Steve Rotheram’s open letter to environmental campaigners
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our society and requires serious and bold action from us all.
I have always been committed to environmental issues and acknowledged the emerging climate emergency in 2017 in my manifesto, promising to make sure our city region is at the forefront of sustainable technology and that we are zero carbon by 2040.
Whilst there is always more to do, and as a Combined Authority we do not control local planning decisions, our city region has an excellent track record of delivering on green issues.
Our low-carbon economy is one of our biggest success stories, worth £2 billion a year to the city region and employing 22,000 people.
We have one of the largest concentrations of wind turbines in the world out in Liverpool Bay; we are investigating how to harness the tidal power of the Mersey to create plentiful, predictable, green electricity; and we are leading the way in the use of hydrogen to power trains and buses.
To encourage further progress, I have also launched a new £10 million Green Investment Fund to back renewable energy projects.
To persuade more people out of their cars, we are working to deliver an integrated public transport system, and have invested £460 million to introduce a brand-new train fleet, owned by the people of the Liverpool City Region. Seven out of ten of our buses are already low emission, with a trial of zero emission hydrogen buses set to start next year, and we will use our powers under the Bus Services Act to further improve the service.
I have established a Clean Air Task Force to tackle air pollution and we have committed £8 million to start work on a 600km network of routes to encourage walking and cycling across the city region.
However, we cannot do this alone. We need concerted action from central government to tackle the environmental challenges we face, including greater investment in low carbon energy generation, more investment in public transport in the North and scrappage schemes for older, more polluting cars.
I will continue to push for that action while at the same time we keep doing our utmost to ensure that our city region is as green as it can be.
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region