New Lib Dem Council Group leader Edwina Hannaford has announced the first two appointments to her team, and they are both focused on the environment: Colin Martin is spokesperson for the Climate Emergency and Rob Nolan is spokesperson for the Ecological Emergency.
Explaining her decision to appoint two environmental spokespeople, Cllr Hannaford said:
“We know that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases are causing the climate to change, but humans have seriously damaged our natural environment in other ways too. Reversing this damage will be a huge and complex challenge, so it is a real concern that the new Conservative Leader of the Council has made this a part-time job for a cabinet member who is also responsible for the Fire & Rescue Service, anti-social behaviour and restaurant food hygiene.”
Cllr Colin Martin will challenge the Council to set annual targets for insulating homes, replacing oil/gas boilers and taking petrol/diesel-powered cars off the road. He is also demanding funding to make these changes affordable for everyone:
"Most people tell me they want to cut their carbon emissions but the size of the challenge just feels overwhelming.” says Colin. “Some aren’t sure where to begin and many simply don't have the money to upgrade their home or buy a new car. My mission is to speak up for all the people in Cornwall who want to make a change but need some help to make it happen.”
As Climate Emergency spokesperson, Colin will also push the Council to prepare for extreme weather events (e.g. by clearing storm drains more thoroughly in the autumn)
Cllr Rob Nolan will call on the Council to support tree planting and rewilding schemes and give the public a voice in setting the priorities for how our countryside is managed and funded:
“Our natural world is being destroyed at an alarming rate. We all rely on nature; it sustains us, providing us with food and water. We will campaign for and take actions that help nature recover and protect habitats where wildlife can thrive.”
As Ecological Emergency spokesperson, Rob will also continue the work he led in the previous administration to put nature at the heart of planning rules and reduce the amount of waste being produced in Cornwall.
But Cllr Hannaford says that protecting our environment goes much wider than these two sets of direct actions: As Lib Dem group leader, Edwina says she will be ensuring that the social and environmental impacts of every Council decision are properly considered:
“The new leaders of the Council must show that they are balancing the needs of people and the planet in every decision they make."
Cllr Hannaford will announce the rest of her appointments later this week.