Allerdale climate change action plan agreed
Allerdale Borough Council will start making greater efforts to combat climate change, after councillors unanimously agreed an action plan at the Council meeting held last week [4 March 2020].
The set of recommendations came about after months of work by the cross-party Climate Change Task and Finish Group. This was set-up by the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee after the Council agreed on 25 September last year to look into the issue of climate change and what the council could do to reduce its carbon emissions.
As part of its work the group held a stakeholder workshop in January with representatives from organisations including the Climate Emergency West Cumbria, Sustainable Keswick, and the Green Party. They were also joined by two students from the local Energy Coast UTC.
The group also took advice from other groups and local authorities, as well as considered current council policies such as the Allerdale Local Plan.
The report contains 18 recommendations including:
· That the Council puts tackling climate change high on the agenda by including it in the responsibilities of an Executive Member with the necessary officer support, the setting up of a Climate Change Group to drive forward any required actions, and consideration of the impact on the climate of its decisions. The group will consist of Councillors and senior officers.
- Update the council’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan to reflect the ambitions of the Joint Health Strategy and the actions of other local bodies like the Leaders Board in tackling climate change.
- Train staff and Members on the issue, and a full engagement plan be introduced so that the Council learns from a full range of people and groups including local residents, climate experts and other bodies.
- A clear focus on delivering a viable and sustainable response to climate change, with a target to be carbon neutral by 2030 if possible.
- Undertake a “climate change audit” to assess the council’s carbon emissions to establish a baseline figure.
- Influence local businesses to take similar action and do more to help the public understand the need to be more environmentally aware such as by recycling and reducing waste.
Cllr Sally Lansbury, who introduced the original motion last year and was a member of the task and finish group, said:
“The group engaged with members of our community from all ages and backgrounds. Some of the stakeholders are here tonight and I’d like to thank them for their contribution to our work. This is a pragmatic and objective report based on research from a wide-range of places and sources. It’s also the result of some really positive cross-party working.”
Executive member, Cllr Marion Fitzgerald, added:
“I am delighted to have read this report and the recommendations it puts forward. I see now that the setting up the task and finish group was the right approach to this issue and they’ve done a great job. I’m excited that we have some real actions to take this forward.”
Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Iain Greaney, presented the report to Council and congratulated the work of the Task and Finish Group by saying:
“I’d like to thank everyone involved in putting this report together. This has been the result of some real hard work from councillors, officers, but also members of our community who have shaped Council policy.”
University of Cumbria’s Dr Ruth Balogh, who represented Friends of the Earth and Climate Emergency West Cumbria, said:
“It's a victory for working together - a unanimous vote, and a plan that seeks to work with local people.” She’d attended the climate change workshop, collected the Allerdale Climate Change petition signatures, and asked questions regarding climate change to council.
Julia Robinson, from Climate Emergency West Cumbria (CEWC), who also been involved in the petition and took part in the workshop, was also at the meeting last week. She added:
“It’s great news! The meeting saw real progress for Allerdale council on tackling climate change – and is evidence that the council is taking this issue seriously.”