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Rosie Riley
Written by Rosie Riley
Published on 24th November 2021
2 min read

When we contacted Preston Council to tell them our route was taking us through the City, Councillor Carol Henshaw immediately responded and organised a welcome party, with food, speeches and lovely people with whom to share stories of climate action and the road. We asked Carol to send through some reflections on the evening.

When Rosie Riley first contacted me as councillor and cabinet member for climate change in Preston I was instantly reminded of my dad. In the early ‘80’s dad cycled to Greenham Common to join the peace protest. So even then cycling as you know a totally clean green form of transport was used as a form of protest. Sadly dad died following a cycling accident a few years later so this was all incredibly poignant for me. 
My second reaction was to work out what I could do to help. Yes, I’d been approached as a councillor but I’ve worked in the natural health industry for a lot longer. I was thinking those 170 aching legs needed Epsom salts in the bath at the very least. So i put a big shout out to some of my suppliers and the wellness bags were the result. Huge thanks to Viridian  Nutrition, Wholesale Health, Power Health and Suma Wholefoods Co-op. Such a good coincidence that the cycle adventure coincided with Indy Health week.
 
The sourcing of such an accommodating pretty perfect venue was an adventure in it’s own right too, including on the day when my response to Rosie asking if they might arrive early as they had some pretty speedy cyclists among them was to ask them to slow down! I can’t believe I really said that!

'...my response to Rosie asking if they might arrive early as they had some pretty speedy cyclists among them was to ask them to slow down! I can’t believe I really said that!'

And the rest is history. From meeting and greeting such an amazing committed group of people, to running around tying to find the very late food on a red warning weather and football home game evening really did add to my adventure. 
 
To add a few words wearing my Preston City Councillor hat - PCC did declare a climate change emergency back in 2019, but has been working for the last 10 years or so towards carbon neutrality - installing combined heat pumps, voltage optimisers, roof insulation’s, solar panels, double and triple glazing, LED lighting plus water saving measures, and also upgrading some of our smaller vehicles to electric ones. Unfortunately as the lower tier authority public transport and highways are not in our remit, but I am very proud that this summer we achieved the Carbon Neutral International Standard granted by One Carbon World for our work on measuring and reducing our carbon emissions. We also have a plastic free policy. 
We are also exploring ideas with our University of Central Lancs for a citizen led co-produced approach to address the climate emergency and promote local economic and social benefits as i am particularly mindful that we bring our residents with us on this journey and aren’t simply local tax collectors.