1st Mar, 2021

Your Letters: The NHS, staying healthy and a greener future

Correspondent 9th Aug, 2020

WE recently published an open letter addressed to Councillor Anthony Lovell, the borough council’s portfolio holder for climate change from members of the public.

This is his reply:

Regarding the climate change panel.

It’s important to note that the panel doesn’t directly implement anything. It’s role is to oversee the development of a sustainability / decarbonisation action plan which can be put before the executive committee and full council.

A draft plan is currently being worked on, but because of Covid, progress has been difficult.

Key areas:

1. Sustainable buildings and work places

2. Renewable energy

3. Transport and travel

4. Planning

5. Community

6. Procurement

7. Biodiversity

8. Circular and low carbon economy

The essence of this portfolio role is to look at all departments and services within the Council and to bring about change that will maximise our potential to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions, and sink carbon dioxide, enhancing our biodiversity and improving our sustainability.

We have a number of applications for grants for solar panels and car charging points and officers are also drafting plans to provide PV panels and charging points.

The Covid-19 outbreak has proved we can change rapidly and we are sure the council’s energy consumption has radically reduced.

Lower private car will have reduced carbon emissions even further.

This gives us a flavour of what we’d like to achieve, however, realistically energy consumption is going to increase again, so we need to push for sustainably produced electricity and a rapid withdrawal from hydrocarbons as a fuel source.

When will the climate emergency be made official by a motion voted through the council chamber and with an ambitious target date to achieve carbon neutrality?

This has been made official. It was voted on in full council in September 2019.

National and county targets are for 2050. This does not mean we cannot be carbon neutral much earlier. Optimistically I’ll be pushing for neutrality by 2030.

I think it’s achievable within the council, however, commercial enterprises and residents may find it more difficult.

Regarding Worcestershire County Council, I know certain county councillors are perceived to be pro-car, but I honestly don’t perceive we have any barriers placed on us by WCC.

Finally we’re working to prepare an online survey including climate change. We would also look to consult on the draft plan and run public and partner workshops.

We will certainly welcome members of Redditch Climate Action Network (CAN) to present their ideas and to hear our action plan.

Councillor A Lovell (Con, Winyates)

I SEE in the Redditch Standard Rachel Maclean MPs Westminster Diary where she blames the Labour Party for her mailbox being full of angry comments from constituents blaming the ‘nasty Tories’ for voting against protecting the NHS in future trade deals (July 24).

The amendment, had it passed, would have allowed Parliament to scrutinise and vote on trade deals and enshrine in law to protect our NHS and food standards.

Our MP and her Conservative colleagues voted against this, meaning there will be no accountability to hold the Government account if they decide these and any other items are for sale when securing trade deals with other countries.

Instead of attacking and blame gaming those who voted to protect against this happening and moaning about her constituents – who are right to be concerned – she should have explained why it was the right to vote against having scrutiny and a vote on future trade deals.

A Berry, Redditch

WITH lockdown easing, it’s clear the Government wants us to become more active, return to work and dine out again.

To support this, local authorities have already begun to create new cycle lanes, e-scooter trials have started, and more tables and chairs are appearing on our pavements.

It’s essential local authorities consult with disabled people to consider the effect these changes may have on people who are blind or partially sighted, or who have other mobility issues.

Space for new cycle lanes should be taken from roads, have controlled crossings, and not affect bus stop access.

E-scooter trials must not increase obstacles on the pavement, and businesses putting furniture outside should think about how disabled people will navigate around it.

Our ‘new normal’ should help everyone get back outside – not make it more difficult.

E Thompson, RNIB

WE’VE all felt  the strain of lockdown which means looking after our physical and mental health is extremely important.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), we see it as our responsibility to help people to keep their hearts healthy, which is why we’re asking the nation to take on our new Step Challenge now lockdown has eased.

A brisk 20-30 minute walk each day can be  a simple way to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity  physical activity each week and can also help improve sleep, reduce stress levels, boost energy and help you get fit.

We are urging the public to #BackTheBHF and help the millions of people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Research suggests people with these conditions are at higher risk of complications from Covid-19.

Visit www.bhf.org.uk/mystepchallenge for more information.

B Kobson

Senior cardiac nurse, BHF

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