The pandemic has made us all reassess what is important to us. And a key priority for many has been green spaces and our environment - we all regularly used and valued our local green spaces even more than usual. The fresh air and nature have been invaluable for physical and mental health and as well as greatly increasing our quality of life, is vital for local plants and wildlife.
Throughout the summer recess, I have met with many residents and community groups, sharing our interest of green spaces and the environment. For example, at Chester Road Field, I was interested to hear about this valuable open space being given to the community under covenant in 1933. The field is a lovely, open green space that is well used by the community for all kinds of events and activities, from jubilee celebrations to casual games of football and dog walkers.
And just like the Chester Road neighbourhood, people in Stepping Hill and the surrounding area benefit from Mirrlees Fields. The fields are the largest green space in the area and ecologically important in storing excess flood water which would otherwise be added to the Ladybrook tributary. Its value to the wider community cannot be overestimated. It was fantastic to be able to meet the campaigners and residents who enjoy and recognise the importance of these fields for the wider area.
And it’s not our local green spaces and environment that needs our attention. At the end of October to mid-November this year, we will be hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). We currently hold the presidency of the COP26, which will be held in Glasgow in just a few months, and climate change and the environmental impact will be headlining the agenda.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, released a report on climate change earlier this month, entitled ‘Code Red for Humanity’, which made for stark reading and will, I am sure, inform conversation at the COP26.
Our Government is taking actions like investigating green energy tariffs - which would ensure further transparency - and implementing green home initiatives, but it is clear that while action is being taken to protect our environment and fight against climate change, there is more that can and must be done. Earlier this summer I met with Cheadle Climate Action Group to discuss just this, and the current initiatives we have in place for tackling climate change.
Green measures are important for our community, the country and the world. But, in order to work these measures must also be embraced by our community, with individuals and neighbourhoods being an important part of the planning process for all measures to make our communities green. We all want to do as much as we can to protect our environment and safeguard our green spaces for generations to come.