Back from Edgware United Synagogue Hustings on World Wildlife Conservation Day

Environment Issues at the fore at Synagogue Hustings

A local professional gardener this week gave his local MP candidates a break from winding each other up, and drew applause calling on prospective Hendon parliamentary candidates to save endangered wet-lands.
Speaking on world wildlife conservation day, Ben Samuel, said “I am shocked that some of my older customers and some suppliers, still use peat-based compost which are cheaper than the many available peat-free compost alternatives. As the Jewish community, at Yom Kippur and Jewish New Year hundreds of Rabbis across the country have told us to consider the habitat of other species as well.”
Analysis: What has the government’s record been on rare species?
Peat-free by 1993 was the slogan. For many years, groups like the RSPB and celebrities have been urging the treasury to give tax-incentives to gardeners and nurseries to stop digging up peat, which is “a fossil fuel and valuable habitat.”
Chief executive of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Catherine O’Connell, said in advance of the budget “Our bogs need the levy. Irish peat bogs are being torn apart to supply British gardeners with bags of peat compost.”
The Government has set a voluntary target to phase peat out by 2020. However, a report by the RSPB claims “it’s not strong enough or quick enough to make a real difference”.
Hendon Labour and Liberal Democrat party representatives struggled last night to answer a basic question on what they will do to halt the loss of bio-diversity.

The Liberal Democrat representative, who refused to support the Climate Emergency Bill presented before her speech, said,
“Barnet Council is one of the councils that does not have a climate action plan and did not apply to the clean air fund of the Mayor.”
The party also promised a Nature Act which would set targets for protecting bio-diversity and habitats and encourage the restoration of heath lands, peat lands, and salt marches.
The Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates had a laugh about Labour’s ambition to plant 2 billion trees.

The new Labour representative said, “This is very important. I don’t claim to know about peat but I am very aware that when we talk about the environment there are obviously 2 separate issues of climate change and the broader issue of biodiversity and the fact that the Amazon rainforest is at a tipping point… One of the things we are doing as a climate change approach is looking not just at the climate and carbon outputs of the UK but how our our national entire supply chains work so we don’t dump emissions somewhere else and dump deforestation and habitat change overseas.”

The Conservative candidate stated that he was certainly aware of biodiversity loss and pointed to his party’s work to extend marine protected areas.
“I am suspicious of national parks… Peat is an issue that I will look into, if I am returned as member of parliament for Hendon.”
Quietly declaring the climate emergency, the Conservative manifesto promises that “free markets, innovation, and prosperity can protect our planet,” but the party has not commented on the three demands of the rebellion; tell the truth, act now, and citizens assemblies.
Candidates for the area also debated taxes, the idea of a 4-day week, foreign relations, democracy, trust in politics, education, equalities, and Boris Johnson’s extra marital affairs.

Green leaders are needed now more than ever, according to the Green Party, co-leader, who is a member of the London Assembly and the sole Green on Camden Council, “We will not stand for liars and rule breakers trying to shut down democracy – right now London, and the country, is crying out for stronger, principled leadership.”