Pollarded willow, Thirsk
North Yorkshire Council, NYC, has a policy to cut carbon emissions, ensuring that it achieves net zero by 2030. It is also diverting waste from landfill, using it to generate energy.
Like the majority of the candidates in this election, and I believe the majority of residents the Sowerby and Topcliffe Division I recognise and support the need to move to more sustainable energy sources, thus protecting our environment. However, and in my opinion there is a however, we must not look at these aims in isolation.
In this area we have a requirement to develop and support businesses and employment opportunities to sustain the recent significant growth in housing and difficult choices will need to be made at times. This must include obligations on developers and utilities to ensure that they fully understand their responsibilities to prevent pollution, and the consequences if they fail, and there should be severe consequences.
Alternative sources of energy generation are required, currently the 2 front runners are solar and wind. I suspect that there will be others in coming years. It is an emotive subject and one issue is the difficult balancing act whether good land is removed from food production to produce solar energy. This in turn has the potential increase our food miles. If elected as the councillor for Sowerby and Topcliffe I am happy to join in this debate as it needs exploring from all sides to reach a sensible and sustainable way forward.
NYC is investing an additional £6.5m in the county’s road network, plus as announced only this week further funding for “potholes repair”. I shall be pressing that our area receives its fair share of these funds to improve the experiences of all road users, pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users. We need a good road network to promote and support our businesses, tourism industry and residents.
As I suggested earlier we need to adopt an all round approach so that we are not caught out by “the law of unintended consequences”.
Further comments added 26 November
“Firstly I will deal with the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. This is currently out for consultation and I would encourage as many people as possible to give their input. That way a fully rounded Strategy can be produced which, if elected, would have my full support knowing that all aspects had been taken into consideration.
North Yorkshire Council has a policy to become carbon net zero by 2030. Again I support this policy, it is ambitious and I believe that issues outside our control present a significant challenge e.g. The current inability of National Grid to meet demand and the slow development of alternative fuels larger vehicles (for the council’s refuse collection vehicles) are but two. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
As I have said previously I support our local businesses and our farmers who provide jobs and food for our residents and I believe it is incumbent on us to work together in such things as solar panels on the roof of industrial buildings and biodiversity along field boundaries and woodland and wetlands.
The forthcoming Devolution Deal will deliver investment to deliver economic growth for York and North Yorkshire. Now where that economic growth takes place, quite rightly, should be a matter for consultation, but if elected, I will be arguing the case of this area to receive a portion, thus securing employment opportunity for our residents.
I support the provision of solar panels for schools. I am aware that the modern systems have battery storage which has the potential to enable the school to significantly reduce their energy costs, unlike the one on my roof which is the early type which just feeds everything directly into the grid. The issue here is the initial installation costs but I don’t believe this cannot be solved.
Regarding a suggestion for traffic-free times in the town centre. The idea is good, it was something we explored when I was the Ward member for Thirsk on Hambleton District Council, however the advice received from the highways department was that the division routes required were unsuitable and all the car parking was in and around the centre, which the existing one way system made difficult to access.”