Cllr Sanatha Dalton is given one of two new Peterborough Cabinet member posts and she talks to BBC’s Paul Stainton about her Environment Capital portfolio. Broadcast at 08:10 on Wednesday 19th May 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
STAINTON: Now on yesterday’s show we heard that Peterborough City Council’s Cabinet had two new Members. Here’s Marco again with a reminder of those changes.
CERESTE: ( TAPE) We’ve had two new Cabinet Members. One is Councillor Samantha Dalton who will look after the Environment and the Environment Capital portfolio and the other is Councillor Irene Walsh and she will look after Women’s Enterprise, Community Cohesion, HR, Health and Safety and so on.
STAINTON: That’s Marco Cereste. One of the new members is Councillor Samantha Dalton who’s now in charge of Peterborough’s environment portfolio. I’m happy to say she’s in the studio. Morning.
DALTON: Good morning.
STAINTON: Welcome to our little humble abode.
DALTON: Yes thank you for having me.
STAINTON: Our little corner of Cathedral Square as it were. The environment of course is a big priority in the national election, the LibDems, the Conservatives, the Greens won their first seat as well, And a big priority for the administration in Peterborough as well. What do you bring to the role Sam?
DALTON: I think it’s a huge priority as you say nationally and locally. There’s been a lot of good work happened over the last few years and it would be great to build on that. Things I’d bring to the role, I’ve always been .. my husband would describe me as a bit of a tree-hugger, into my wildlife. So I am passionate about the environment and want to see Peterborough improve itself. And I think as a city we need to lead by example and get Peterborough City Council right first. Lead by example and hopefully bring the residents of the city along with us.
STAINTON: I mean we’ve got Peterborough Environment City Trust, you know, we’ve got all the things we’re doing to try and become Environment Capital, I mean are there any things that you want to change straight away? What are your top priorities?
DALTON: Oh definitely. For me one of the biggest frustrations is I can’t pick up the phone to Peterborough City Council and say tell me what’s happening on Environment Capital this week. So I’ve spoken to Paul Phillipson about whether we can pull together an environment capital team on the City Council. We’ve already got green champions within the Council, we’ve got the climate change team, so it would be really good to expand that and look at driving some of the things forward. I don’t think we do enough in terms of cycling in the city. So it would be really good with looking at growth to improve cycling around the city ..
STAINTON: Because we’re a pretty good city to cycle around aren’t we? We do have a lot of cycleways compared to other people. But perhaps sometimes they’re not signposted as well as they might be.
DALTON: No they’re not. And we’ve got .. we’re quite fortunate that we have a good road network and a lot of wide roads, so there is scope hopefully to put cyclepaths down the sides of those roads, and encourage cycling in the city. I think renewable energy is another big point for the city. I mean the Town Hall loses heat left right and centre. We don’t have double-glazing. We could look at putting solar panels on the roof, and just trying to lead by example.
STAINTON: It’s a big old building though isn’t it? Very difficult. What does the Council do towards renewable energy? Do they have any renewables in that building.
DALTON: I don’t think we do at the moment. And it’s one thing we are focusing on. As part of our carbon management action plan we’re looking at putting in automated readers to see how much energy we are using, and try and manage that and reduce our carbon footprint.
STAINTON: Frightening they are aren’t they? You sit there watching them go zzzzz.
DALTON: Yes but then you can start to manage the use and hopefully not only bring down your carbon footprint but bring down the cost for the city as well.
STAINTON: We mentioned you’ll be in charge of the bid for Peterborough to become the UKs Environment Capital. The last update we had wasn’t that great, was it? I mean we’ve got a lot of work to do.
DALTON: Yes we’ve got a lot of work to do and we recognise that, but I think making this Cabinet role stand out on its own shows that we are committed to achieving that goal.
STAINTON: We were talking this morning about Green Belts as well. The Campaign for Rural England were on the show earlier and they want Peterborough City Council to install a Green Belt around the city. Let’s hear from the lady that came in earlier.
SALLY-ANN JACKSON CPRE: (TAPE) The idea is just to float it as a planning tool to actually control the outskirts of Peterborough so that the shape of Peterborough is formed, and that with all the development we’ve got coming up it doesn’t sort of sprawl out into the countryside uncontrollably, that we actually think more about where the boundaries want to be.
STAINTON: That’s Sally-Ann Jackson from the Campaign for Rural England. I mean what are your thoughts on that, and can you help manage that within Peterborough City Council, without having a Green Belt? Or do you think that’s a good idea, to belt Peterborough?
DALTON: It would be nice. Mmm. At the moment ..
STAINTON: It doesn’t sound like you’re very confident.
DALTON: No no. It would be a great thing to do for the city, and I guess we have to see what the new Government brings in terms of our growth plans. Under Labour we were told we had to build all these houses in the city. Now we’ve got a new Government that might change, and it would be great to put a Green Belt round the city to show that we are the Environment Capital.
STAINTON: Yes. And it would be interesting to see who’s in and who’s out as well, and where the Green Belt line goes, wouldn’t it?
DALTON: Yes it would.
STAINTON: Yes. Well listen, good luck, because it’s a big job you’ve got, isn’t it, a very big job indeed, and it starts now really. Samantha Dalton who’s now in charge of Peterborough’s Environment Capital. She’ll be looking after everything green in Peterborough, and we’ll be holding her to account, if we slip down that list of Environment Capital Cities any time in the future. A lot of work to be done. Samantha Dalton.