Climate Change: Our call for evidence

Climate Change: Our call for evidence

We ran our call for evidence between 17 December 2019 to 31 January 2020 to engage and hear from individuals and organisations living, working and delivering services in Newcastle upon Tyne in a discussion on what the city as a whole can do to make Newcastle carbon neutral by 2030.

It had three parts, a call to experts for scientific and technical evidence, a call to individuals and organisations to send their ideas for everyday, simple things everyone can do now to make a positive difference, and a version specifically for young people to give us their views.

We promoted it widely both online and off through our own communications channels, and asked partner organisations such as the city’s universities to let people know about it, including students.

We received 1,221 responses, including around 360 from young people and 33 responses to the scientific and technical call for evidence. 

What did people say?

Looking at what everyone told us, including young people, a majority (55%) agreed with our proposals on climate change.

When commenting on our proposals, some of the main views expressed were that the ideas proposed could be more ambitious, that people would like to see cycle lanes & infrastructure improved and more trees being planted, and that the strategy needs more detail.

The latter point is reflective of the fact that we are continuing to work on a more strategic and citywide approach to carbon neutrality. 

Were there specific suggestions?

Many suggestions for useful everyday actions to tackle climate change related to transport, such as increased use of public transport, walking and cycling, eating less or no meat or other animal products, buying fewer things, and recycling more.

Young people also mentioned making greater use of reusable water bottles, and having more public water fountains.

Indeed, many people said they were already doing what they had suggest, and several young respondents also said they had joined environmental groups at school to take collective action within and outside their schools.

The main suggestions we received about how we could make people aware of how Newcastle is acting on climate change were to have positive messages, educate people at a young age, to work with communities, and to show people what they can do as individuals and in groups.

Young people talked about methods including: advertising and posters, protesting and campaigning, showing people the reality of the situation, and using social media to raise awareness.

Scientific and technical evidence

From the call for scientific and technical evidence, we received recommendations about how domestic-source emissions could be reduced such as ensuring that neighbourhoods, including new builds, are built in a way that supports sustainable transport, including walking and cycling, that they should be zero-carbon, and that existing properties should be retrofitted to meet zero-carbon standards.

Most respondents commented on the need to include green space to promote carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and health & wellbeing.

Recommendations for commercial and industrial sector- source missions were similar, including fitting new builds are with solar panels, and retrofitting older ones.

The Council’s role in bringing together key partners such as universities, healthcare trusts and large employers in the city was acknowledged.

Suggestions for transport included an ultra-low-emission bus network, single tickets which would be valid on all public transport within the city (like the Oyster card), and improved winter gritting of pedestrian and cycle routes.

Other suggestions related to the need for behaviour change and the practicalities of tree planting.  

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