LAST month the UK Parliament declared a "climate emergency" in response to a Labour motion proposed by the party's leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn said: "We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis.”

This followed protests across the country organised by ‘Extinction Rebellion’ aimed at putting Climate Change further up the agenda of the governments of the World.

In a motion to July’s meeting of Cherwell District Council, Labour will be proposing the same.

The district council may not be directly responsible for many of the emissions here. But we want this to start a debate about how it can start taking its environmental responsibilities seriously.

Its Business Plan lists ‘Protected, Green and Clean’ as among its three priorities. It is time to walk the walk.

One of the big environmental issues in the district is that of Air Quality. You may have seen the news recently that Banbury contains one of the most polluted roads in the country. Hennef Way breaches the Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide by being more than double the limit.

While not yet at that level, Bicester’s Queens Avenue and Kings End are also above the limit. Bicester Road in Kidlington too.

Cherwell District Council has known about this for several years but has done next to nothing.

They developed an Air Quality Management Plan in 2017 which has a few priorities such as strengthening local policy to improve air quality, reducing NOx emissions in problem areas, ensure new developments encourage low emissions, ensure transport infrastructure takes into account air quality, and raising awareness of poor air quality.

Air pollution reduces life expectancy and poses various health risks such as heart disease, dementia, lung problems, breathing difficulties and miscarriages, according to studies.

Children are believed to be the most endangered, with academics even suggesting exposure to pollution can affect intelligence.

Labour have called for electric charging points in council car parks and reforms to licensing so that taxis are cleaner. Oxford has set a target for zero-emissions from all licensed vehicles by 2025.

Then there is procurement. The council have vehicles which they use for collecting bulky waste, cleaning the streets and emptying the bins. These should be clean too. We should have no idling zones in the Town Centre and around schools. And we need to ensure better integrated public transport and infrastructure across the district and not just in new developments.

But it starts with the council acknowledging that man-made Climate Change is real and upon us. And that we all have a responsibility to tackling it. That’s why we have put forward this motion.

With lives and the future of our planet at stake, I hope it can be unanimously supported.