Enjoyed the excellent hustings organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Campaign and SPOKES, Edinburgh’s cycling campaign.
Both hustings used a novel format with opening remarks from the candidates and then splitting us up to speak to small groups who grilled us about the detail that they were interested in. The format maximised participation from those present and enabled really effective scrutiny of our policies and proposals for government.
At the Climate Chaos hustings people focused on Labour’s commitments and energy efficiency and renewables. I was able to discuss our plans to work to deliver solar panels or other renewables to an initial 10,000 houses while also ensuring the houses have energy efficiency measures installed. Several people asked about how we ensure that new houses meet the required standards.
We also debated transport and waste issues focusing on how we reduce carbon emissions and help people make practical changes to their lives. The concept of carbon footprinting was discussed especially in relation to local food purchase either by individuals or by government.
At both hustings the issue of political leadership was talked about a lot. We have the Climate Change Act in place which the SNP Government talk about a lot – they’ve not delivered the action required to meet our targets. Whoever is in power will need to start decarbonising our transport networks. That will mean investment in electric vehicles and Labour has commited to installing 10,000 charging points through the next Parliament. It will also mean improving public transporet generally and buses in particular. However, I also argued that in addition to spending a greater share of tansport investment on cycling we also need to make our roads safer. That’s the number one issue people who don’t currently cycle raise with me.