Karin Smyth MP highlights importance of local, community action in fight against climate change at Bristol Festival of the Future City event

Last week Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, spoke at the Festival of the Future City event in Bristol on how the city should respond to COP26. Ms Smyth has long campaigned on green matters, including the creation of green jobs and energy efficient homes, and spoke about the key issues facing Bristol in the fight against climate change such as the implications of poor housing on health as weather continues to become more extreme.

Ms Smyth also discussed what action against climate change is being taken in the constituency and spoke about the importance of community based action, highlighting local successes in food and allotments over the last few decades in areas such as Millennium Green in Hartcliffe which features a community garden and orchard.

Ms Smyth raised grave concerns about the Government’s handling of reducing our CO2 emissions. The UK is currently far off track to meeting it’s legally binding net zero target, and has no ambitious plans for green stimulus packages. Whilst other major economies such as Germany and France are pouring tens of billions of euros into low-carbon initiatives, the UK Government’s 10-Point Plan promised just £4 billion of new funding, and risks undermining the credibility of the UK’s COP presidency.

Karin Smyth, MP for Bristol South, said:

“This decade is a crucial time in the fight against the climate crisis. The Government likes to talk big on green, yet not only is the UK way off track to meet our legally binding net-zero target, we’re not even on track to meet the less ambitious target preceding it. As hosts of COP26, the UK should be setting the pace in greening post-pandemic economies, but instead we are falling behind other major economies.

“A Labour UK Government would tackle climate change head on, with the retrofitting of insulation and other energy saving measures in housing key to fighting this challenge. Grants would be provided to low-income households, while those who can afford it will receive low-interest loans. 24% of properties in Bristol are social housing, and these homes would be the perfect buildings for Bristol City Council to start looking at retrofitting. We need warmer homes to keep energy usage down.

“The Green sector will also be vital in putting climate measures in place and levelling up skills in Bristol. 75,000 green jobs have been lost under the Conservatives in just five years, but Labour is calling for £30bn of planned investment to be brought forward as part of a green recovery stimulus package to support up to 400,000 new, clean jobs in manufacturing and low-carbon industries, including the retrofitting of houses with energy efficient technology.”