Cllr Debbie Davies: Climate Emergency Speech

See below a speech from Cllr Debbie Davies (Baildon) given at Full Council on Tuesday 15th October 2019.


Lord Mayor


We put forward this amendment as although we welcome a lot of the work going on now and planned for the future we do have some questions about how some of the aims will be achieved and personally I wanted to add to the point about Glenaire Primary School.


We welcome the positive work going on in schools to raise awareness of environmental issues.  I have a son in year 1 and he is always coming home saying how important it is to protect the environment, he has participated in litter picking and the school encourage recycling, including collecting used pens.


I’m pleased Cllr Firth corrected the written motion as although Glenaire Primary School is in Shipley ward the school is located in Baildon and serves many children from Baildon ward.  The solar panels recently installed at the school were only possible due to the fantastic efforts of Baildon Friends of the Earth and John D Anderson in particular who established the Run on Sun Fun(d) charitable trust which raised over £16,000 to make this possible.  I felt the original motion should have acknowledged this and having spoken to John recently he is very keen to share his experience on how he achieved this and I have his contact details should anybody want to know more.


We agree with much of the work being done by the Council to support schools, such as the introduction of more 20 mph zones around schools to improve pedestrian safety and engaging schools with the tree planting programme so children have the opportunity to plant trees in their community.  We look forward to hearing more about this and how ward councillors can be involved.


We also welcome the introduction of no idling zones around schools although we do wonder how this will be enforced and only time will tell if people change their behaviour.  It would be useful to know how many schools have signed up to this campaign.


With regard to the development of play streets and potential road closures near schools in order to support walking and active play we feel we need to know much more about how this would work in practice.  It sounds a lovely idea but if I think about the schools in my ward there is no way you could close off the road without causing massive inconvenience to residents.


We are very supportive of the Bikeability programme offering cycling lessons to school children across the district.  This is funded by the Department for Transport through the Bikeability Trust.  The fund is always over-subscribed and although not every school in the district takes part, the grant commitment is always fulfilled.  So although we support the commitment in the motion to increase the Bikeability programme we would like some clarification on how this can be achieved.


Finally, we added in a line about not condoning children missing school to take part in protests about climate change.  Given that school attendance is measured keenly and is closely linked to educational outcomes we think it is frankly irresponsible for parents to allow their children to miss school for this purpose.  If they want to protest at weekends or during school holidays then so be it. 


On the subject of protests I will just briefly mention Extinction Rebellion who seem to be doing all they can to inconvenience people trying to go about their every day lives, whilst taking valuable police resources away from the fight against crime.  The way to change people’s attitudes is through reasoned arguments based on scientific facts but they choose to ignore this and seem to forget that the UK has made more progress over the past 30 years than any other major industrialised nation in reducing CO2 emissions.


We urge you to support our amendment, thank you.