What do you see as the most pressing climate and biodiversity issue/s facing Basingstoke and Deane at present?
Basingstoke faces several issues regarding climate change & biodiversity and unless we act now it will be my generation and those that are to come that will suffer as a result.
On the climate issue a great shift towards electric transportation needs to happen along with making sure our houses and businesses are correctly equipt to reach carbon neutral targets, targets I’ll add that were set by Basingstoke and Deane Council. Very little has happened since those targets were made in 2019.
I get the bus on a daily basis for work, electric buses will need to be frequent and cheap for the public otherwise where is the incentive for local people to use them?
I believe that all newbuild houses should have solar panels fitted to them, other councils across the UK already do this and also retrofit them to houses, why can’t we? All warehouses should already have them fitted but unfortunately don’t. The lifespan of the latest solar panels are roughly 40-50 years according to Renewable Energy Hub.
Recycling within the borough is shockingly low, in 2019 the borough was rated as one of the lowest in the South East for recycling.
We also need lots more universal electric car chargers BUT providers that set the same fee so people know what to expect then they go to charge up!
When it comes to biodiversity, this is another important issue that needs to be addressed. Unless we have protected areas set aside for wild flowers & animals we will see yet more decline within the borough. I can remember growing up seeing countless hedgehogs in the evenings, I’m lucky if I see one a year now. If we continue to see decline in biodiversity it won’t be climate change that will get us, it will be the collapse of the ecosystem that will.
We also need to be mindful about the natural environment when it comes to housing developments also, we are seeing a rapid expansion of the borough but at what expense? – Growth is needed of course but we need to be careful.
2. If you had the authority of the Council Leader, what would you do to urgently address any such problems you perceive?
If I had the authority of the Council Leader I would ensure that all local authorities near us lobbied the government for sufficient funding so local residents could apply for better subsidised solar panels, heat pumps, electric cars, house batteries and so on, this would make sure that local councils could work together for the interests of the planet but most importantly so that local people could afford to switch to becoming carbon neutral.
I would also work with local groups & people so that we could work together on a local climate change plan, talking to both young and older people.
I’d reinstate bring banks that the Tory Council got rid of recently. If we want to improve recycling figures then lets make it easier for people to recycle, not harder.
I would also work collaboratively with other parties, as this is vitally important. I’ve always said: “On issues that affect everyone, political parties should work together for the interests of the people they are elected to represent”.
I’d make sure that both the council and its elected cllrs engaged thoroughly with local people as this needs to be improved too.
3. In the absence of being Council Leader, in which way would you seek to apply pressure to the local decision-makers?
I will continue to talk to decision makers both online and in person whatever happens in the local elections. It’s important that new younger diverse voices are heard within politics otherwise lets be honest, not much is going to change.
I’m most happy to work with pressure groups and to help others in any way I can.
However if I am elected for Sherborne St. John & Rooksdown then I will work to help make a positive step forward that Basingstoke needs. A new young voice.
Protecting green spaces and climate action is important to me, it’s my generation that was brought up being educated by the great David Attenborough. It’s local authorities like ours that need to make the real change.