Full council meeting sees councillors declare a climate emergency
A CLIMATE emergency was declared by councillors at a Newark and Sherwood District Council meeting on Tuesday.
Extinction Rebellion climate protesters were outside Castle House ahead of the meeting.
In putting forward the motion, Labour group leader Mr Paul Peacock outlined its importance for reducing emissions to net zero.
He said: “As a country we are still building homes that will not meet our future needs, transport projects are outlined that will not meet targets, we are still replacing green spaces with tarmac and we are not dealing with air pollution that is killing people.
“This is a failure we have been guilty of and we need to be challenged so our policies reflect future needs and lead the way in example.”
Councillor Peacock said councillors should not underestimate their power and responsibility but added there must be a timetable set to accomplish these targets.
“We have to be open and review our action regularly and measures we take should be held to scrutiny, and with these transformations, we can save more trees, reduce fuel poverty, reduce air pollution and single use plastics,” he added. “This is not a political decision and I hope people embrace the change. I think an amendment will water down commitment.”
The motion was seconded by Ollerton labour councillor Donna Cumberlidge.
However, it was amended by Conservative Roger Jackson, who suggested the motion should not set specific targets.
The amendment stated the council declared a climate emergency and noted it would need to develop measures to try and offset climate change.
Newark and Sherwood district council will take the following measures:
- Make the leisure and environment committee responsible for looking into what the district council does in trying to mitigate carbon emissions, improve recycling and to work with the partners to improve carbon efficiencies.
- To work with other local authorities and public, private and voluntary sector partners on carbon reduction projects.
- To lobby the Government for the necessary resources and powers so that Newark and Sherwood District Council can make its contribution to the UK’s carbon reduction targets
- The leisure and environment committee will provide and publish an annual review of measures taken by Newark and Sherwood District Council and its impact on the district’s carbon footprint
The amended motion was seconded by councillor Neill Mison.
Responding to the announced amendment, councillor Maureen Dobson said: “My concern is that this council actually does something. It is far too important. It’s not for me, it’s for my grandchildren. I will vote for the amendment just to get the ball rolling.”
Mr Peter Harris, a Liberal Democrat, also raised concerns over the amendment, saying itreduced the aims of the proposal and targets set out by councillor Peacock.
“As I was coming here today I was given a new members’ handbook covered in single use plastic. We know the council has the opportunity to act and I’m asking to amend your amendment to set those targets, so the leisure and environment committee actually does what the motion is proposing,” he said.
The amendment was passed, despite the concerns.