MAY 2022: News from Metro Mayor Dan Norris
Turning green words into green deeds
ONE of my favourite metaphors is that good politicians are ones able to make the weather. Sadly, this has acquired a literal sense as the deadly extent of the climate and ecological emergency has become clear.
As Metro Mayor of the West of England, I’m constantly in awe of the fact that the people of our great region are more aware and determined to protect the planet than anywhere else in the country. The public are certainly way ahead of our politicians.
Very many local people tell me that tackling global warming is a huge issue for them. But while the current government has some constructive words for our planet, in truth, a desperate situation is not improving anywhere near quickly enough.
Great British species, including the red squirrel and hedgehogs, have been and are in worrying decline.
Shamefully, our natural water sources – rivers, lakes, coastal and groundwater – are among Europe’s most polluted. In fact, some of our leading environment and conservation organisations say we are now “among the most nature-depleted countries in the world”.
Under my leadership, the West of England Combined Authority is getting on with the deadly serious business of fighting the climate crisis head on.
I was delighted that the West of England’s brand-new climate action plan was voted through in April, as well as £10.4 million of new cash to get down to work on meeting our region’s necessarily ambitious net-zero targets.
This includes making homes warmer through a retrofitting programme and kickstarting an electric vehicle revolution, both crucial to cutting today’s sky-high energy and fuel bills.
These are steps we can all get behind, wherever we live in our region – from our most rural of communities to our impressive market towns and the great cities of Bristol and Bath.
Together we can overcome the climate and ecological crisis.
But as Metro Mayor I’m not able to do everything necessary and quickly enough.
It will also require a massive input from national government if we are to succeed.
I am therefore, irrespective of our different political colours, keen to work with government, or indeed, anyone else, to achieve net zero as quickly as possible and rebuild our regional wildlife and plants.
As we know, words are easy. It is action that is now required.
Let’s work together to tackle the climate emergency and protect our brilliant part of the world – before it is too late. Let’s make the weather together.