Nottinghamshire County Council leader Kay Cutts remains sceptical about climate change
The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has said while she remains sceptical about climate change, work is ongoing to clean up the way the council operates.
A pilot scheme to retrofit social houses, a world first for energy storage, and a significant property upgrade with greener buildings are among the measures being taken by the council.
But the outgoing Conservative leader of the council, Kay Cutts, said although she remains to be convinced as to the existence of climate change, she wants more action to tackle ‘filthiness’.
“People say I’m a climate change denier, well I don’t know. I’m a sceptic until proved otherwise,” she said.
“I don’t know whether there is climate change or not, and in a way I suspect the climate has always been one of those things that has fluctuated.
“What I’m concerned about is how filthy everywhere is. The amount of rubbish in the hedgerows and in the gutter is absolutely disgraceful.
“Everywhere is filthy dirty, and it’s got to stop. We need to be cleaner in our habits.
“I think, generally speaking, this has been lifting up the agenda for the whole world, not just in Nottinghamshire. We are in an environment that is damaging our whole way of life and therefore I think there is the collective will to change.
“We must not minimise the progress that has been made, but sometimes we have done that at the expense of the environment and I think this is now the opportunity to try to turn that around..
“I don’t believe in becoming a vegan, I think that’s a ridiculous thing to do. Red meat actively enhances the countryside because of the grazing of animals.”
To monitor progress, the council has a 59-point action plan. By its own measure, it has made good progress on 13, and no further progress on 18, in the nine months since it was introduced.
Mrs Cutts said: “I’m sorry that things have been blown off course but no one saw the pandemic coming and no one thought it would last this long. Those who would have been delivering on this have had to be redeployed elsewhere.”
Asked if she was satisfied with the speed of change towards sustainability at the council, she said: “I always want everything yesterday, but I think the council is moving at quite a pace now.
“We spent quite a lot of time working out what it is we need to do. So, it was long in planning, and I hope it is short in execution.
“But I think our council has good plans, and those plans are well embedded.”
The county council is currently bidding for a government scheme to retrofit up to 25 social housing properties in Bassetlaw and Mansfield, at a cost of £800,000.
Mrs Cutts said: “The idea is to make all of the houses warm and comfortable.This is going to have to be rolled out to thousands of houses across Nottinghamshire, and millions across the country.
“Most of our environment is the built environment, and in order to get to carbon neutral you’ve got to start thinking about how you deal with older houses.
“The idea of knocking the whole of England down and rebuilding all over again is just ridiculous, and, of course, a lot of the architecture is lovely. But we need to bring it back so that it can be warmer. It will be expensive to start with, but I think it’s a learning curve.
“It’s taking care of the environment we all value, looking at how we can live more comfortably in our homes, save money and save the environment at the same time.”