INCREASING parking charges, encouraging greener public transport and working with other council are all ideas that could be discussed by Portsmouth councillors after fears were raised over lack of climate change action.

Labour politicians will ask their peers to consider a series of ‘low cost actions’ in a bid to accelerate carbon reduction during a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Group members claimed the Lib Dem administration has not ‘got the green agenda running through’ the heart of its work following the unanimous declaration of a climate emergency last year.

City councillor Judith Smyth submitted her motion for debate next week. She said: ‘The list I have put together is not expensive to implement.

I understand that we have been in austerity – but I am not sensing that the cabinet has got the green agenda running through its business as it should. We can’t just carry on as normal without being green to the core.’

Other outline business plans in the motion include charging employers for off-street parking and then using that cash to fund green initiatives – a move that brings in around £9m in revenue to Nottingham City Council – and calling a cross party working group to make affordable recommendations for the 2020/21 budget.

But the council’s environment boss, Cllr Dave Ashmore, said a lot of these ideas had already been considered. ‘We have agreed unanimously there’s a climate emergency and we are going to do whatever we can about it in Portsmouth,’ he said.

Action on Climate Change motion 

Proposed by Councillor Judith Smyth

Seconded by Councillor George Fielding

Portsmouth City council agreed the Climate Emergency motion unanimously on 19 March 2019. In order to achieve net zero carbon by 2030 we need to accelerate progress especially by taking immediate action to progress low cost projects and by making allocations of capital and revenue where possible in the Council budget for 2020/21.

The Cabinet therefore be asked to include outline business plans for new capital and revenue proposals that will demonstrably accelerate the implementation of the climate emergency motion in the forthcoming council budget for consideration by the next full council.

This will include the following low cost actions listed below

  1. Actively working with Local authorities who are ahead of Portsmouth in carbon reduction to learn from others, avoid the cost of ‘inventing the wheel’ and adopt proven strategy and policy documents where appropriate. For example, Southampton already have a Clean Air strategy.
  2. Calling a cross party working group to make affordable recommendations for the 2020/21 budget (low cost)
  3. To convene a cross party working group to work with the Climate change board and oversee the development of a strategy and action plans to implement the agreed Climate emergency motion including an Integrated transport strategy (low cost)
  4. Considering raising car parking charges (potentially income generating)
  5. Considering charging large employers for off road parking spaces rather than incentivising commuting by car (potentially income generating)
  6. Examining the feasibility and cost benefits of different ways of commissioning buses and bus operators to accelerate the provision of greener buses and to retain surpluses for reinvestment in local bus services (initial work low cost)
  7. Develop and Incorporate new must do requirements to require carbon reduction in Portsmouth into all contracts and partnership agreements so that no organisation can work to or with the city council without contributing to carbon reduction (low cost).
  8. Introduce a carbon reduction kitemark and accessible list of approved businesses for local business that is eligible and signs up in return for the free advertising the scheme provides. Link this to a carbon information website. (Low cost)