Could Southampton be a sustainable city? It’s all about working together say Southampton’s Labour Council.
In the wake of an announcement that Southampton will be one of the first cities outside London to introduce a Clean Air Zone, there is a sense that there is still so much more to do to make a thriving city like Southampton truly sustainable.
Not everything is achieved through big government announcements; often it is the shifts in behaviours by everyone, and the impact of really local initiatives on the ground that can change lives.
Like many cities, Southampton benefits from some resourceful charities and community groups who wish to make a difference. One example are projects to reduce the amount of waste we produce, for example food waste, in which sadly the UK is high on the list of offenders.
Alan Whitehead MP and Shadow DEFRA Kerry McCarthy MP visited one of those (CRUMBS at SCRATCH) to follow up on how they were delivering. This is a project funded with EU money that seeks to both tackle food poverty as well as reduce waste and unnecessary carbon emissions using the Fare Share model.
Further discussions ensued with the leader of the Council Simon Letts and Councillor Dave Shields, who leads the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board with James Dyke from Southampton’s Climate Conversations about what practically the Council could do to promote and lead on this agenda.
Cllr Letts made a commitment to appointing a Cabinet lead on Climate Change at this meeting. Kerry McCarthy explained her proposals in a Food Waste Bill that would provide both ‘carrot and stick’ to reducing food waste, and the discussion ranged from initiatives that only government or EU could change to what we can all do locally in our communities.
Dr James Dyke said "Southampton could become a low carbon city, a healthy place to live and work. There are challenges, but community action working in partnership with volunteers, city council, universities and local business can make this happen.”
Kerry McCarthy commented “it was great to see first-hand some of the initiatives in Southampton which show the impact of local efforts in stepping up green action to make Southampton a truly sustainable city. We share this truly Labour vision to develop a green agenda that works for everyone and builds a cleaner, healthier future for us all.”