Young students impress in climate action debate at Stockport Town Hall

Students voted to support the climate action: “make eco-friendly, biodegradable or reusable period products more affordable and accessible in schools”

FORTY five students from schools across Stockport debated their climate action ideas in Council Chambers, Stockport Town Hall, on Wednesday, June 15.

The students, from 23 schools across the borough, came to Stockport Town Hall to take part in a climate debate as part of the Schools Climate Assembly. The project was set up by Stockport Council to create a space where young people’s voices could be heard.

The Schools Climate Assembly project began in May 2022 with a carbon literacy lesson where pupils learned about greenhouse gases, carbon footprints and high impact climate actions. Each school came up with a list of climate action ideas they would like to see happening.

More than 70 climate action ideas from schools were received. These ideas were shortlisted to 5 – chosen to represent a range of locally actionable, high-impact, important areas of climate change. To prepare for the Town Hall debate, each school held a mock debate in class to choose their debate idea and prepare their arguments.

To open the debate, the Mayor of Stockport officially handed over to Rodrigo, Rose and Jake, members of the Stockport Youth Council, who led the lively, informative and thoughtful discussion.

Cllr Mark Hunter, Leader of Stockport Council, said: “Credit goes to our young people for the fantastic debate and for all their well thought out ideas. We’ve heard a clear mandate for action from young people and we’re committed to making sure that action follows. This is the beginning rather than the end of this initiative.”

Cllr Mark Roberts, Cabinet Member for Climate & Environment, said “Listening to these young people has been truly, truly inspirational. I hope to see some of them sat in Council Chambers, as elected representatives, in the coming years! They have demonstrated how capable they are.”

After proposing and debating their climate action ideas, each pupil voted on which idea they supported the most. The young people voted for ‘make eco-friendly, biodegradable or reusable period products more affordable and accessible in schools’.

Chella Quint, founder of the Period Positive campaign said: “I am so proud of these young people! I wish they had been in my class when I was at school.”

Reddish Vale High School, who proposed the winning climate action idea said in a statement: “We feel genuinely privileged to be a part of youth democracy and we can't wait for the next one!"

The five climate action ideas that were debated were:

  1. Increase the amount of renewable energy supplied in the Borough, including the renewable energy supplied on school land, which will require finance and advice to the borough to enable the use and production of sustainable energy sources for heating and lighting (composite idea, submitted by Tithe Barne Primary and other schools)
  2. Make it easier and safer to walk and cycle to school by having more and safer cycle lanes, safer crossings, walking routes/trails, traffic restrictions and better paths (composite idea, submitted by St Christopher’s Primary and other schools)
  3. Insulation grants for homes in Stockport (idea submitted by Aquinas College)
  4. Schools design awareness raising posters about climate change and the Council fund printing, mounting and distribution in local communities (idea submitted by Ladybrook Primary School)
  5. Make eco-friendly, biodegradable or reusable period products more affordable and accessible in schools (idea submitted by Reddish Vale High School)

Cllr Mark Roberts added: “The ideas will be presented to all 63 councillors at the next meeting of the Council, and we believe we are the first council to gather the views of young people on the challenges of climate change in this immersive and engaging way.”

To support local climate actions, the Stockport CAN Fund is available to any group, community and school to apply for up to £500 for projects and activities in Stockport.

Contact with any enquiries.