A LEADING Green Party politician from Stroud has called on the European Union to adopt more ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gases following widespread flooding across the South West region in recent months.

Stroud district councillor and prospective European candidate, Dr Molly Scott Cato believes the torrential downpours and large-scale flooding witnessed in neighbouring counties this winter illustrates a pressing need to tackle climate change locally, nationally and internationally.

Cllr Scott Cato, who is bidding to be elected to the European Parliament in May as the South West’s first Green MEP, thinks the EU can take the lead in the fight against global warming by setting tougher targets on CO2 emissions, renewable energy generation and energy efficiency.

Nationally, she is appealing for more energy to be generated from renewable sources, like wind, solar and tidal, whilst at a local level she believes changing farming methods and planting more trees can help to protect the environment and reduce the likelihood of flooding.

“The storms and floods affecting the region this winter are examples of weather, not climate. However, the increasing severity of extreme weather events throughout the world is precisely what climate scientists have been predicting for decades,” she said.

“At the local level we need to move towards farming methods that are carbon neutral or even carbon negative… Planting more trees is also a natural and quick way of capturing carbon from the atmosphere and trees also act as natural flood defences.”

“At a national level we need a rapid expansion in the country's capacity for renewable energy generation," she added.

“A simplified feed in tariff mechanism that clearly gives higher rates for electricity generated by all community owned installations would help.

“In Germany and Denmark this policy has resulted in a rapid expansion of renewable capacity owned by communities, bringing them huge economic benefit.”