2024 General Election

July 2, 2024

We decided collectively that as climate and nature are not featuring heavily enough in the General Election Campaign, that we should write to candidates asking for their support for a green manifesto to reinvigorate the economy, spread wealth and work through communities, protect and recover nature and of course cut emissions rapidly.

Unfortunately, not every candidate has an email listed on https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/, and of those, not all of them are receiving emails… so we are posting the letter here (with our names removed) and will share it with candidates via social media.

Do help us by making this an election for climate and nature.

Dear Candidate,

Just Transition Wakefield is a coalition of organisations and individuals, all focused on delivering a zero carbon, nature rich future for our district and beyond.  We are party neutral, having members from a number of political backgrounds.

We asked our members what they wanted to say to you all as candidates, hence this is a long list of asks.  As we enter the final few days of the campaign, we feel the need to remind you that the most crucial issue for the future of society is being quietly set aside by major parties and the media.  We need to keep this suite of issues in the front of your mind as you campaign, and as you govern should you be successful.

Donna from Castleford wrote

“We are writing to ask you to back the Climate and Nature Bill if you are elected to Parliament.

As local residents and business owners, we are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of storm events, as their frequency continues to rise throughout the UK.

The Climate and Nature Bill, backed by 48,567 members of the public and 1,590 knowledgeable organisations, politicians, and scientists from across the UK, is the legislation we need to tackle this growing crisis. The CAN Bill will help us build a healthier, more prosperous, nature-rich UK—as well as boosting new jobs and skills for people in Pontefract, Castleford and Knottingley. It will make us:

  • Better off – by ensuring our homes are properly insulated, and our energy is cleaner, less expensive and more secure.
  • Healthier – by reducing air pollution, and by encouraging healthier, more sustainable food consumption, while supporting our farmers and food producers.
  • Happier – by protecting our green spaces and the wildlife that depends on them, ensuring everyone has access to nature and increased wellbeing.
  • More resilient – by reducing the threats from extreme weather, such as flooding, erosion, and crop failure.

We can’t accept yet more agonising years of unambitious policies, u-turns and delays. There’s too much at stake.”

Barry from Sandal wrote

“No more road building in the Wakefield District constituencies, other than limited projects to permit access to specific sites: no road improvements other than to promote safety. New speed limits of 20 mph outside schools, play areas and parks”.

Olivia from Agbrigg wrote

“Good quality housing is a basic right and requirement. Landlords should maintain and insulate their homes to a high standard and tenants should have rights and protection in their tenancies and rents should be affordable and fairly controlled.  There is an urgent need for good quality social housing to be built and run by local authorities.(20,000 on the housing waiting list). Controls on the cost of housing for sale should be reviewed.

There should be an emphasis on the rehabilitation of existing empty properties and brown field sites.

Much greater consideration needs more to be given to size and quality and insulation and the effects on the environment of new builds and areas need real consideration of green areas, access to facilities and transport.”

The discussion in our meeting was keen to add to the asks to candidates.

  • Cross Country Trains.  You can see from the above that public transport is important to our vision of a sustainable future.  The cutting of services from Wakefield is a huge retrograde step, and we ask you to join us in demanding its reinstatement in September, at the end of the trial.
  • Education policy.  The Department for Education has reasonable policy to begin to decarbonise schools, including every school appointing a Climate Lead and preparing a Climate Action Plan.  A first and easy step in government would be to commit to activating ALL of this plan as a starting point from which to develop more comprehensive policy, so this is a key ask from our Eco-Educators Network.
  • We are very concerned about food, agriculture and nature restoration and see really significant weaknesses on this in every party’s manifesto.  Will you commit to
    • Increasing food security by reducing intensity of animal stock levels so that animals are fed naturally through grazing and at sustainable levels to maintain soil and pasture health?
    • Working with Food Partnerships across the country to strengthen local food economies, making them more financially and ecologically sustainable?
    • Actively working with communities to restore and create habitats; create wildlife corridors; restore soil health; restore rivers, seas and lakes?
  • We all agree that we need to rapidly decarbonise the economy, by decarbonising our energy system, decarbonising transport, decarbonising home heating, and guaranteeing a just transition for all workers as the economy transitions.  This might be the last ask, but it is the most crucial.

    As we progress towards 2030, we are seeing worsening climate impacts in both extreme weather across the globe, but also in the acceleration towards climate tipping points such as Antarctic ice melting, Arctic methane releases and coral bleaching.  The urgency is growing, so we must ask that you agree to evidence based policy, rejecting solutions that are too expensive and/or too slow.  In our minds, this includes nuclear power (both too expensive and too slow to build out); hydrogen for widescale domestic use; biomass; and Carbon Capture and Storage unless it is proven to work reliably, cost-effectively, with guaranteed high capture rates and with guaranteed permanent storage.

There are so many policies that can work on multiple fronts at the same time, such as housing (climate, health, economic) and transport (climate, health, equity, cost).  We genuinely expect any incoming government to promote such comprehensive policies and for opposition parties to hold government feet to the fire on this, which is why we are asking every candidate in every Wakefield constituency to pledge to support these few crucial policy asks, and to work towards them if elected to either government or opposition.

We have members in every constituency.

Yours, etc

Just Transition Wakefield

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