Friends of the Earth Host Green Hustings for Regional Mayor Candidates

Words: Alice Bayes
Saturday 13 April 2024
reading time: min, words

Fancy having the chance to ask questions about climate responsibility to the candidates for East Midlands Mayor ahead of the upcoming elections? This Wednesday 17 April is your chance to get involved at the online Mayoral Green Hustings. Here’s why it’s important and what to expect…

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Green-washing - once you understand what it means, it’s everywhere you look. From fashion brands to politicians, glossy promises of being climate-conscious abound that when unpicked are not so simple. When it comes to our political representatives, sometimes it feels like the real threat almost isn’t climate-deniers, but politicians who nod along and say what we want to hear, then continue to pave the way for fossil fuel companies or pollute the oceans. So how do we find out who’s putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to green credentials?

One answer is to go and see directly what they have to say, which you can do at the East-Midlands Mayoral Green Hustings coming up on Wednesday 17 April, so you can go to the ballot box informed and confident that you are voting for a candidate who really knows their stuff when it comes to their green responsibilities as Mayor. 

If you’ve never attended a hustings, it’s not something to be daunted by - and with this one happening online you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Before the event you have the chance to submit a question to be included in the hustings, as well as posing a question on the night. 

It’s likely there will be a diverse set of routes forward on the table when it comes to green action; Frank Adlington-Stringer (Green Party), Ben Bradley (Conservative), Matt Relf (Independent), Helen Tamblyn-Saville (Liberal Democrats) and Claire Ward (Labour) have all agreed to attend the hustings and set out their plans should they be elected.

The event has been organised by several different groups including Friends of the Earth, Fuel Poverty Action, D2N2 Active Travel Alliance (Sustrans, Cycle UK, Living Streets and Ridewise) and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, and this coalition are asking the candidates to sign a climate pledge, with a ten point Climate Action Plan for the East Midlands. The Plan covers the Coalition’s priorities for protecting people and plants, including: reducing home energy use, supporting green jobs, radically increasing public transport use and active travel, protecting nature, promoting renewable energy and only using ‘green’ hydrogen from renewable energy sources.


Friends of the Earth’s campaign organiser for the East Midlands Richard Dyer said: “The new Mayor will have new powers and funding that can be used to help our region tackle the climate and ecological emergency. They can’t single-handedly solve the crisis, but they must use the powers they have to make as big a difference as possible. They have a very important role to play in providing a guiding vision for the area, and will need to work with councils, businesses, local communities and the national government.”

This is about so much more than candidates just saying all the right things. It’s about a diverse coalition of local and national climate action groups who are trying to ensure that the new Mayor uses their funding and influence to make things better for both people and our planet. That starts with the candidates understanding the weight of feeling and proving that they have the knowledge and desire to live up to it, so that when they take office they can use their new funding and powers to take action across the East Mids.

Because as you may have noticed, if you’re involved in climate action in Nottinghamshire, there’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen: councillors, MPs, businesses, campaigners, and charities - all with a unique perspective on environmental policy. As a result, all Local Authorities in the East Mids Mayoral Combined Authority have a climate action plan in place, but unsurprisingly, levels of success differ. 

Climate action plans should address home energy use and public transport, but less than half of all homes are adequately insulated and only a tenth of commutes use public transport. The new Mayor can use their position to provide a guiding vision for our area - liaising with national government whilst also building important relationships in the local community - calling for national policy change whilst ensuring progress at constituency level.  

Will they ensure the East Mids meet the necessary carbon reduction targets? Will they support a just transition to more green jobs? Will they tackle fuel poverty and homes that quite literally cost the Earth? We need to find out and they need to know we care. 

The East-Midlands Mayoral Green Hustings takes place online on Wednesday 17 April at 7pm. Click here to book your place.

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