I first and foremost pride myself on working towards a more sustainable future. I recognise this is an issue that needs global cooperation. I see that it is also imperative to focus on what can be done to tackle climate change at a local level.
I seek to encourage all local schools to get pupils to submit work online as opposed to printing and wasting paper. I would also encourage all local schools to use electronic communication software products such as Parentmail, Parentpay and Echosign (allows for electronic consent to be given) wherever possible. I would encourage all schools to take part in the Eco-Schools project, with recycling bins readily available throughout schools.
With the recent opening of the Velo House cafe on St Johns Road and the boom in cycling generally, the lack of sufficient cycling provisions has been highlighted. I propose to add more dedicated cycling and running routes throughout the borough. This would focus particularly around schools to ensure children who do choose to cycle to school can do so safely, thus reducing traffic within the town and increasing cyclist safety whilst benefitting the environment. I also seek to propose more places to park bicycles in order to further encourage cycling as a core means of transport.
Recycling, Fracking and Commuting!
I want a recycling revolution on the streets of Tunbridge Wells. I would add recycling facilities to all existing public bins in Tunbridge Wells.In addition to this, I propose to tighten up the already existing recycling scheme in household waste collection, ensuring that the council starts to collect glass.
For employers who allow employees to work from home, I would offer tax benefits to both parties as a reward for cutting down travel emissions.
On a larger scale, I oppose the introduction of fracking in the UK, and would push to overturn this.
Increased Air Traffic
I fully support the work of groups like www.gatwickobviouslynot.org who are seeking to address the dramatic increase in air traffic over our town. I am delighted that a judicial review is in process to look at a number of the key issues. I recognise the need for airports and air-travel but seek a fair method of allocating take off and landing routes.
Environmental Friendly Products
I would look to support any initiatives that make environmentally produced and sourced products more economically feasible including the abolition of VAT on these items in order to help make them financially viable alternatives to the consumer.
The continuing extraction of fossil fuel by major oil companies occurs because it is profitable. Although some taxation benefit to the consumer exists, it’s clear that the development of alternative forms of energy by these corporations needs to be profitable for them in order to encourage their serious engagement. Shell are bedfellows with Gazprom in drilling in the precarious Arctic shelf as this makes more money for them than developing alternative fuels. Hybrid cars carry some tax advantages to some but ultimately their production needs to be financially beneficial to car manufacturers and consumers to such a degree that it becomes the primary focus of both.
We live in a capitalist society and the prevention of the destruction of our planet needs to be mandated in capitalist terms, with a fiscal carrot and stick, rather than a plea to the morality of the shareholder.
I strongly advocate tax relief and subsidies to alternative and sustainable energy and taxation and import restrictions on those that don’t conform.
Many parts of Kent experienced severe flooding in Dec/Jan 2013/14 and the risk of further flood remains in the event of inclement weather. Long term action needs to be taken to prevent this in the same way that action was successfully undertaken with the flood relief schemes in Windsor.
I abhor the amount of unnecessary food packaging that a consumer is automatically presented with. McDonalds and other fast food companies provide a considerable amount of packaging that is almost immediately disposed off. Statutory legislation may be required to provide a level of reasonableness in this respect as it’s clear that, notwithstanding the environmental waste concerns, this contributes greatly to littering.
Littering, however, is ultimately the problem of the individual. Our propositions around “People Police” in the Crime section would go some way in mitigating what appears to be a worsening problem. However catching those that scar our land and affect our animals is just one aspect. The deterrent needs to be at a sufficient level to prevent re-offending. As it stands the chances of being caught are minimal. Worse though is that the repercussions once caught are almost negligible.
From the outset any punishments must include a period of community service that involves cleaning up the litter in question. And I am supportive of a progressive sentencing policy which would see increasing amounts of community service.