Monday 16 April 2012

Greening the UK local elections

In the UK, we are going to the polls on 3 May to vote for councillors in our local councils and in London they will be electing a new mayor. So everyone is gearing up for electioneering.

For me the major issue in any election is the environment, specifically the attention paid to the natural environment and wildlife. Lots of environmental charities are campaigning to get prospective local politicians interested in environmental issues. The Woodland Trust. for example, are busy putting out lots of useful information about woodlands and trees in advance of the elections, you can read about their campaign for the London mayoral election on their Woodland Matters blog. However, in some of their campaign literature they admit that nature isn't being seen as a priority by any of the candidates in the London Mayoral elections. It's a sad truth that in difficult economic times, the environment is given even less of a priority than it usually is.

In Edinburgh, it's very heartening to see Scottish Green Party candidate Gavin Corbett actively involved in the Save Craighouse campaign. You can read my first reactions to the proposed developments on this beautiful historic site and woodlands here and my perhaps overly optimistic reactions to seeing the developers' exhibition here and read Gavin's post on the Friends of Craighouse blog. He asks some excellent probing questions of the type that our elected representatives should be asking (never mind those seeking election). We need more politicians to engage with the environment in this way. (To be fair, it seems that all the local council candidates are opposed to the proposed developments at Craighouse).

So as you go to the polls, think about what the candidates are saying about the environment and if you get a chance to speak to them, ask them directly about their views on the issues. The more people ask them about the environment, the more they'll realise that it's a topic they need to address!


Ms Sparrow said...

The only way that the environmental changes we need will happen is if we elect officials who will make it a priority. And, it must happen world-wide!

RG said...

YES! Keep the elected (or want-to-be-elected) officials aware and knowledgeable and supportive!

Here, before our State Legislature budgeting exercises, there is a HUGE Environmental Lobby Day where a very organized, large, broad-based, and knowledgeable cast of hundreds takes over the day in our Capital and lobbies, lobbies, lobbies for some pre-selected issues. Results are very good!~

The Weaver of Grass said...

Wise words in your last paragraph Juliet - so few people take a real interest.

Kaye Brennan said...

Great post Juliet and you're right The Weaver of Grass, wise words. So far, the Woodland Trust has seen responses to our questions about London's woods and trees,from 2 candidates: tthe Green Party (a reassuring and full response, as perhaps you might expect), and UKIP - not quite as detailed but nonetheless there are pledges about funding and empowering schools and communities to plant trees, plus some fine words about protection. Party politics aside, both Ken and Boris have enabled some very good things for trees during their time in power I personally am surprised not to have heard much from either of them as yet, nor the Independent, Lib Dem and BNP candidates.
As Juliet says, people in power need to know the environment is as important to us as every other issue. And they won't know unless we tell them!