By Chris Cornell / Environment / 0 Comments

Labour councillors demand Citizens Assembly

When the City Council declared a Climate Change Emergency 8 months ago, the Labour Party insisted that its new Climate Change Group to should consider as a priority the option of creating a Citizens Assembly to address Climate Change.

This priority has not been addressed thus far. While there has been some discussion on the use of forums and the creation of a survey there has been a reluctance from the Conservatives to commit to a Citizens Assembly, despite the Government and numerous other local authorities having done so.

The Labour Party believe that Climate Change will not be prevented unless we all learn to change our behaviour. How those changes take place cannot be left to Council committees or pressure groups alone. To engage the public fully and reach acceptable solutions, the issue must be addressed by an independently selected and representative cross-section of citizens from the whole Canterbury district. All the evidence is that such Assemblies reach innovative, informed and widely acceptable solutions, which is what we need to address the diverse and specific challenges in Canterbury district.

The Council has recently allocated a further £500000 for climate change. One purpose that some of this money could be used for is to engage the people of Canterbury in discussing Climate Change.

Labour Councillors are therefore proposing that there should be a Citizens Assembly convened as soon as possible and have written an open letter to Council Leader Rob Thomas today demanding it. Running concurrently with it should be a Young Persons Assembly to ensure the voice of future generations is heard and acted on.
In all this, as well as our support for the Climate Change Action Partnership, for local tree planting initiatives and for the Canterbury Repair Cafe which opens this Saturday, Labour is leading the case for creating genuine behavioural change and for supporting all our communities to achieve reductions in carbon emissions as quickly as possible. 
We urge the City Council to act on these ideas.