A WAR of words has broken out after Worcestershire County Council declared a climate emergency and vowed to tackle the causes of climate change.
Despite the council agreeing to make the leap and commit to tackling the problem, furious Green Party chiefs have labelled the move ‘an emergency in name only’.
By declaring a Climate Emergency, the council acknowledges the need to act on the causes and impacts of climate change and has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero from council activities and operations by 2050.
That’s 15 years later than the original motion tabled by Labour and the Liberal Democrats at the meeting on Thursday (July 15).
Conservative chiefs amended the original proposal and moved the proposed date for the council to be carbon neutral by 15 years to 2050, much to the anger of opposition parties.
After the proposed amendments only passed with the substantial Tory majority at County Hall, the proposals were approved.
In declaring a climate emergency, the county council’s net zero carbon plan has been endorsed and it will work with partner authorities to review and update all relevant strategies.
A member advisory group to assist with the future revision of plan and report annually on actions taken will be set up in a bid to reach carbon neutral by the Conservative Government’s 2050 target.
The Green Party’s Coun Matthew Jenkins said: “It is a climate emergency in name only. An emergency that we will take 29 years to deal with.
However, Coun Tony Miller, cabinet member for the Environment said: “We’ve agreed to join a number of partners and local authorities in declaring a climate emergency.
“This amendment will allow us to build on the great progress we have made in recent years in addressing climate change and reducing the council’s emissions.
“Our Net Zero Carbon Plan outlines our commitment to reducing the council’s carbon emissions across a number of scopes, including emissions from waste disposal, council buildings, street lighting and through partnership working with contractors.
“Our Zero Carbon and Sustainability Board is leading the way and is identifying funding options for investment in renewable energy on the council’s estate, and energy efficiency improvements in our building stock and street lighting assets.”
The council’s first Net Zero Carbon Plan was approved towards the end of 2020 and sets out how it aims to reach its targets in this area.
To date, the council has reduced its GHG emissions by 40 per cent since 2009/10.
Visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20235/sustainability/1091/sustainable_council to view the plan.