My letter to Chris Nelson, Gloucestershire's new PCC, on work to decarbonise the police force and the importance of leading by example.
Dear Commissioner Nelson
Firstly, may I congratulate you on your recent election as our new Police and Crime Commissioner. Your success in keeping our communities safe and looking after our police force will be a success enjoyed by all. Having known one another for some time, we both know that our political values are markedly different, but I wish you well nonetheless.
I write today in my role as a Cheltenham Borough Council cabinet member. As a former member of the council for Leckhampton, you will know how much Cheltenham values the environment. Indeed, the Borough Council has declared a climate emergency and is working hard to help our town become carbon neutral. That is why in light of your recent comments in the local media, I am appealing to you to do your bit in your new job.
I hope you will continue your predecessor’s work to decarbonise the activities of the local police force, including switching the force’s fleet to low emission vehicles. Furthermore, as a public servant at Borough and Parish level for some years, you will know that those of us in public office are expected to lead by example. Therefore, I am inviting you to commit at the earliest opportunity to switch your own personal vehicles for something better for the planet. There are many low emission vehicles available on the market today. Any of them would be better than the gas-guzzling US imports I understand you drive and many would come with a lower price tag too! I know that you are passionate about the UK car manufacturing industry, so you’ll be pleased to know that it is possible to buy EVs manufactured in the UK. As an even better option for journeys within your local area, you might try walking or cycling. Studies show that active travel is not only be good for the planet, it will improve your physical health, reduce stress and increase your productivity.
I congratulate you again on taking office and I look forward to working with you over the course of your term as Commissioner.
Councillor Max Wilkinson
Cabinet member for climate and communities
Cheltenham Borough Council