19th Aug, 2019

Bromsgrove District Council declares a climate emergency

Harry Leach 25th Jul, 2019 Updated: 25th Jul, 2019

BROMSGROVE District Council has declared a climate emergency but fell short of setting a date for the town to become carbon neutral by.

Councillors promised to take urgent action and work cross-party to protect people from the consequences of irreversible climate change which scientists believe will happen within 12 years.

Other councils across the country, including Worcester City Council, have already set deadlines of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

The climate crisis motion, asking the council to develop an action plan and report regularly on actions being taken, was put forward by Coun Siobhan Hughes (Lib Dem, Central) at Wednesday’s full council meeting.

Speaking just hours before possibly the hottest day on UK record, Coun Hughes said: “Climate change is one of biggest issues we face in our world at the moment.

“We are in the middle of a heat wave right now and it’s affecting us all.

“I recognise our council is already looking into low emission vehicles and electric taxis but I think most of us would agree we need to do more.

“Some people say we can’t make a difference at local level but this couldn’t be more wrong.

“If everyone had that attitude, nothing would ever get done.”

Bromsgrove’s Labour Party made an amendment to Coun Hughes’ motion, to have the council itself become carbon neutral by 2025, but it was voted down by the other parties.

The Conservative Group said it could not commit to a date without first sending out the council’s officers to work out costs.

Labour leader Coun Michael Thompson said: “The council has no housing stock and owns a small fleet.

“I don’t think it was an unrealistic target.

“Very disappointed the Lib Dems were also not able to support our amendment to make our council carbon neutral by 2025.

“The Labour group worked hard to bring this meeting forward so that the Liberals and other councillors could bring their emotions forward.

“We really did approach this meeting with a view to cross-party cooperation, we were supportive and simply wanted to make Bromsgrove district Council carbon neutral.”

During the debate members also argued over whether or not committing the town to becoming carbon neutral would lead to a council tax increase.

Council Leader, Karen May, said: “We do not want to further impoverish or give more problems to our residents than we need to.

“Right now I agree to the commitment and I’m committed to the subject matter, but we just need time to work on the dates.”

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