Local Liberal Democrats Call For Citizens’ Assembly To Address Climate Emergency

By Conor McKenzie, Jun 16, 2020 8:06

Liberal Democrat councillor Pat Marsh has written to Harrogate Borough Council to renew calls for a declaration of a Climate Emergency and to request the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly.

To effectively play our part in addressing this environmental crisis, it is imperative that we declare a Climate Emergency and commit to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.

Councillor Pat Marsh has written on two occasions to Conservative Cabinet Member for Sustainable Transport, Councillor Phil Ireland, regarding the need for much greater openness and inclusivity on the Climate Change Coalition. On both occasions she has not even received an acknowledgement.

Conservative councillors failed to support the Liberal Democrats motion to declare a Climate Emergency in April 2019, instead passing a motion that committed to little, and almost none of which has yet been delivered.

Pat Marsh has now written to Councillor Ireland a third time, calling out the Conservatives’ unwillingness to work collaboratively and transparently:

“I’m becoming more and more concerned about the lack of transparency in this process.

“I fear that your lack of response is just yet another example of the local Conservatives’ and Councils’ unwillingness to engage with those with differing views more broadly.

A Citizens’ Assembly would allow us to harness the ideas and experiences of a diverse range of people from across the District and help us to find effective solutions for the future.

Local Liberal Democrats are now renewing their calls for a local declaration of a Climate Emergency and have said that the Climate Change Coalition should be replaced with a Citizens Assembly on the Climate Emergency that comprises a representative group of residents from across Harrogate District, as has been introduced by many other local authorities across the UK.

They say this is the best way to attract the “fresh ideas and bold action” necessary to take on the challenge faced.

Councillor Pat Marsh continued:

“To effectively play our part in addressing this environmental crisis, it is imperative that we declare a Climate Emergency and commit to becoming net zero carbon by 2030 at the very latest. I am in no doubt just how big a challenge this will be, but we need to be courageous if we are to address this crisis.

“This will also require Harrogate Borough Council to be open and transparent, welcoming fresh ideas and bold action. The best way we can do this is by establishing a Citizens’ Assembly on the Climate Emergency as we have seen in many other local authorities, bringing together a cross-section of the community to find solutions and decide the best course of action to tackle this existential crisis.

Local Liberal Democrats have said that the Council should build on what it has learnt during the Coronavirus pandemic and show what can be achieved when we bring people together to tackle an emergency.

Judith Rogerson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough, added:

“We need to come out of this pandemic ready to get to work, taking action to tackle the climate emergency. A Citizens’ Assembly would allow us to harness the ideas and experiences of a diverse range of people from across the District and help us to find effective solutions for the future.

“The different parts of our District don’t all have the same priorities and needs. We all come with varied experiences and backgrounds. It’s important that we bring in a cross-section of the community to give their views. 

“A challenge this large requires us to bring people together and unite behind a shared vision. After all, if we’re going to make the changes necessary it will require everyone to make changes in their day-to-day lives.”

Share this post on social media: