shrub leading to more attractive green spaces which will support our wildlife, much better public transport and cycling routes, homes that are warmer in winter and cooler in summer, clean renewable energy created in the UK rather than relying on imported gas, skilled green jobs, more facilities and shops in Leighton Buzzard to reduce the need to travel, and more local food. In summary if we make the changes fast we can really improve Leighton Buzzard and our quality of life.”