A Labour Council will:
Strengthen action on climate change and biodiversity, cut the city’s carbon emissions faster, reduce use of herbicides. plant thousands more trees and create more wildflower gardens.
Declaring a Climate Emergency
Your Labour Council recently declared a Climate Emergency because we believe action is needed now to ensure the current crisis does not become a catastrophe. We will use our position in speaking for the city by lobbying Government, the County Council, Cambridge companies, industry and regulators to take seriously the need for immediate decisive action so that real progress can be made for Cambridge – and the UK – to reduce our carbon emissions.
A Labour council will establish a Cambridge Climate Charter, which will set out how Cambridge can become a zero carbon city by 2030. It will call on all organisations, businesses and individuals to establish their own Carbon Management Plans and commit to reducing their carbon emissions which will combine in delivering the city’s net zero carbon target.
The Charter will also detail what else is required for Cambridge to become zero carbon. It will include the changes that city and the council would need to make, the obstacles Government has to remove, and extra national policies and incentives that are essential to enable cities like Cambridge to achieve this ambitious carbon reduction target.
We will also declare a Biodiversity Emergency at the council’s Annual General Meeting in May. We will pledge to update and reassess our Biodiversity Strategy, recognising there is just as serious a biodiversity emergency to address.
Building on the Council’s work with local partners on sustainable food, detailed below, we will undertake further work to increase Cambridge food sustainability and seek Sustainable Food Cities silver status in November 2019.
Becoming a Greener Council
The council has reduced its own carbon emissions by 15 per cent since 2016, and is on track to reduce it by one-fifth by next year. We will continue to cut emissions produced by the council’s buildings and fleet through developing and investing in carbon reduction projects, such as the completed installation of solar panels at Parkside Pools, and a biomass boiler at King’s Hedges Learner Pool, and a Combined Heat and Power plant in the Guildhall.
As stated above, our Climate Charter will set out the further steps a Labour council need to take in helping Cambridge and the UK become zero carbon by 2030. This will include investigating and researching opportunities to invest in renewable energy initiatives inside and outside of the city, with a view to making a financial return that can be reinvested in providing front line services, whilst boosting the National Grid’s supply of green electricity. We will target reductions in fuel costs, as well as supporting the city economy, by procuring local goods and services wherever it is possible and reasonable to do so.
Keeping our City’s Environment Special
Our vision includes making our green spaces even greener, so present and future generations can continue to enjoy Cambridge’s unique and special natural environment. A Labour council will increase the overall percentage of the city’s parks and open spaces that are actively designated and managed for biodiversity purposes. We will continue to work with the police to identify the small number responsible for repeat graffiti around the city and tackle this and other antisocial acts that damage our precious environment.
A Labour council will continue to reduce our use of herbicides and trial a ‘zero chemical’ approach to the upkeep of two of our parks. We restate our commitment to boosting the number, and quality, of trees in the city, as set out in the council’s 2016 tree strategy, with an aspiration to add 16,000 trees so that for one-fifth of the city will be covered with tree canopy by 2030 through new initiatives, as well as existing ones like our ‘Trees for Babies’ scheme. We commit to adding to our thirteen city wildflower gardens.
We will pursue a “Your Cambridge” focus in council public realm management, emphasising what all residents can do to help their city and their rights and responsibilities, working with residents and local groups and volunteers. We will assess how effective the increased fine levels for littering have been and consider further measures to reduce littering, dog fouling and anti-social behaviour.
We recognise the importance and significance of the River Cam in our city. In the last year, a local artist has been appointed to work with the local community as part of an art commission to celebrate its importance to Cambridge. We will undertake an assessment on making the River Cam corridor more accessible, while protecting its fragile environment.
Cambridge as a Place to be Enjoyed
A Labour council recognises the importance of our city centre for our residents and as a location that people all over the world visit. As well as looking to improve the quality of air, we will proceed with efforts to improve the built environment. A Labour council will consult on proposals to renovate the historic Market Square, the goal being to improve cleanliness, accessibility, and to enhance the use of the space for community use during the non-market hours. We will proceed with plans to redevelop the toilets at Silver Street, bringing them up to a modern and high-quality standard to be expected of such a highly-visited location.
We will work and collaborate with the County Council, local businesses and retailers, Cambridge BID and Visit Cambridge and Beyond on business and tourism-related issues so our city continues to be an important, accessible and attractive place to visit. We will lobby Government, working with the Local Government Association and other councils, for the implementation of a tourist tax, the proceeds of which would be invested in local services and city infrastructure. We will continue work with the County Council to reduce the impact of coaches, including at Queen’s Road.
Becoming a Sustainable City
A Labour council will ensure that sustainable growth of the city, growth that balances economic success with the quality of life and place (including in the design of new buildings) as set out in the new Local Plan, is supported. We will engage, in a variety of formats, with residents, developers and stakeholders how best to deliver this on an ongoing basis.
We continue to be committed to Cambridge being recognised nationally as a leading sustainable food city with easy access to locally-sourced produce and seek to promote a vibrant and sustainable local food system from field to fork. We are committed to understanding the ecological footprint of Cambridge and seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting food processing and production that protects natural resources and ecosystems. We support Cambridge Sustainable Food and other like-minded organisations in promoting such practices.
We will build on our work over the last twelve months in encouraging people to take part in water refill schemes in the city. We will explore the possibility of further water fountains in public spaces, following the recent installation of one at Parker’s Piece.
Cleaning our Air and Cleaning our City
To enable a green and zero-carbon city, Cambridge has to find sustainable solutions to existing and future transport problems. Our city remains congested, and our air, especially in the city centre, is of unacceptable quality.
As well as taking a lead on reducing carbon emissions, we will proceed with a new Air Quality Action Plan, with proposals for a Clean Air Zone in the city centre to improve the quality of the air that we breathe. We recently signed up to the Charter for Cleaner Air, backed by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other councils, to signal our intent to maintain pressure on Government to take steps to reduce illegal levels of air pollution.
These commitments will complement existing work in reducing diesel and petrol vehicle movements into the city centre. A Labour council will add to initiatives such as the recent investment of more than 20 electric taxi charging points, and support residents and businesses who wish to pursue the option with the County Council of ‘car-free days’ in areas of congestion like Mill Road.
We remain fully committed to ensuring all Cambridge-licensed taxis are zero or ultra-low emission by 2028 and, where possible, our fleet of council vans is being replaced with electric vehicles on renewal. We will continue the peak-time parking tariff at city multi-storey car parks following its introduction last April, and develop, as proposed within our parking strategy. These initiatives will enable our council car parks to assist with reducing peak-time congestion and air pollution in the city and increase the percentage of non-car journeys in the city.
We will continue to find ways to make recycling easier and more efficient across the city and South Cambridgeshire through the Shared Waste Service, encouraging residents and businesses to do more in recycling their waste. Collection of household green waste will continue to be free, unlike many other councils who charge for this service. We’ve successfully installed new recycling bins alongside litter bins throughout the city, and we’ve reorganised every bin round, saving 20,000 lorry miles. We commit to keeping a free pest control service for residents. This valuable service, which was proposed to be scrapped by the Liberal Democrats in 2014, is used by over a thousand households each year.
Investing More in Sustainable Transport for Cambridge
We will continue working with partners to deliver a new Cambridge South rail station near Addenbrooke’s by the Government’s target of 2025, or sooner if possible, and help to secure increased rail services including those serving Cambridge North station. We support initiatives that will deliver improvements to the central rail station, and we will continue to lobby for additional wider investments in the rail network benefitting our city and county, including the planned East-West rail route from the East Coast main line to Cambridge.
A Labour council will continue to use our position on the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) to assist with the delivery of infrastructure schemes to increase non-car journeys in Cambridge. We want to ensure the future growth of the city is properly and sustainably managed, reducing traffic on our roads and encouraging, instead, the use of cycling, pedestrian and public transport options. Over £20 million in extra cycling investment has been committed since 2014, including the important Chisholm Trail cycleway – construction now underway – that will link up the north, east and south employment hubs of the city. We will continue to pursue, with the Combined Authority and GCP, innovative solutions on bus transport, and support the Combined Authority in seeking the funding necessary to deliver the proposed CAM Metro.
We reaffirm our commitment to increase secure cycle parking in locations across the city to encourage more people to cycle, including taking opportunities in 2019/20 to add secure parking and cycling connectivity at community centres and within major new developments.
Cambridge is a place where bus usage rates lag behind the national average, with its current services deemed by the Government to be some of the least reliable and punctual in the whole country. We will support the GCP in leading on plans to substantially increase funding for local bus services and to cut congestion, subject to consultation input from residents and travellers. We will continue to press the Combined Authority to introduce bus franchising, under the powers at their disposal to do this, and to bring about other improvements like community transport, smart ticketing and the extension of Park and Ride usage and services. These initiatives will make a real and tangible difference to passenger numbers and reduce the traffic on our roads.