Times & Star Politics Column - 4th October 2019

Below is Councillor Mark Jenkinson's politics column in this week’s  Times & Star:

I was often critical of Allerdale's previous administration for attempts to create ideological national policy from the council chamber – which involved blaming others for various failures, and writing a letter to tell them so - but never offering solutions and with nothing to say about how it might improve the lives of residents.

 So I was excited to see a Labour motion brought to last full council with a list of things that we could do to support carbon reduction – until I read it. An expensive wish list, some of it illegal, that was short on detail as to how we could achieve it and how much it would cost. No mention of the impact on council tax, increases in which would disproportionately affect the poorest in our communities.

 Not one Labour councillor questioned the impact it might have on their constituents. Spurred on from the public gallery by the Green Party, the ‘Remain Alliance’ was really in full swing. With just 15 minutes debate, Labour wanted to introduce blanket policies without any thought to their effect or who would pay for it. We couldn’t allow that to happen.

 Across all councillors, except Labour and the Allerdale Rural Independent who abstained or voted against carbon reduction efforts, we amended the motion to commit the council to reducing carbon emissions and resolved to go further than the UK100 pledge of 100% clean energy by 2050. We also agreed for Overview and Scrutiny to look at the [legal] requests from the original motion, and how they might be implemented without negative impact on our communities.

 We’ve lived the effects of ill-thought out policy and subsidy. The Labour front row beamed with pride as I pointed out carbon reduction across Allerdale since 2005, knowing the part that they and their government played in that....until I pointed out that 60% of that reduction came from industry, much of that from the loss of industry across the area.

 Conservatism and conservation are natural allies. This Conservative government is the most environmentally friendly in history - from doubling littering fines, banning microbeads and cutting down single use plastics. It has set a target of ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The UK being the first major economy in the world to do so. And as Conservatives we will ensure that in Allerdale we play our part.

 Our new council plan, out for consultation now, has a Cleaner, Greener Allerdale as a core objective with a heavy emphasis on our communities. For the first time it does so over a ten year period, rather than the previous ‘boom and bust’ of electoral cycles. Please do please take five minutes to read and comment on it at www.allerdale.gov.uk/consultation.