Sunday, December 10, 2006

How can Labour improve your environment?

Just got a 'Labour Action' newsletter through the door - have to say it's more carefully thought out than the 'Mayor Saves Ladywell Pool' leaflet. It's focussing on the environment and has a picture of J.R crouched down in front of Brockley Common. On the back it asks "How can Labour improve your environment?". Well, in the interest of cross-party co-operation, here are a few suggestions for Labour locally and nationally:

1. Stop all airport expansion - aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases and any efforts we make elsewhere to reduce our carbon emissions will be cancelled out by a huge increase in air travel. Levy green taxes on air travel and subsidise rail more heavily so that there is a financial incentive to take the train to destinations within Europe, rather than flying.
2. Introduce personal carbon quotas, which are arguably more equitable than green taxes. See here, here, here, here or here for more info on these.
3. Don't put 500 car-parking spaces in the Lewisham Gateway development - make it a car-free development - it's right next to the borough's main transport hub for goodness sake.
4. Make sure the new local development framework has ambitious targets set for energy efficiency and renewable energy for ALL new developments, even a single building. Maybe starting at 20% to match the London Plan, then rising incrementally to 30% over the next few years? (I'm quietly optimistic that this one is going to happen)
5. Encourage people to shop locally, supporting small shops and farmers' markets. Stop giving planning permission for out of town shopping centres that threaten the livelihoods of town centre shopkeepers. Stop the great food swap and localise food production. This doesn't mean we all have to live like Tom and Barbara in the Good Life, but it is crazy for us to export British Lamb to New Zealand and import New Zealand lamb, or import green beans from Kenya in August, when they can be grown in the UK.
6. Introduce a 10p/bag tax on plastic bags and force supermarkets to stop excessively packaging products.
7. Fine TESCO/Sainsbury/TK Maxx/Lidl etc £50 for every one of their shopping trolleys that gets dumped on the streets of Lewisham, and then maybe they would look after them more carefully. (You may be starting to detect a trend here about my views on supermarkets ;) ).
8. Start taxing motorists according to mileage and how polluting their vehicle is.
9. Make sure there every child has a safe route to school and do much much more to encourage parents to let their kids walk/cycle to school. While we're at it, let's have a 20 mph zone borough-wide too, and some enforcement of that 'don't use your mobile while you're driving' law that is so often ignored.
10. Support allotments and community gardens, community planting days, river clean-ups, don't build on parks and green spaces etc etc.

That's probably enough to be getting on with, though I haven't even started on nuclear trains, Trident, SELCHP . . .

Now over to you - how can Labour improve your environment?

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