We must strive for a greener, cleaner city

Military Road, Canterbury, one of the worst roads for pollution in the district

by John Yard

At a time when we hear of school pupils going on strike because they feel that the government is not doing enough to combat climate change, I feel that Bob Britnell’s comments (“Climate change hysteria vs a dose of reality”) last week cannot go unchallenged.

There is now a sufficient weight of scientific evidence around the world that global warming is happening and that we humans are contributing it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (as well as the BBC!) has also recently given its starkest warning yet that we have just 12 years to avoid critical environmental changes.

These are not hysterical people or organisations!

Even if you believe that the current global warming is just a natural phenomena and humanity has not contributed to climate change, there are many, many reasons to take action – just in case the climate change deniers are wrong.

Leading a sustainable lifestyle has countless benefits: apart from lowering  emissions, it reduces atmospheric pollution, improves health, saves energy, saves money, creates green jobs, increases community cohesion and reduces inequality.

The Canterbury Society is about to launch its Vision for Canterbury 2019 which contains a chapter on sustainability and climate change. 

It is not a hysterical tract, but a well-considered call to action locally. It proposes that we create an eco-forum to bring together the council and all other interested parties to a zero carbon Canterbury by 2040.

This comes on the back of news that Bristol has just announced its target of a zero carbon city by 2030 and Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire has just declared a “climate emergency” to help galvanise its county into greater environmental action.

There are many other continental towns and cities which are showing us the way. This includes Freiburg in Germany where for many decades it has had an integrated transport system, promoted energy conservation measures, developed its own renewable sources of power and have adopted rigorous recycling policies.

Canterbury can, and must, take climate change seriously for all these very positive benefits to our community.

Let us in Canterbury have a dose of climate change reality!

John Yard is a retired architect who has worked in the UK and overseas. He is a member of the Canterbury Society and lives with his wife in Bridge.


  1. Sadly key decision makers in CCC do not use public transport. They are, if nothing else, bound to be subconsciously biased toward the car and I say that based on detailed knowledge..

  2. The antediluvian comments made by the Cllrs who spoke in favour of the proposed multi storey car park at C West station was a clear indication of mind sets in denial

  3. Thank you; John; and we agree. We; The GREEN Team Canterbury, have been struggling for four years to bring about an end to the enormous amount of perfectly usable items going to waste in landfill at student relocation in Canterbury (as well as other local community remits in our area of Hales Place). We really hope to succeed as it will take Canterbury much closer to being zero waste. Here’s to our city being known as The Sustainable City of Canterbury …and real soon. Not years from now.
    Best wishes
    Diane & Mark, co-founders
    The GREEN Team Canterbury

    (P.S. It was lovely to meet you both at the Green Heritage event – Diane)


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