QUESTION TIME EVENT – What happened?

Questions Posed for the Dorking Climate Emergency ‘Question Time’ Panel Event in November 2019

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GENERAL Questions

A Climate Change Emergency is an ‘Emergency’ demanding fast actions.  Where are the fast actions or even plans with goals and objectives in the near future?

If there was one thing you could do that couldn’t fail regarding Climate Emergency, what would it be?

What is the No.1 thing that we can do in Surrey and Mole Valley to help the council achieve its Climate Change Emergency Plans?

If you were Prime Minster for a day, what would be the top priority for practical action to start addressing climate change?

NHS, Social care, and education will dominate government funding. But risks of climate change are so big and risk not being funded. How will this be balanced?

Would you choose adaptation or climate change mitigation or climate change prevention, as issues become ever more pressing?

If we were to hold one or more People’s Assemblies in Surrey and/or Mole Valley, how would SCC/MVDC use such forums to help decide deeper actions? (would it merely be to inform/ present ideas)?

What powers should a forthcoming Citizen’s Assembly have?

How can residents have faith in the declaration of a Climate Emergency when Surrey Country Council is willing to issue licences for oil drilling and acidification oil extraction. Does it not understand the connection between the use of fossil fuels and global warming?

Although the event is about local issues, it must be recognized that the global cause of climate change and environmental degradation is: wars, over population, fossil fuel energy, and what we eat.

AGRICULTURE Questions

Dave Goulson quoted that the UK has lost 50% of its insects from mainly pesticide use, which is increasing hugely.  Loss of insects to the natural environment is as important as climate change. What would you propose to change?

According to the ONS we import around 50% of what we eat in UK; and export half of what we product.  We have a capacity shortfall. Climate change will give us unreliable harvests all around the world. As they say: “We are one loaf of bread away from civil unrest”.  How do we feed ourselves in the future?

TRANSPORT QuestionsIMG_4159

Why not setup a protected bike network like the ones in Kingston and Waltham Forest (mini Hollands) have done.  How do we shift more journeys to foot and/or bike?

Feeling guilty of hypocrisy in having to travel by car to the event, but there are no buses after 5:30pm and don’t feel safe cycling on very busy roads after dark in the rain. The European Environment Agency has recently stated that 25% of all CO2 emissions are from transportation. A wholesale changeover of private cars, commercial vehicles and public transport to electric power is clearly not a complete answer –  as it would need the replacement of fossil fueled power stations to renewables; and it would also leave large sections of the population, namely the elderly, younger people and the less well off without access to personal transport. So what’s the best solution to achieving an equitable zero carbon transport system for all by 2050 or whatever date the politicians choose to set?

Considering both the need to stop using fossil fuels plus the traffic congestion in our area, what is the solution to our working travel needs?

What plans do SCC, MVDC have in terms of improving integrated public transport to reduce car use?  Bus services don’t get used because they are not part of a regular, reliable and integrated travel solution.

Gatwick airport has set out plans that will generate around an extra 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually. What is SCC and MVDC position on this?

What plans do SCC and MVDC have to improve cycle tracks/ lanes and encourage people to use bikes rather than cars?

What can be done to promote more car sharing?  So many cars have just one person in them.

BUILT ENVIRONMENT Questions

Why are UK homes so poorly insulated?  What can be done?  Will it happen in the next 5 years?

What is the policy of SCC and MVDC planning departments in terms of insisting any new builds or retrofit (individual homes or groups of housing built by developers) include ecological solutions eg. solar panels, ground source, heat pumps, rainwater collection, etc?

WATER / NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Questions

How can local government ensure the local water resources are safeguarded and managed to preserve the natural common rights of use by local citizens in the context with the coming climate change adaptation?

Other countries have wildfire fighting water storage reserves, and the increased likelihood of wildfires in Surrey, what is our local government going to put in place to protect its citizens and ecology?

Many mature trees appear to be felled due to diseases. But these are not replaced. Why not have a major tree replanting scheme?

What measures should be introduced to protect the biodiversity of our stunning environment?

IMG_4167WASTE Questions

Everything that goes into waste (domestic) collection or into recycling centres has a value, so why must we pay to have it taken away?

We see Surrey are keeping open their waste centres and Mole Valley has started a bottle refill scheme. But is this enough? What bigger actions are planned?

GENERAL THEMES FROM THE DISCUSSION

  • Climate Emergency means Action is needed urgently
  • The Challenge is big
  • Funding is an issue
  • Although lots of little actions will all add up, we need to think big picture, and big strategic changes

  • Integrated transport is important to people
  • We must challenge the norms (eg. not just accept that councils are constrained by central government policy; push the barriers; question why; question how can more be done)