Bristol’s Disability Equality Forum (BDEF) have published a Community Climate Action plan, co-produced with 300 disabled people that live or work in Bristol. The plan was heralded as “ground breaking” and a “world first” by the Disability News Service, which said “it is believed to be the first time anywhere in the world that so many disabled people have been involved in co-producing a plan to take action to address climate change.” The plan has drawn interest from the government as well as disability rights and climate action organisations.
The plan was designed to highlight ways of taking action on climate change that do not create new barriers for disabled people. It contains 65 recommendations for action, including ‘community’ actions and those decision makers such as councils and other public bodies would need to implement. Some of the actions proposed are for blue badge holders in Bristol to be allowed to use bus lanes, action to tackle pavement obstacles, and for local buses to have at least two wheelchair spaces (currently they only have one).
Bristol Councillor Katy Grant is the Green Group’s joint lead on Climate and Ecology. She welcomed the report and called on “the people and institutions of Bristol” to “rise to the challenge it poses to all of us”.
Councillor Grant said:
“People with disabilities will be particularly impacted by the effects of climate change and yet their views on the subject have been systematically ignored by governments around the world. So it was great to read Bristol Disability Equality Forum’s Community Climate Action Plan, published last week.
“It’s an excellent plan – clear, accessible, and thoughtful, with aims and actions that sit at the nexus of disability rights and climate action. The action plan is really comprehensive and speaks to all the sectors where climate action is needed – food, waste, energy, nature, housing etc. Aims are listed as ‘city-owned’ or ‘community-owned’ which is a great way to highlight accountability, but it’s empowering as well, providing a chance for all stakeholders to do their bit.
“As a Green Shadow Cabinet member for Climate and Ecology, I call on WECA to respond to the plan by appointing a Disability Transport Champion, to push for improvements in our public transport, such as two wheelchair spaces in every bus. Equally, Bristol City Council must ensure that actions to encourage walking includes dropped kerbs, and reduces pavement parking, to include those using mobility aids. I fully support this plan and I hope that the people and institutions of Bristol can rise to the challenge it poses to all of us.”