Opinion: ‘All ages concerned at climate change’

Wayne Fitzgerald, city council leader and Conservative group leader on Peterborough City Council writes...

Sunday, 31st October 2021, 1:43 pm
Some families may have to choose between heating and eating this winter

One of my key aims after becoming council leader was making the authority more transparent to residents and being open about what we do.

As part of this work, we started a monthly online session called ‘Ask the Leader’, giving people a chance to put questions to me about any issues affecting their daily lives.

We’re now five months into Ask the Leader and I’m delighted with how it’s been going.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I have never shied away from being put on the spot, but I also genuinely enjoy engaging with people and finding out what matters to them.

Ask the Leader has given me a further insight into local issues and most importantly, enabled the council to help resolve them.

This week’s Ask the Leader was focussed on climate change ahead of the COP26 global conference later this month and featured the highest number of questions so far.

It also included contributions from several young people, which was fantastic to see, especially in relation to such an important subject, which will impact future generations.

We had questions about flooding, making Peterborough greener, maintaining and enhancing our cycle networks and how residents can help to boost biodiversity in their areas, which all helped to generate a fascinating discussion.

We publish the footage of each Ask the Leader session on the council’s YouTube account and I would highly recommend watching this one back.

On the subject of the environment, we’re keen to hear from people and organisations doing great things in their communities. Ahead of COP26, we’re asking people to nominate ‘Climate Leaders’ so we can promote their efforts and inspire others. It might be a business, a school, or a group of residents doing something remarkable.

We also want people to make green pledges. It might be using less heating, turning the thermostat down by a couple of degrees or using public transport more – and then share these on social media.

We are proud of our city’s environmental record and the progress we are making towards our own net zero carbon target by 2030. But there is always more we can do. So please help us to make a difference, spearheading changes which will benefit our communities for years to come.

With Covid rates continuing to sharply increase across the city, we are continuing to work with partners to help limit the virus spread. One way of doing this is by ensuring that free rapid testing kits are readily available for everyone to use.

From Monday, November 1, home testing kits will be available from three libraries as part of a four-week trial. To collect a home testing kit, simply visit Peterborough Central Library, 
Orton Library, or Stanground Library. There is no need to book in advance.

Rapid testing is a key component in the battle against Covid. You can do it in the comfort of your own home and get a result within half an hour.

With local virus rates being so high we recommend everyone takes a rapid test regularly, but especially those who are returning to offices, or mixing more with people indoors and parents of school children. If you do test positive and need to self-isolate, don’t worry because there is plenty of support available. Visit peterborough.gov.uk

Throughout the pandemic our libraries have played a key role in helping communities across Peterborough. So we are delighted to be taking part in this four-week trial and if it proves successful, then we may look to offer home testing kits in our libraries on a longer-term basis.

For more information about libraries in Peterborough and their opening times visit https://cityculturepeterborough.org.uk/libraries-archives-bipc

Regular readers will be aware that tackling fly-tipping across the city is another key aim of mine.

I pledged to provide free bulky waste collections when I became leader to help address this issue, which I recognise is a big bugbear for many residents.

Well, I am delighted to confirm that free bulky waste collections will launch on Monday, November 1, and anyone who would like to use this service should visit www.peterborough.gov.uk or call 01733 747474.

It takes time to get these things off the ground, but we are there now and I’m confident this initiative will make a positive difference.

Finally, if you are planning on going out for Halloween this weekend, please be mindful of the fact that Covid cases are rising locally and stay safe.

We strongly recommend wearing face coverings in enclosed places and social distancing where it is possible. Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is still highly advised too.

By far the single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones is by getting the Covid vaccine, or the booster jab if you are eligible.

Visit www.nhs.uk to find out more.