Motion to support climate change blocked by council boss

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 February 2019

Councillor Matt Boot. Picture: Contributed

Councillor Matt Boot. Picture: Contributed

Archant

A motion to recognise the importance of climate change and support young people's calls for immediate action has been blocked by council bosses.

The CEO of East Devon District Council (EDDC) has refused to allow the issue to be discussed at the authority’s next full meeting on Wednesday (February 27).

The motion put forward was for EDDC to recognise that climate change and global warming were the key issues of our time and acknowledges the strong concerns of young people, during the recent walk out of school children and students in protest against the lack of action to address it.

It called for the council to commit to introducing a policy of carbon measurement and reduction within all aspects of its own activity and to encouraging all public sector partners in the district to do the same. The motion included calls to look urgently at engaging with young people in East Devon to understand their concerns, and work with them towards achieving solutions.

An EDDC spokesman said: “The issue of climate change emergency is acknowledged to be of critical importance. Currently, however, the county council is considering its position and will shortly debate the matter. As we are in a two tier area it is appropriate for the district council to assess the position taken by the upper tier authority and then respond accordingly. The public would expect us to work in partnership with the county council rather than unilaterally.”

Cllr Matthew Booth said: “On Friday school pupils and students from across the UK carried out a mass walk out, the UK Youth Strike for Climate Change, in protest at the lack of action by politicians and policymakers on the critical situation we now face with climate change and global warming.

“It was UN scientists that wrote an inter-governmental report published in October 2018 by the IPCC that said we now have only 12 years to reduce global temperatures to a maximum 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels or global warming will be irreversible. It seems that only our younger generation are now actually taking this report seriously.

“This motion proposes that we must focus on the main critical issue that we face, as outlined by the IPCC report, and that is for this council to immediately address the urgent need to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to slow down global warming.”

Cllr Booth said councils across the country were passing motions to become carbon neutral by 2030 and there were any ways that we could begin, like by:

Partnering with scientists at Exeter or Plymouth universities.

Ensuring we carry out strategic environmental assessments on all developments.

Focus on long-term solutions to green energy, such as through transport, improved insulation, and solar heating.

Reforestation which is the quickest and cheapest route to carbon reduction and limiting deforestation.

Cllr Booth said: “I personally do not care how we begin to do this, or who does it, but that we act now not wait for some planned strategy in the future.”

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