Cabinet recommends declaring a climate and nature emergency

6 October 2021

Our Cabinet will recommend to the meeting of full Council (11 October 2021) that a climate change and nature emergency be declared for the district. 

At our Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 6 October 2021, the motion to declare a climate emergency was discussed by councillors and the recommendation was agreed.

Cllr Edward Heron, our Leader, said, "In itself, declaring a climate emergency does nothing, it's what you then do. But this is a clear signal that we consider it of such importance that we will be building on the climate change actions already underway and taking a more fundamental look at our activities, with the target of reducing carbon emissions along with an ambitious action plan being put in place to measure annual district-wide progress.

"We have a strong track record in our sustainability and environment stewardship. We have engaged in climate change actions for many years and, through policies and activities, have made the district more resilient, reduced carbon emissions, and provided the infrastructure to enable others to make choices that reduce emissions. 

"Our recently revised Corporate Plan has sustainability and the protection of natural resources, as well as support for the local economy, running through it. And the importance of sustainability is evident within my own portfolio.

"In addition, the recently adopted Local Plan has sustainability at the centre of all aspects with development not being permitted unless it can be demonstrated that it is sustainable development.

"Going forward, we will be taking more actions in every area of our day-to-day activities, in our operations, our civic buildings and depots, as well as gaining a better understanding and measurement of what the issues are and what our actions are achieving.

"As well as our own actions we recognise we cannot do this alone, and we will continue to work with other local authorities and partners to tackle the impact of climate change in the area.

"We will be able to articulate in a single document what we're already doing as well as set out what we are working on collaboratively with our partners, for example the joint waste strategy, the work we're doing with the county on the local transport plan, and the ambition to be the greenest Freeport in the country."

The move to declare the climate and nature emergency follows our 2019 Environment Action Plan, which gave prominence to ensuring that environmental issues, including climate change, are taken into full account in decision making.

A Sustainability Advisory Member Panel will now set actions to address the climate and nature emergency and will present a report to full Council in February 2022. 

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