Listen to residents. Invest in electric vehicles. Ensure climate justice
The Newham Liberal Democrats policy on emissions-based parking
Despite the current coronavirus crisis, climate change is the number one threat to the residents of Newham and to people across the country. Air pollution, which is intimately tied to climate change, already kills almost 100 Newham residents a year and damages the health of thousands of others. Immediate action is needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to improve the quality of life for the residents of Newham now.
For these reasons Liberal Democrats support strong policy action to tackle climate change and air pollution head on. However, climate policy must be agreed to and implemented in consultation with local communities. And crucially, the burden of tackling climate change must fall on those with the broadest shoulders. Achieving climate justice, where the poorest in our society are not disproportionately impacted by climate policy, is key.
Under the current Labour council climate policy, in particular the new emissions-based parking scheme, fails these tests. The scheme in its current form:
- Was rejected by 89% of respondents to the consultation
- Targets the poorest residents in Newham, already hit hard financially by COVID-19, with fees of up to £200, leaving the wealthiest residents with off street parking facing no permit fees
- Fails to put in place the charging points needed to support the transition to electric vehicles, meaning residents can’t upgrade to electric vehicles even if they want to
The policy is a shambles, doesn’t encourage drivers to shift to electric vehicles and will not significantly reduce air pollution.
The Liberal Democrats, whilst advocating for the principle of emissions-based parking, do not support this scheme in its current form. By electing Liberal Democrat councillors, you will have loud voices on the council demanding:
- A freeze to the rollout of the scheme
- The reopening of the consultation to properly engage with residents
- Investment in charging points so residents can actually upgrade to electric vehicles
The Liberal Democrats would only vote for emissions-based parking in Newham once the COVID-19 crisis has ended, a sufficient number of electric vehicle charging points have been installed and residents have been properly consulted. Importantly, this policy would only apply to those buying a new car, giving residents the opportunity to choose a car that is less polluting or electric, attracting lower to zero parking fees.
As we have seen in recent weeks with the suspension of the East and West Ham Labour parties due to allegations of electoral fraud, this council will not listen to Newham residents and is unable to implement effective policies.
If you want to end the incompetence of an out of touch Labour council, vote for your Liberal Democrat candidate on May 6th to give Newham resident the strong opposition it needs.