Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, blogs on the publication of the Birmingham Green Commission’s latest update report – and how it brings into focus the need for more collaborative working on the green agenda…
Given the COP21 climate change summit in Paris and the fact Birmingham’s Green Commission recently celebrated its second birthday, it is probably time to take stock of where we are with the sustainability agenda in this city.
In short, what was the case in 2013 remains the case today – climate change has to be a priority.
This is clearly outlined in the Green Commission’s latest update report, published today (December 10). I’d urge everyone to spend a few minutes taking a look at its findings.
Actions to address the issue are helping to bring economic, social and environmental benefits for Brummies – from cleaner air that we all breathe through to freedom from the threat of fuel poverty.
But despite Birmingham having committed to shaping its action to become a green and sustainable city as it strives to deliver on key issues such as jobs, skills and wellbeing, the progress we are attempting to make continues to be put at risk by central government policies and decisions.
We had to take the decision to end Birmingham Energy Savers earlier this year, and the other projects we are working on are being made increasingly difficult.
There is also a plan to sell off the Green Investment Bank which many have regarded as a key financing mechanism – and a push is being made for gas and fracking, both of which will add to carbon emissions along with nuclear energy, all of which will further delay or reduce investment in renewables and energy efficiency (and the benefits these can bring).
What we need is an urgent rethink as a continuation of current policies could be detrimental for the economy, our health and the environment.
The recent floods in the north of England show the impact of climate change is very much real, so we cannot afford to lose any time or opportunities for progress on this front.
We know that the national budget cuts and changing face of local government mean things need to be done differently. This Green Commission update shows how by working in partnership at a local level the council and other organisations can collaborate and come up with joint solutions to the issues that everyone faces.
As such, I am always happy to hear from anyone with any views on what we can do to make Birmingham greener. Please feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org