WE are staring a climate emergency down the barrel and we need to act, and quickly.

I’m doing this for young people. I was happy to stand with more than 2,000 young people in Oxford recently when they demonstrated about their deep frustration that so little is being done.

It was without a teachable moment for all of us and I commend the students for taking action while the politicians have been focused on other things like Brexit.

Read again: 2,000 join Oxford schools climate strike

We have to listen to them. It is my duty to do everything I can to make sure their voices are heard, locally and in Parliament.

They shouldn’t feel the need to leave school for a day to make us take notice. I want to ensure they know they don’t have to do it again.

Young people are going to be affected the most by this climate emergency and so all parties should rally together on this huge issue.

Last week I called a Parliamentary debate on climate change alongside Green MP Caroline Lucas. I was astonished to find that this was the first time it had been debated on the main floor of the House in over two years!

The Conservative Government have not been taking this issue seriously enough.

While I welcome investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and their work on plastic straws, we all know this isn’t enough.

Herald Series:

School pupils join the Oxford strike in Bonn Square on Friday, February 15. Picture: Ed Nix

The Government has all but banned onshore wind, yet they are ideologically committed to fracking.

On transport they have cancelled or delayed numerous rail, bus and cycle schemes, yet they are prioritising spending billions on roads like the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway.

I was delighted that my Liberal Democrat colleagues on the Vale District Council worked with Conservative councillors to win cross party support for a motion on the Climate Emergency.

We must demand better.

Read again: Angry students warn their next strike will be 'even bigger'

For example, Oxfordshire County Council needs to work with the district councils to ensure that ALL new developments include top quality infrastructure for cyclists, and designed to minimise the need to use cars.

We also need to question where we put developments, with the aim of minimising the need to travel, not continuing to put more jobs in Oxford and more houses everywhere else. We should insist that new homes are built to zero carbon standards.

A better transport policy will also help reduce air pollution. This week it was revealed that 22 places in Oxfordshire, including parts of Botley and Marcham, are breaching air pollution limits. We should be aiming to do everything we can reduce car and lorry journeys.

I will continue to keep Climate Change at the top of the agenda and to press local councils to do everything they can to help, rather than pursuing policies that will make things work.