Full Response

Thank you for the opportunity to address your pledges.

I have absolutely no problem in supporting the 1st and 3rd pledges you ask – it is absolutely right that Government and our institutions at all levels need to accept the climate emergency and inform the population about what this means, and about the choices this presents. It is why Liberal Democrats, Greens and colleagues in other parties have been moving motions to have this emergency recognised in Parliament and in councils across the country. But simply recognising that there is an emergency does not solve the problem. As your third pledge raises, it is important that people take an active role in this process. Whatever we do will involve big changes to society – both from the measures we put in place, but also the parts of climate change that have now become unavoidable.

My only hesitation with your second pledge is that I am unsure if it is feasible without a clear commitment by not just myself but by the wider political bodies and by the people, and I am wary about making a promise I am not certain we could keep. Especially on such an important issue, and especially given the potential impact that missed targets and broken promises could have on peoples actions. As you may know the Liberal Democrats have already pledged to cut 5 years from the statutory carbon neutral target of 2050, bringing that back to 2045, as well as a ban from 2030 on new diesel and petrol vehicles. These are, to me personally, very much backstop arrangements – the very minimum that must be done and achieved, but that we must find ways to do more and faster. What I can promise you is that I will do everything I can to bring that target down towards 2025, and would happily listen to yourself or your group if you have ideas and proposals for how this can be achieved. I would also happily provide whatever support or assistance I can to take those options to the Citizen’s Assembly you propose in your third pledge, so that the commitment and consent of the people for those plans can be won.

If you have any further questions I’ll be happy to answer them – or if XR Wellingborough would like more detail about myself, or really have a burning desire to learn more about eco-friendly cleaning, I’m also happy to meet with your group.

Many thanks,

Suzanna Austin

Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Candidate, Wellingborough and Rushden