We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Green Hero - Chris Bowers

December 4, 2019 10:00 AM
By Keith Melton

Thirty years of environmental Action! Next GLD Hero Chris Bowers (Chris Bowers)

Chris Bowers is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the East Sussex constituency of Wealden.

His baptism in the environmental movement came in 1990 when he founded the Environmental Transport Association, the service-providing members club for those who need transport services but don't want to support road lobbying. It still exists today and is run in Weybridge by another Lib Dem activist Andrew Davis.


Chris explains:

"It was the year after the transport secretary Paul Channon published his 'Roads to Prosperity' plans
which he dubbed 'The biggest road building programme since the Romans.' We were horrified,
but worse still, organisations like the AA and the RAC were campaigning within the road lobby for
all this road building and using their vast memberships to bolster their moral authority. So we set up
the ETA to provide breakdown services to motorists while at the same time campaigning for a
reduction in car-based mobility. I had seen this model in operation while living in Switzerland,
so I brought the idea to Britain as a campaigning service-provider.

Low impact transport...

That same year, an umbrella organisation representing national campaigning groups was founded in Brussels to lobby at EU level for greener transport. The European Federation for Transport and Environment (now just Transport and Environment, or T&E) started as the Brussels office of its member organisations but quickly developed an identity and purpose of its own.

Chris has been active with T&E since 1991. He wrote the campaigners' summary of its flagship report 'Getting the Prices Right' on internalising the external costs of transport (1993), he co-wrote the first paper on the environmental impact of aviation (1995) and, with his European contacts and fluent French and German, has been involved in numerous campaigns in the intervening 30 years, and still is.

Climate Change Working Group

That background in transport prompted an invitation to head up the transport section of the Lib
Dems' revised climate policy, that was approved in September and is a core part of the manifesto for this election. And Chris made sure there were one or two eye-catching elements in it.

"I was keen to include land-use planning as a tool to tackle transport emissions, because if we think of access to services
rather than just transport, we can do away with lots of transport if people can walk or cycle to the places they need to get to.
And I'm conscious that climate change, though a global problem, is really a problem caused by the developed world,
and I'm worried that our solutions could inadvertently lead to a new form of imperialism.

For example, electric cars could play a major part in decarbonising our economy, but they rely on precious minerals that
have to be mined in the developing world, so I'm delighted our climate change policy includes ethical and sustainable
sourcing of materials so we don't tackle our greenhouse gas emissions at the cost of low-income, badly protected
miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Local Candidate

Chris lives in East Sussex with his 18-year-old daughter, and rides a Jamis commuter bike (oh, and he has an 11-year-old
Hyundai i10 which he drives as little as possible).

Chris Bowers walkers (Chris Bowers)

Chris Bowers is fourth from the left - fifth if you include the dog!

Making Change Happen

Chris Bowers is a key member of the Green Liberal Democrats team which can, together, make environmental change happen in Parliament, so we'll be doing all we can to help get him elected. Will you join us?

For more Green Heroes go to the Green Heroes front page here >>> https://greenlibdems.org.uk/en/page/green-heroes

Previous GLD Hero Green Heroes Next GLD Hero