Breckland council declares climate emergency. Well done Susan Dowling! https://t.co/Xk8q9jVbc9
— Emma.Biggs.Environment (@EmmaBiggsEnvir1) September 24, 2019
Councillor Dowling presented her motion and provided a detailed overview as to
why it had been presented.
The motion submitted was read aloud.
“Full Council notes the devastating impact that climate change and global
temperature increases will have on the lives and livelihoods of people around the
world, including on the health, safety and wellbeing of Breckland residents.
The urgent need for action to be taken fast enough for there to be a chance of
further climate change being limited to avoid the worst impacts of drought, floods
and extreme heat;
The opportunity for individuals and organisations at all levels to take action on
reducing carbon emissions, from both production and consumption.
The need to enable low carbon living across society through changes to laws,
taxation, infrastructure, policies and plans.
Our responsibility to help secure an environmentally sustainable future for our
residents and in relation to the global effects of climate change.
Therefore, this Council resolves to:
1. Declare a Climate Emergency;
2. Engage and work in partnership with our partners in the public, private and
community sectors, including central government to facilitate bold action to
ensure Breckland is able to play its role in helping the UK to deliver against
the commitments made nationally and internationally at the 2015 Paris
3. Prepare an Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy in line
with this pledge, and, with our partners across the community, to develop an
action plan and ‘route map’ to a sustainable, low carbon future for our
4. Launch engagement with the public to:
– Improve “carbon literacy” of all citizens;
– Encourage and support leadership on this issue in all sectors of society;
– Obtain meaningful public input into the Breckland Environmental
Sustainability & Climate Change Strategy and action planning;
– Facilitate wide community engagement and behavioural change;
5. To make best endeavours, using its powers and resources, including both
financial and officer time, to enable Breckland District Council to be carbon
neutral by 2030;
6. To report back every 6 months, on progress being made”.
The above motion was seconded by Councillor Morton.
19 September 2019
The Leader thanked Councillor Dowling for her ‘sit up and think’ open address. He
explained that in January 2018, Her Majesty’s Government published ‘A Green
Future’ 25 year plan to improve the environment. On the 12th June 2019, the Prime
Minister then heralded the end to the UK’s contribution to climate change by setting
a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and at its recent
conference in Bournemouth, the Local Government Association (LGA) agreed a
motion that (1) called upon Her Majesty’s Government to explore supporting
domestic implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through
funded partnership roles within each local authority area; and (2) encouraged
councils to continue their work on linking their local priorities with the overall
ambition of SDGs and declared a “Climate Emergency”. The LGA were committed
to supporting councils in their work to tackle climate change by providing a strong
unified voice for lobbying support to address this emergency and sharing best
practices across all councils.
Breckland District Councils’ sphere of influence was broad with the ability to
promote energy efficiency, seek more sustainable sources of energy, reduce waste
production, promote better land use practices, make links to health and wellbeing
and influence its procurement practices.
As such, the Leader asked that the Motion presented by Councillor Dowling be
amended to delete resolutions 2 to 6 and support resolution 1 – to declare a Climate
The Leader then called upon the Council to develop its commitment and
implementation of an overarching and achievable sustainable Breckland Strategy.
This would set out the policies, strategies, implementation plans and resourcing
requirements to embed the values of sustainability into the Council’s services,
delivery and operations. The Council would work with key stakeholders across the
District, including Norfolk County Council, neighbouring local authorities, the Local
Enterprise Partnership, businesses and of course, its residents who could
contribute to a Sustainable Breckland Strategy. He assured Members that Cabinet
would be discussing this Strategy early in 2020.
The amendment was seconded by Councillor Claussen.
Councillor Jermy spoke on the amendment as proposed by the Leader and
welcomed the opportunity to discuss these matters further.
Councillor Morton felt that the statistics were daunting and having worked in
agriculture and food manufacturing had seen the impact. He supported the
In response, Councillor Bambridge the Executive Member for Planning, pointed out
that whilst the Council did not, very often, discuss environmental issues within the
Council chamber he believed that amongst the 49 Members, many belonged to
organisations and outside bodies which did get involved in the environment in a
fairly substantial way.
For clarity, the Chairman asked the Leader to restate his final motion. It was
confirmed that resolutions 2 to 6 be deleted and resolution 1 be supported- to
declare a Climate Emergency.
A vote was then taken on the amendment and the final motion.
Subject to 6 abstentions, the motion was agreed.