The fire union chief cautions that if Labour abandons their £28 billion green proposal, the public may be in danger.
The Fire Brigades Union leader cautioned that abandoning Keir Starmer’s proposal to invest £28bn annually in green initiatives would endanger the public, as their members are already experiencing the repercussions of the climate emergency.
The general secretary of the FBU, Matt Wrack, encouraged the Labour leader to not reduce or postpone the party’s green program. He stated that this program is crucial in fighting against a significant rise in floods, wildfires, and storms.
Wrack called on Starmer to include mitigation measures such as flood defences in the plan as well as more long-term investment aimed at cutting carbon emissions. His intervention comes at the beginning of a key week for the future of the plan in which officials are to meet to debate whether it should go ahead.
Wrack stated that if Labour does not use this funding, it will not only endanger its members, but also put communities in danger. This is especially concerning for areas that are at high risk for natural disasters such as wildfires or floods. Furthermore, it will put additional pressure on the fire department and pose a threat to firefighters.
In recent years, firefighters have faced a significant increase in floods and wildfires, which experts attribute to the ongoing effects of climate change.
The National Fire Chiefs Council reported 65 wildfire incidents in Britain in 2018. By 2021, this number had more than doubled to 178. Data from the government reveals a 24% increase in flooding incidents in England over the past ten years.
Wrack stated that his constituents were facing difficulties in dealing with the rise in severe weather occurrences, which was putting individuals in danger. The heavy downpour from Storm Henk caused flooding in approximately 2,000 residences earlier this year, as some areas in the UK received an entire month’s worth of rain in just four days.
He expressed concern that we may be putting people at risk by not providing them with necessary resources, such as electricity in their homes or leaving them stranded on the second floor of a house during a flood.
The government is budgeting for a total of £220m for flood protection this year, but Wrack is urging Labour to utilize their green prosperity strategy to raise that amount.
He stated that a portion of the plan should focus on preparing for emergencies. He also believes that the fire department can have a key role in this.
Starmer has reaffirmed his dedication to allocating £28bn towards environmental initiatives within the second half of their term, despite potential limitations due to adhering to their strict fiscal regulations. The party has committed to borrowing within their means, ensuring that debt will decrease as a percentage of economic output within the next five years.
The leader of the Labour party met with union leaders last week to reaffirm his dedication to the program.
According to sources within the Labour party, Starmer and his supporters are open to abandoning the policy before the election if they deem it to be a hindrance during the campaign. Meanwhile, the Conservative party is getting ready to highlight the Labour promise in their campaign materials, claiming that it can only be financed through increased borrowing or tax increases.