#TheTimeIsNow: Stortford residents urge MP Mark Prisk to be ‘voice of our children’ on climate action
Bishop's Stortford residents met their MP, Mark Prisk, at Westminster as part of a mass climate lobby.
An estimated 12,000 people from across the country took part in The Time is Now, a "mass lobby for climate, nature and people", meeting their MPs face to face outside the Houses of Parliament last Wednesday to push them to take urgent action on climate change.
Mr Prisk, the Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford, was challenged on a range of local issues including the lack of safe cycle routes and inadequate bus services that leave elderly people isolated and communities dependent on cars.
Stortford-based management consultant Zoe Attfield summed up the frustrations of many: "Primary and, unbelievably, secondary-aged children are not cycling to school because their parents don’t feel that it's safe.
"We are missing an opportunity to link the new developments to the town centre and its schools by not having basic end-to-end cycle routes.
"Cycling is a solution to traffic congestion and high levels of air pollution as well as being a fabulous longer-term solution for the planet. Yet it seems we’ve missed the boat. It’s not acceptable, we need a plan."
Residents questioned the lack of infrastructure to support uptake of electric vehicles and the Government’s plan to increase VAT on solar panels, making it harder for people to take action at home.
Constituents called on Mr Prisk to ‘be the voice of our children’ at Westminster, by pushing the Government to set concrete and ambitious targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions ahead of 2050.
He was urged to support the creation of a strong Environment Act to safeguard the UK’s biodiversity following Brexit and to keep climate change and the environment on the agenda by asking questions at Prime Minister’s Question Time.
Mr Prisk responded on his Facebook page last Thursday: "The constituents I met yesterday at the #TheTimeIsNow rally in London were concerned not only about the future of our planet but the need for urgent action – NOW. I’m with them... each of us, government, industry, we as the public, all have a role to play."
Environmental communications consultant and local mum Melissa Matthews, who attended the lobby, said: "Mark Prisk’s social media accounts may declare he is with us on tackling climate change, but now he must make solid commitments and take swift action.
"The world we know is changing and we need a war-like effort to tackle this crisis, with ambitious legislation to significantly cut the UK’s climate change contributions and to protect our biodiversity.
"As a priority, Mark Prisk needs to slash our local and national emissions, championing energy-efficient homes and sustainable developments, greater access to renewables and electric vehicles, as well as improved transport networks that are safer and easy to use."