To consider a corporate Council Policy on Climate Change for adoption as part of the Council’s Policy Framework.
Councillor Dyan Jones, Environment Portfolio Holder, reported that, as part of the work of the Green Team, a corporate Council Policy on Climate Change as detailed in Appendix 3 to the report, had been drafted.
The Policy represented a public recognition of the importance of Climate Change, an awareness of the economic and other opportunities offered by both tackling and adapting to meet the challenge of climate change and a series of ways in which the Council could reflect the importance of climate change, both in how it managed itself and how it worked with partners at the local, regional and national level.
The Policy set out the following Council commitments:-
• Work with central government, county and neighbouring councils, national park authorities and other stakeholders, to contribute, at a local level, to the delivery of the target for carbon dioxide reduction set out in the UK Carbon budget by 2022 and other local and regional carbon reduction targets.
• Participate in local and regional networks for support.
• Develop plans and support projects with our partners and local communities to progressively address the causes and the impacts of climate change, according to our local priorities, securing maximum benefit for our communities.
• Publicly declare, within appropriate plans and strategies, the commitment to achieve a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our own authority's operations, especially energy sourcing and use, travel and transport, waste production and disposal and the purchasing of goods and services.
• Assess the risk associated with climate change and the implications for our services and our communities of climate change impacts and adapt accordingly.
• Encourage all sectors in our local community to take the opportunity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and to make public their commitment to action.
• Monitor the progress of our plans against the actions needed and publish the result.
• Work with others to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
Members were informed that Cabinet, on 6 February 2019, had approved the Policy for recommendation to Council for adoption as part of the Council’s Policy Framework.
Councillor Jones commended this fine example of collaborative working and hoped that all Members would be content to endorse the Policy, which sat comfortably with the Council Plan priorities. She moved the recommendation to adopt the Policy, saying that she felt proud to be part of an authority that took seriously its role with regard to Climate Change. The proposal was seconded by Councillor Giles Archibald.
Councillor Jones turned to the second Notice of Motion included at Agenda Item No.16, Climate Emergency 2019, stressing the need to address the problem quickly. She acknowledged M/s Kelly’s earlier comments regarding the fact that some of the figures shown in the motion were already out of date. Councillor Jones having moved the motion, was seconded by Councillor Ben Berry.
A number of Members spoke in support of the proposal to adopt the corporate Council Policy on Climate Change.
Councillor Archibald thanked Councillor Jones for her leadership on the issue of Climate Change and M/s Kelly for her representation demonstrating commitment to the cause. Councillor Archibald drew attention to the catastrophe which was unfolding worldwide through, for example violent weather, flooding and loss of livelihood. The current trajectory was becoming ever more dramatic, suggesting the potential for millions to be without water, the spread of disease, that the coral reef would die, the weather would become more violent and sea levels would rise. Past forecasts had been too conservative and there was a need for all to take responsibility and to act now. Councillor Archibald stressed that the Council took this responsibility seriously and drew attention to the action list which had been drawn up and to how both Councillor Jones and himself had travelled throughout the district to talk with communities to seek suggestions to expand the list. He urged Members to work together to tackle the emergency.
Councillors Eamonn Hennessy, Peter Thornton, Roger Bingham and Anne Hall also spoke in support. This issue was beginning to resonate strongly with people and now was the time to show commitment and take positive action on this non-political topic, all Members and officers working together to effect change. Councillor Anne Hall, also in support, referred to inconsistencies in the bus service provided in her ward, and further stressed the need for dialogue between all tiers of authorities.
A vote was taken on adoption of the corporate Council Policy on Climate change and it was unanimously
RESOLVED – That the corporate Council Policy on Climate Change be adopted as part of the Council’s Policy Framework.
Note – Discussion and voting on the second Notice of Motion included at Agenda Item No.16, Climate Emergency 2019, took place at Minute No.C/72 below.