Green candidates pledge to raise ambition for climate action in Surrey

We are pleased to support the ABCD Pledge, promoted by South East Climate Alliance (SECA).  SECA is asking candidates in the upcoming local elections to pledge to take four actions on climate. Greens are fully behind this – below you can see a selection of our candidates with their ABCD pledge cards – and below that, you can read about what elected Greens have done so far, and what more needs to be done.

“I signed the SECA pledge because limiting global warming is the existential challenge and has to underlie every decision we make. Local councils have an enormous part to play in this. I want to hold Surrey County Council to account on their climate emergency declaration and make sure actions are taken which actually make a difference to carbon emissions and loss of biodiversity.”
Catherine Baart

“I signed this pledge as our Councils must scale up their ambition on climate change and produce the costed action plans needed to make it happen. Greater leadership is still needed from local, as well as national, government.”
Jonathan Essex

Green councillors area already working hard on climate.

  • At Reigate & Banstead Borough Council we tabled a motion which led the Council to create an Environmental Sustainability Strategy (which includes a list of actions on climate change) and to employ a dedicated officer to work on it.
  • At Surrey County Council, Cllr Jonathan Essex presented a motion with a 2030 target for reaching net-zero carbon emissions. It wasn’t supported, but it did lead the Conservatives to put their own motion aiming for net zero by 2050. This led to a baseline study being conducted by Leeds University which set a target of around two-thirds reduction of emissions by 2030.
  • Cllr Jonathan Essex made a set of proposals during the budget-setting process at Surrey County Council, including investment in cycling, renewable energy infrastructure and more. These were not approved with the budget but most of the proposals are included in the forthcoming detailed action plan – including a new post of Energy Officer for Surrey schools.

Neither Surrey nor Reigate and Banstead has so far published clear costed plans on how we will deal with the biggest challenges that must be addressed locally:

  • On Transport, Surrey County Council needs to finalise its detailed action plan, which must set out how we will reduce emissions from road transport by Surrey’s target of at least two-thirds by 2030. This needs to combine scaling up bus routes and affordable fares for all (which requires greater powers), secure commitment to electrify all rail and repower heavy vehicles, invest in walking and cycling improvements (employing a cycle planner would help!) and support electrification of all that remains with sufficient electric charging points across the County.
  • On Homes, each borough council (or the County) must make a plan, backed by the finance needed, for all homes and other buildings to be properly insulated.
  • On Energy, we need a plan to generate renewable energy in Surrey, and stop allowing new oil and gas wells – and we must completely divest the Surrey Councils’ pension fund from fossil fuels.

We will continue to hold both Council to account on their targets – and the more Greens who are elected, the more influence we can have.

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