Making the Fight Against Climate Change Accessible

24 Sep 2023

We are pleased that Liberal Democrat Autumn Federal Conference has passed the Making the Fight Against Climate Change Accessible motion - and with it our amendment to the motion.

The motion and amendment are as below:

Submitted by: 14 members.
Mover: Charley Hasted.
Summation: Sarah Dyke MP.


Conference notes that:

  1. Single-use plastics used in Health and Social Care contexts create millions of tonnes of plastic waste a year, much of which will go to landfill or be incinerated.
  2. While there are some alternatives to single-use plastics in equipment used for medical, social care and accessibility equipment, many are unavailable, unaffordable or impractical for many people.
  3. Many older and disabled people have experienced difficulties with different climate change or pollution prevention strategies such as the banning of plastic straws, pedestrianisation, cycle lanes and LTNs, which often fail to take their needs into account.
  4. Many transport alternatives to private cars remain inaccessible or unaffordable for disabled and older people, especially where they require adaptive or alternate provision. Conference believes that while there have been many progressive steps in reducing climate change in recent years, efforts to consider the specific needs of disabled and older people have often been missed, leading to many disabled people experiencing significant difficulty in supporting the fight against climate change, or feeling excluded from society by some measures.
  5. Eco-ableism is a large issue within the climate emergency debate that leads to the stigmatisation of disabled people who often rely, for example, on single use plastic medical equipment such feeding tubes, cannulas and IV tubes to survive.
  6. Disabled people are amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, yet are some of those least likely to be meaningfully included in the climate justice movement.

Conference further believes that disabled and older people deserve to have access to options which allow them to take a full and equal part in the fight against climate change and in society as a whole.

Conference therefore calls for:

  1. The allocation of at least 3% of government research and development funding on environmental and anti-climate change to projects centred around bringing benefits and change to the health and social care sectors and a further 2% to projects that will support disabled people to live more environmentally friendly lives while maintaining their health and independence (e.g. developing affordable biodegradable or recyclable alternatives to commonly used items such and gloves, packaging and incontinence pads).
  2. Requirements on NHS trusts, care agencies, residential facilities and local authorities to develop strategies to reduce plastic use and increase the recycling of non-biohazardous plastic waste.
  3. Schemes aimed at increasing the uptake of environmentally friendly transport options to provide accessible and adaptable options (e.g hand cycles and tricycles in cycle salary sacrifice schemes).
  4. Requirements on public transport and infrastructure companies to make all their provision completely and independently accessible by 2027.
  5. Requirements on central and local government initiatives focusing on reducing emissions and improving public transport and public spaces to work with disabled people in the planning and implementation stages of projects to mitigate any negative impact on disability communities.
  6. Education surrounding the importance of inclusive climate solutions that acknowledge the needs of disabled people and their increased vulnerability to the effects of the changing climate, for example more frequent extreme heat and flooding.
  7. The government to establish a scrutiny group of intersectional representatives from those communities that are most heavily impacted by the effects of climate change to consult on the inclusivity of all climate mitigation measures before they are implemented.

Applicability: England only.

Amendments

Amendment One

CARRIED

Submitted by: Liberal Democrat Disability Association
Mover: Lucy Tonge.
Summation: Katharine Macy.

After d) (line 17), insert:

e)       Eco-ableism is a large issue within the climate emergency debate that leads to the stigmatisation of disabled people who often rely, for example, on single use plastic medical equipment such feeding tubes, cannulas and IV tubes to survive.

f)        Disabled people are amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, yet are some of those least likely to be meaningfully included in the climate justice movement.

After 5. (line 54), insert:

6.       Education surrounding the importance of inclusive climate solutions that acknowledge the needs of disabled people and their increased vulnerability to the effects of the changing climate, for example more frequent extreme heat and flooding.

7.       The government to establish a scrutiny group of intersectional representatives from those communities that are most heavily impacted by the effects of climate change to consult on the inclusivity of all climate mitigation measures before they are implemented.