Poor public transport 'contributing to climate change'

The actions of bus and train companies are contributing to climate change, a Labour councillor has claimed.

Friday, 24th May 2019, 10:33 am
Coun Wallis said that a new Northern train timetable this month could leave more people standing on busy services.

Tony Wallis said that the cutting of local services was pushing people away from public transport and into their cars.

Coun Wallis, who represents Castleford Central and Glasshoughton, made his remarks as Wakefield Council declared a "climate change emergency", and pledged to become a carbon neutral authority by 2030.

Speaking at the authority's annual meeting on Thursday, he said: "This isn't the Millennium Bug.

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Coun Wallis was recently re-elected to his Castleford Central and Glasshoughton seat.

"We can't just not talk about this and pretend it isn't happening. Climate change is happening.

"To help, we need more people on buses, but services are being cut.

"And people in my ward are telling me that the new train timetables are going to leave more people standing on the Castleford to Leeds train.

"This is going to drive people away from using public transport."

Bus services have been cut in some parts of the district.

The climate change motion was put forward by council leader Peter Box, who said that politicians needed to go "further and faster" to stop the planet suffering irredeemable harm.

He said the authority had already taken a number of steps to slash its own carbon footprint, including installing solar panels, replacing coal boilers in schools and libraries, and introducing PC shutdown software.

Labour backbencher Steve Tulley said: "We are all visitors to this planet. We are here on short-term loan. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave this place how we found it.

"We need to call out the climate change deniers like (Donald) Trump and (Nigel) Farage."

Coun Steve Tulley said his generation had a duty to address the problem for the sake of the future.

The issue received unanimous support across the council chamber, with Conservative group leader Nadeem Ahmed welcoming it as a "good motion".

But there was criticism of Labour's approach from newly-elected Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Gordon.

He said: "I am disappointed that this motion delegates the development of specific emergency plans solely to Cabinet, rather than a cross-party working group.

"There is no greater issue and no one political party owns it."

Lib Dem Tom Gordon voted for the motion but said he was disappointed the issue was being deferred to the Cabinet.

He suggested the council scrap free parking permits and travel supplements and offer incentives to travel by bike, bus or train, and added that the authority should go "fully digital" and avoid printing excessive amounts of paper.

In response, Coun Box accused Coun Gordon of "showboating" and referenced the Lib Dems' support for the Conservatives during the coalition years, during which some green subsidies were axed.