Liberal Democrats have used their Autumn Conference this weekend to agree a series of measures to build a green recovery and tackle the climate emergency, including encouraging active travel through walking and cycling.
Liberal Democrat analysis of recent government statistics reveal the number of parts of a journey walked by people declined by almost 10% across England since 2015 while the number of parts of a journey cycled stagnated.
In Harrogate and Knaresborough, the proportion of people that have walked and cycled at least three times a week was only 53.7%, barely up from 51.3% in 2015/2016.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has warned the Government must take a “climate-first approach” to rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus.
This comes as local Liberal Democrats renew their calls for Harrogate Borough Council to declare a climate emergency, and establish a Citizen’s Assembly to help tackle the enormous issue of climate change locally.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Judith Rogerson, said:
“This pandemic has encouraged many of us to walk and cycle more, but this is difficult to keep up without improving infrastructure for active travel. It shouldn’t have taken a global pandemic to encourage people out of their cars.
“While I know people in Harrogate and Knaresborough want to do more to cut their emissions, the evidence is clear that the Conservatives have failed to tackle the problems of air pollution or invest properly in infrastructure to make walking and cycling safe.
“Recently, North Yorkshire County Council leaders failed to put in an ambitious enough first bid to the Government which would have greatly improved local cycle infrastructure, and Conservatives on Harrogate Borough Council also refused to declare a Climate Emergency.
“People deserve better. That is why Liberal Democrats will continue to lobby the council to commit to net zero carbon by 2030, as well as fight for more investment in walking and cycling.
“We need to put pressure on Harrogate Borough Council if we’re to get them to declare a Climate Emergency. You can help by adding your name to our petition here: www.HKLibDems.org.uk/Climate-Emergency”.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey added:
“As we look at how we rebuild our economy after coronavirus, the Government must take a climate-first approach.
“That means increasing active travel but it also means cutting emissions by working with our closest international partners to create new green jobs in every community across the country.”
The text of the motion can be found here: https://www.libdems.org.uk/a20-agenda
Statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/walking-and-cycling-statistics