Aidan Van de Weyer, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has pledged his unconditional support for the interim recommendations of the Combined Authority's Independent Commission on Climate, and has urged the other mayoral candidates to do the same.
“Baroness Brown’s report makes clear the gravity of the crisis that we are facing. Tackling climate change needs rapid action across a wide range of areas. The consequences of further delay in implementing a rapid plan will be catastrophic.
“The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with the largest electoral mandate in this area, must show leadership on climate change and wholeheartedly support these ambitious aims.
“Every decision and every policy that the Combined Authority makes should show how it maximises its contribution to reducing carbon emissions and protects residents from the damaging impacts of climate change. The current mayor seems to think that relying on the staid formulas provided by central government is enough - it just isn’t.
“The report recommends prioritising sustainable travel over road schemes when considering new investments. The mayor has shown over the last four years that he is most interested in building new roads regardless of the environmental consequences. This has to change.
“The commission has put a particular focus on emissions from the peatlands of the Fens. Through a ‘whole farm’ approach, we can achieve both emissions reduction and biodiversity enhancement in the Fens. But this requires us to be working closely with farmers so that we can continue to produce food for the nation.
“I fear that Mayor James Palmer just does not grasp the urgency of the situation. He is stalling when it is time for action. Adding caveats to the recommendations will send all the wrong signals to those who also need to up their game. He is once again showing that he fails when it really matters.
“Of course, the mayor can’t single-handedly do all these things. But that is one of the main problems with tackling climate change: everyone has to be striving for the same goals for us to succeed.
“What is needed from the mayor and other politicians is clear leadership on this issue. We must raise expectations about what we can do, but also what others can do. And then everyone must be held to account for how well they are meeting the milestones.
“If elected on May 6, I will immediately adopt these recommendations in full, without caveats or quibbles, and get on with implementing them.”