The Huddersfield Friends of the Earth group has been working hard to raise climate and environmental issues up the agenda of the forthcoming Kirklees local elections on 6 May. The group has held an online Zoom hustings with representatives from the four main political parties and has also run a candidate survey asking candidates their opinions on a range of pressing local climate and environmental issues.
The online hustings was chaired by Huddersfield-based climate interfaith climate campaigner Kiran Bali, with panellists including: Andrew Cooper (Green), David Hall (Conservative), Andrew Marchington (LibDem) and Dathan Tedesco (Labour).
The survey has asked candidates for their attitudes and positions on a range of issues from the Leeds Bradford Airport expansion to the A629 road expansion scheme. Candidates were also asked to pledge support for the Green New Deal to create local green jobs and attitudes on Passivhaus low energy building, fossil free divestment and the better buses campaign.
Huddersfield Friends of the Earth made strenuous efforts to contact the main local parties to share the survey amongst their candidates but only received 18 responses in total.
Chayley Collis, Co-Coordinator of Huddersfield Friends of the Earth commented:
“We normally undertake election surveys and hustings for general elections so this was the first time we attempted it for the Kirklees local elections. This year we felt that it was really important to ensure that climate and environmental issues were debated as part of the Kirklees local elections and that the candidates shared their positions on a range of pressing local issues.
It was useful to hear the local parties’ positions on a range of issues at the hustings. We were disappointed not to have more survey responses from candidates but we are grateful to those who completed the survey and shared their positions on issues of vital importance to our members.
It has been good to engage those seeking election in the Kirklees local elections with the climate and ecological crises. Kirklees Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and it is our job to ensure that councillors act with the urgency this requires. US President Joe Biden recently told a major summit that we are in a “decisive decade” for tackling climate change. The Kirklees electorate deserves politicians who engage deeply with these issues. We hope to make our hustings and survey an annual event to keep climate and environmental issues high on our local political agenda.”
The survey responses and a recording of the local election hustings are available to view on the Huddersfield Friends of the Earth website.