This local newspaper reporter’s real-time coverage of today’s key council meeting addressing #ClimateEmergency has been gripping. There is life in the old evening paper yet! @ShropshireStar @ShropCouncil #Politics #Shropshire https://t.co/ONU8QqU5UO
— Jo Ralphs/Nicholls (@JoShrops) May 16, 2019
The original motions:
The following motion has been received from Councillor Alan Mosley on behalf of the Labour Group.
“That this Council welcomes the setting up of a task and finish group to examine the Council’s response to Climate Change following the motion adopted by Council on 13th December and we also affirm our commitment to:
- Carbon Emission Appraisals being attached to all reports,
- The designation of a Director level Carbon Champion,
- The creation of a Climate Action Partnership of stakeholders and the wider community.
However, given the conclusions of the IPCC and more recent scientific research findings we believe that Shropshire Council should be more active in its role in providing local leadership and as an organisation meeting rigorous carbon reductions targets.
Therefore, this Council declares that there is a Climate Emergency and calls upon the Cabinet to bring forward proposals within the current calendar year to ensure that all operations within the Councils control are Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Furthermore, we resolve to provide advice, support and encouragement, however possible, to county-wide public, business and charitable organisations to adopt similar policies and practices.”
The following motion has been received from Councillor Julian Dean and supported by Councillors Pauline Dee, Roger Evans, Andy Boddington and David Vasmer.
Since our meeting in December the UK has seen two further periods of records temperatures, in February and over Easter; the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said he would adopt the Committee on Climate Change advice to end the use of fossil fuel heating systems in new homes from 2025; thousands have joined protests and school strikes to draw our attention to the nature of the crisis we face and the Environment Secretary Michael Gove has admitted that the Government has ‘not done nearly enough’ to tackle climate change.
In the light of these continuing developments, we agree that Shropshire Council should add its voice to those of Shrewsbury and Oswestry Town Councils – amongst the 87 local authorities in the UK alone (as of end of April) – by declaring a Climate Emergency.
We welcome the allocation of Climate Change to the portfolio of a Cabinet member.
It is with regret that we recognise that the task and finish group recommendations are not likely to reach cabinet before late September and that this means that subsequent policies are not likely to reach full council until December, a full year since we agreed to call for proposals on this matter. Without pre-empting any recommendations from the carbon emissions task and finish group, we urge the Cabinet to make clear to senior staff that measures and policies should be developed that duly recognise the nature of the emergency. We call on senior officers to ensure that staff are enabled to work effectively and collaboratively and with due time allocated to develop such measures and policies.
We instruct Cabinet to come forward with recommendations and targets for Council, with the intention that these are informed by the work of the task and finish group, to consider by the end of the year and that duly recognise the nature of the emergency.
The following motion has been received from Councillor Cecilia Motley and supported by Councillors Nick Bardsley, Gwilym Butler, Lezley Picton, Madge Shineton and David Turner.
“This Council welcomes the recently published House of Lords Select Committee report on the Rural Economy, and in particular its call for the Government to produce a comprehensive and place-based Rural Strategy, accompanied by re-energised rural proofing.
The Rural Services Network, of which Shropshire Council is an active member, and which gave evidence to the Select Committee, has similarly produced, and is promoting amongst its membership authorities, a Template for a Rural Strategy. Furthermore Shropshire Council has undertaken to produce a County Rural Strategy, as a consequence of the motion passed by this Council on September 20th 2018.
This Council therefore requests the Leader of the Council to write to the appropriate Government Ministers to lend support to the call for a Government-wide Rural Strategy; thus adding weight to the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee report.”
The following motion has been received from Councillor Dean Carroll and supported by Councillors Rob Gittins, Peter Nutting, Nic Laurens and Cecilia Motley
This Council believes that Climate Change presents a serious threat to humanity with the potential impacts on weather systems and biodiversity being catastrophic if allowed to continue to increase unchecked. Although small contributors to the climate picture, local authorities do have an important role to play domestically in encouraging behaviour changes that will help to reduce emissions both locally and further afield. We also have responsibility for our own emissions as an organisation and a Corporate Carbon Reduction Strategy is being developed, a draft of which has recently been presented to the Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which is aimed at reducing the Council’s carbon footprint. To further those aims a cross-party Task & Finish Group on Climate Change has been established by the Place Overview & Scrutiny Committee and an officer Working Group has been set up to drive forward our strategy for the whole county. It is planned to introduce an officer position to coordinate the Council’s response to Climate Change and the sustainability agenda.
We also recognise the role that local authorities have to play in informing and influencing national Government policy. This is something Shropshire Council has taken an active lead in across a range of subjects from Fairer Funding for rural schools to support for survivors of domestic abuse. We continue to take a leading role in lobbying national Government for positive change with a motion on today’s Agenda supporting the House of Lords Select Committee’s call for a Rural Strategy. Over recent months a number of other local authorities across England have passed motions declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and lobbying national Government for increased support in reducing carbon emissions.
Therefore this Council resolves to:
- To declare a ‘Climate Emergency’
- To ask the Leader to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to encourage Government be ambitious in its plans for carbon reduction targets and align with the recent thinking of the IPCC to be Carbon Neutral by 2040.
- To support the work currently being undertaken by Shropshire Council in this field and reaffirm our support to tackling Climate Change