Tackling the Climate Emergency

The Environment and Waste Management

The Lib Dems’ top priorities:

  • Introduce carbon targets for Peterborough as a whole with the aim of the city being carbon neutral before 2045.
  • Work to reduce waste and unnecessary consumption while increasing re-use and recycling.
  • Tackle litter and fly-tipping by:
    • Reviewing the unfair and counter-productive ‘Brown Bin Tax’.
    • Implementing a free ‘bulky waste collection service’ across the city 
    • Reintroduce street cleaners in problem areas and encourage community litter picks.
  • Reduce pesticide use and enhance biodiversity across Peterborough.
  • Encourage energy conservation and renewable energy.
  • Plant trees to help combat the effects of climate change.

It is our commitment to the natural environment that makes us concerned by the way the current Conservative administration has failed to live up to our city’s Environment Capital ambitions. The Lib Dems want Peterborough to regain our status as an environmental leader to ensure that residents are living in a pollution-free and clean environment and preserve our planet for future generations.

We believe that climate change is a fundamental threat to our way of life and to our biodiversity, we support the creation of citizens assemblies or equivalent forums within Peterborough for us all to contribute to addressing the challenges we face in the coming years.

The Lib Dems believe that Peterborough City Council should lead by example when it comes to energy conservation and renewable energy. The Lib Dems support the declaration of a Climate Emergency by the council and its aim for council activities to be carbon neutral by 2030. However, we believe this is the tip of the iceberg and we will aim for wider Peterborough carbon targets with the goal of the city being carbon neutral before 2045.

We will examine options for moving all council staff into one energy-efficient building (including the possibility of making better use of the existing new building on Fletton Quays) and dispose of or rent out the current Town Hall if/when it makes financial sense to do so.

Where government permits us to do so, we will use the council’s planning powers to promote high energy conservation standards and use of renewable forms of energy within new housing and commercial developments. A review has been launched of the Peterborough Local Plan and we will press for such measures to be a key part of the new/revised local plan.

The Lib Dems are concerned that pesticide use by the council and its contractors has increased in recent years. One of the ways we will look to improve our city’s biodiversity is to reduce the use of pesticides.

We will also support the Forest for Peterborough initiative which aims to plant one tree for every person in Peterborough and the Council’s target of getting tree canopy cover on City Council land up to 25% by 2035 (currently it is around 20%) and we will seek external grant aid to help us achieve these targets. This will encourage more wildlife; improve the quality of the air we breathe and tackle the climate emergency.

We will increase the number of council-owned biodiversity and wildflower areas including where appropriate on verges. We will seek to use grass clippings and timber generated by landscape and tree management  is a resource for energy generation and extra income for the council.

Visits to parks and green spaces have been proven to improve people’s mental and physical health. The Lib Dems will safeguard and enhance parks and playing fields across our city so that future generations are able to access a green space close to their home, for example by applying Natural England’s Access to Natural Greenspace Standard. We will ensure that the Council continues to enter its major parks each year into the Green Flag award scheme, as this encourages good management of the parks for both people and wildlife.

We will seek to manage the council’s farmed estate (farms which the council owns and leases to tenants) for greater environmental benefit, looking to reduce water usage and pollution and emissions. More fundamentally, we will also look at whether the council should be a rural landlord at all and whether we would get better value for money by selling the farmed estate as an on-going concern and investing the proceeds intp reduce council debt In particular, we will look to sell farmland to existing tenants where this is of interest to them.

The Lib Dems are concerned that too much waste is being incinerated in Peterborough rather than prioritising reduction, re-use, and recycling. We will review the future of the waste incinerator in Peterborough and whether this is best for the long-term sustainability of the area. The Council has recently received substantial Government funding for creating a heat network (the PIRI project). Lib Dems would ensure that this becomes a genuine renewable heat project and not just a means of using heat from the waste incineration plant.

The council should look to reduce the time taken to clear fly-tipping, reintroduce street cleaners in problem areas and, given the council’s current financial situation, work with parish councils and community groups to increase the number of ‘community litter picks’ happening across our city.

We will also work to reduce fly-tipping by reviewing the unfair and counter-productive Brown Bin Tax, as we believe that residents should not be penalised for using brown bins. We will introduce a bulky waste collection service giving residents two free collections each year, allowing householders to get the council to remove things like fridges and furniture which are otherwise all too often dumped by roadsides.

We support initiatives like Cool Food, which is led locally by Peterborough Environment City Trust. Food makes up 1/5th of our carbon footprint, and Cool Food helps us understand the carbon cost of what we eat. We will encourage residents to take up the challenge to cut carbon in food consumption (and waste) - reducing their food bills at the same time.