CANDIDATES for the North Shropshire seat in the upcoming General Election had the chance to share their stances on climate change at an Environment hustings event in Oswestry on Wednesday.

Held at the Eastern Oswestry Community Centre, four of the five candidates faced questions from the public about the action they would take to reduce the level of negative impact on the world’s climate.

John Adams (Green Party), Graeme Currie (Labour Party), Robert Jones (Shropshire Party) and Helen Morgan (Liberal Democrats) were all in attendance; however Conservative Party candidate, Owen Paterson, did not attend.

Topics discussed on the evening included the aspiration to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030, agriculture, meat-eating, public transport, and ways in which the immediacy of the climate emergency can be made clearer.

Candidates in attendance all agreed to the Friends of the Earth pledge to make the climate crisis a deal-breaker on how they will vote in parliament if they are elected.

Ms Morgan was first to respond to a public question regarding the 2030 deadline but said it might be a difficult target to achieve.

“I think we have to accept that 2030 is a desirable date,” she said. “It’s probably not entirely achievable when you think we would have to replace every car on the road by 2030 with an electric one.

“We would have to make all of our energy renewable within a decade, which is such a short space of time.

“Our plan is to get to 80 per cent of renewable energy sources by 2030, to get all new cars and vans electric by 2030, and to have all houses properly insulated by 2030.

“From a practical perspective, we think 2045 is a more realistic, achievable target.”

Green Party’s Mr Adams however, said the 2030 deadline should be met.

He said: “If the deadline for the world to reach net zero carbon emissions is 2050, then we should be doing it a lot earlier because we have so much more responsibility than some other countries do.

“We need to be creative and innovative. We definitely think it’s something we should be aspiring to do and achieving.”

Mr Currie echoed Mr Adams’ thoughts and said his party is committed to following a socially just path to a 2030 deadline.

“That is a strong commitment in our manifesto,” he said.

“We’ve set up a series of mechanisms that will seek to achieve it.

“It’s not just about how we change our own lives, it’s about how we change our society.”

Shropshire Party’s Mr Jones was also in favour of aiming for a 2030 deadline.

“As far as a 2030 goal is concerned, it’s arguable whether it’s practically achievable, but I certainly think it should be the goal to which we are aspiring.

“Yes, there’s a goal of 2050 globally, but Britain has to lead the way. There’s always more we can do.”

A number of topics were brought up, with one of the largest talking points being around road network developments.

Mr Adams was first to say he believes there should be more sustainable and accessible public transport for people and that there should not be new road developments.

“We need sustainable, accessible and cheap public transport for people,” he said.

“We should also be looking at promoting more active modes of transport including cycling.

“We would try to give more power to local authorities so they could control things like train and bus services in their areas.”

Ms Morgan said the Liberal Democrats hold a similar view, and believes there should not be more roads built.

“I don’t think we should be building new roads – in terms of public transport, part of our policy is to roll back the cuts to bus services so we can have better services and also increased use of rail.

“We should stop building roads and focus on getting people off the roads and onto public transport.”

Mr Jones explained that public transport is one of the Shropshire Party’s key policy areas.

“What I think we need to do is to invest much more money into public transport, it’s not enough to just roll back cuts, because they’ve been happening for decades and decades.

“We need to invest in bus services, especially in rural areas, and we need a system which makes it possible to catch a bus to a train station and get anywhere you need to go.

“It needs to be done, and the way we can do this is to give more power to local government.”

Mr Currie echoed the need for better public transport services, and said his party will offer 3,000 new bus routes.

He said: “We have to recognise the fact that in the last decade of austerity, we’ve seen almost 50 per cent in cuts to local government funding.

“We need to develop free bus and rail for under-25s, then to subsidise a whole range of new green models about how we develop public transport.

“We need to look at how we can reduce the need for cars.”