THE Conservative motion on Air Quality (April 27) at the meeting of Bury Council in April needed to amended by Labour because it was weak and lacked ambition.

We found it odd that the Conservatives say they want improved air quality, but in council they voted for fracking which releases very harmful Methane (30 times more potent than CO2) in to the atmosphere.

I spoke on this motion, stating that leaving the EU must not mean a lowering of air quality standards.

I added that as part of a new mayor-led Greater Manchester, we must have a regulated public transport system, Metrolink that is affordable, reliable and clean to take cars off the road to decrease emissions.

Bury Council will play its part by, wherever possible, purchasing low-emission vehicles including electric ones.

Labour's amendment also asked for a fair diesel scrappage scheme which favours all, not just those who can afford new cars.

On housing, which is responsible for 25 per cent of CO2 emissions, I argued that we must look at retro fitting the myriad of older houses in the conurbation with insulation, modern heating systems to make them more energy efficient and on new build to move away from the developer-led house to eco homes — the homes of the future that have solar panels, reflective glass, heat sink pumps, sustainable urban drainage systems ,flood resilience, electric charging points and superior insulation values all as standard.

On the environment, proposals are ongoing to transfer our woodlands over to the Forestry Commission, which has the resources to manage and develop them. Including in this will be the creation of the City Forest Park, a park the size of New York’s Central Park, here on our doorstep.

I also spoke about the threat ash die-back poses to our one million ash trees in the GM region.

We cannot improve air quality if these trees perish and are not replaced. As global warming takes hold, other threats to our tree stock need to be closely monitored as part of a GM wide initiative.

I hope in the future Bury Council will debate a deposit return scheme ,whereby a charge is levied on all drinks bottles and cans.

In other countries, this has boosted the recycling rate of these articles to over 95 per cent and it’s cost neutral.

Air quality is just one aspect of the change in climate that is happening right now.

As politicians, we cannot ignore it.

Our children would never forgive us.

Cllr Alan Quinn