Newcastle Green Party calls on Council to take climate change obligations seriously

5 March 2019

Green Party protesters at Dewley Hill


Newcastle Green Party is calling on Newcastle City Council to take its climate change obligations seriously by ensuring that no new coal mines are opened in the city and that new developments are built with sustainability in mind. Despite growing global awareness of the devastating impact of climate change and the need to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the council’s new Development and Allocations Plan (DAP), due to be approved at tomorrow’s council meeting, contains no mention of the UK Climate Change Act. Local planning decisions will determine whether Newcastle meets its own targets on reducing carbon emissions and the Green Party are arguing that the DAP as it stands is an opportunity missed.

Green Party spokesperson Alistair Ford said “Time is running out for the world to act on climate change and the very future of our society is at risk. The UK should be leading the way in showing that a low-carbon future is possible, and Newcastle, as a leading Core City in the North, is a place where the green revolution should be underway. Instead we’re disappointed to see the council’s DAP has virtually no mention of climate change and the role that new developments will play in tackling – not worsening - the major issue facing society. In January, the Council also failed to report on progress with their own 2010 pledges to tackle climate change when questioned by the Green Party”.

Last year the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) produced a guide to help planners and politicians tackle climate change. The guide shows how local authorities can plan for a low-carbon future by making walking, cycling and public transport use more attractive, by building homes to higher standards of energy efficiency, by designing district heating and renewable energy into new developments, and by protecting new developments from future flooding or heatwaves caused by climate change. Newcastle’s DAP fails to address these issues seriously.

Ford added “Last Friday saw Banks Mining submit its application for opencast coal mining at Dewley Hill, near Throckley on the edge of Newcastle. We called on the DAP to include protection against coal mining in our city, something that the government has made clear should be a material consideration for local authorities.

Kirkless Council in West Yorkshire included a clause in their local plan stating that all planning applications for fossil fuel exploration and extraction will be required to demonstrate that their activities and operations will have no detrimental effect on climate change. We urge Newcastle City Council to include a similar clause in their DAP, and show they are serious about the climate emergency we are facing.”
The Development and Allocations Plan will be approved at by the City Council at its meeting on the 6th of March.