Students debate climate change proposals in Town Hall chamber

Councillors will now debate the winning idea at a meeting in July

Students debate climate change proposals in Town Hall chamber

Stockport’s council chamber was taken over by the borough’s students this month as the annual School and Youth Climate Assemblies took place.

The council’s Schools and Youth Climate Assembly project runs from November to March annually.

It involves students taking part in a Climate Action lesson, a Democracy in Action lesson, proposing climate action ideas, holding mock debates in school and selecting representatives to take part in the Town Hall debates where their ideas are debated and voted on.

78 youngsters from 28 different schools and colleges across the borough attended the two Town Hall debates this month.

The five climate action ideas that were debated were:
• Create more spaces for wildlife: birdfeeders, hedgehog boxes, wildflowers, no mow areas & trees.
• Run a campaign in Stockport schools and local areas to raise awareness of Climate Change and the Stockport CAN project.
• Increase the amount of solar energy generated in Stockport.
• Community gardens where people can plant and pick fruit and veg, reducing the carbon footprint of food.
• Make sustainable forms of travel more accessible to everyone by providing different transport options e.g. bike rental

The overall winning idea was “Community gardens”, which received 44 per cent of all votes. This idea was submitted by St Paul’s Primary School in Brinnington.

In the Primaries debate the winner was “Community gardens” with 51% of the vote, while in the secondaries and colleges debate two ideas tied with 31% of the vote each “Community gardens” and “Create more spaces for wildlife”.

Cllr Mark Roberts, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment at Stockport Council, said: "It was fantastic to hear from our youngsters in the two debates that took place and it was really pleasing to hear the winning idea debated so robustly by all participants.

"It’s so important that school children and college pupils are a part of what we do, that as a council we listen to them, and they feel supported to tackle the serious issue of climate change. It is, after all, they who will have to live with the consequences of climate change the longest in our society.

“We are committed to acting on what the youngsters have voted for and the full council will be discussing the winning idea later this year.

“We can all make a difference by making some small changes, and our recently launched Stockport Spring Clean campaign along with the wider council approach to tackling climate change will hopefully inspire more people and businesses to join us in taking action to look after our environment both now and for future generations.”

More than 850 youngsters took part in a Climate Action lesson at the start of the project, while more than 130 climate action ideas were submitted as part of the project from 22 different schools and colleges across Stockport.

The outcome of the debates and full list of young people’s ideas will be presented to all Councillors at a Full Council meeting on July 13.