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Friday, June 24, 2022

Local election candidates reveal views on climate action

Matilda Gettins reports on a survey shedding light on candidate support for environmental issues.

Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford, a collective of local environmental groups in Oxford, has created a twelve-question survey for Oxford candidates in the May 6th local elections, covering a range of environmental issues. The responses have been published on their website, organised by ward.

The questions cover active travel, energy, nature, the importance of the climate emergency for local authorities, and how candidates will contribute to a green and just recovery. The survey asks candidates to indicate their agreement to a range of statements and offers the opportunity to candidates to explain their answers in their own words. 

40% of all candidates have responded (105 out of 260) as of writing. Nearly all respondents heve indicated that they “agree” or “strongly agree” with the importance of the environmental issues highlighted in the survey. Some who have expressed disagreement did so because they believed the statements did not provide enough environmental protection. The strongest support is for the statement “The climate emergency should be an explicit and integral consideration in all local authority decision making”, with 92.5% of respondents indicating that they “strongly agree”, and the remaining 7.5% saying they “agree”.

Rebecca Nestor, Chair of Low Carbon Oxford North, said: “We’re thrilled that so many candidates are engaging with this survey. The responses so far show that there is near universal recognition of the climate and ecological emergency we face – and the need to take action. We urge more candidates to respond. Voters can help by encouraging their local candidates to add their views.”

Oxford Climate Society has also released a Voting Guide for the May 6th elections. The guide details how to sign up for elections, what the key competences of the Councils and Police and Crime Commissioners are and why local elections matter: “Policy and action for climate change does not just happen at a macro national level – local actions are just as important”. The guide also mentions Communities for Zero Carbon’s survey tool, calling it a “fantastic tool” which “gives great insight into key environmental issues that should be paramount to these local elections”. 

Image credit: JimKillok / Wikipedia Commons / CC-AI 4.0

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