Green councillor asks Gloucestershire County Council to show leadership over climate change action

Chloe Turner, county councillor for Minchinhampton and part of the Green group on Gloucestershire County Council, made an impassioned speech this week as she presented a Climate Leadership Motion.

She warned that even if COP26 commitments are met the future’s still grim: water scarcity, rising sea levels, heatwaves, habitat loss, mass migration, war – and much of Gloucestershire under water.

Cllr Turner’s motion calls for the council to take decisive action on its climate change commitments. Read the full motion below, and watch her speech here.

Council Notes: 

  • That this authority declared a climate emergency in May 2019, with a goal to reach net zero by 2030, and as a member of UK100, has committed to deliver a carbon neutral county by 2045 (with an 80% reduction by 2030).
  • That the Glasgow Climate Pact recognises a crucial role for communities and local authorities. By “recognizing the important role of … local communities and civil society, including youth and children, in addressing and responding to climate change, and highlighting the urgent need for multilevel and cooperative action” the Pact makes plain the need for action at every level of government and society. Furthermore, the Pact explicitly calls on us “to actively involve … local communities in designing and implementing climate action”.
  • That shortly before COP26, the UK government published its Net Zero Strategy, which includes the intention to establish a Net Zero Forum to coordinate the strategy with local government. 

Council believes:

  • That despite the wholehearted efforts of Alok Sharma MP and others, COP26 failed to provide the national targets to put the world on course for limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5C, and failed to commit to the phasing out of fossil fuels and to the carbon price mechanisms needed to shift the world economy from them. 
  • That the Climate Change Committee is correct when it states that it is “crucial for the [Net Zero] Forum to promptly develop an agreed understanding of the role of local government in delivering Net Zero.”

Council resolves, in line with the Glasgow Climate Pact and associated declarations: 

Local climate leadership:

  • To complete the delivery of Carbon Literacy training for council staff and members by December 2022, to ensure we are consistent in addressing the climate emergency across our activities. 
  • To undertake a robust review of our 2019 Climate Change Strategy and associated Action Plan, and to ensure that other council strategies developed or reviewed from this point are congruent with the renewed Climate Change Strategy.
  • To recognise a hierarchy of action with direct investment in facilities, infrastructure and changes to services first, with carbon off-setting as a last resort.
  • To provide leadership with the issue of clear and regular (monthly) guidance and information on the path to net zero through the Greener Gloucestershire campaign, with transparency regarding the council’s work, and honesty with regard to the changes in homes, transport and diets required of us all. To lend the council’s commitment and authority to the newly established body Climate Leadership Gloucestershire, and to support and learn from neighbouring councils and other partners as they bring forward plans for decarbonising their own activities and supply chains, identifying and engaging in opportunities for working together. 

Sustainable production and consumption:

  • To accelerate our work on waste reduction, circular economy initiatives, sustainable food strategies and natural carbon capture, in particular on the council-owned rural estate. To consider the potential for a Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage system for the Waste to Energy facility at Javelin Park, especially if funding from BEIS is made available, as has been suggested.
  • To expand our work on new renewables projects on county-owned land/buildings and in partnership with other landowners, and to continue to review our existing energy procurement to maximise the efficiency and sustainability of supply. 

Active Travel:

  • To build on recent active travel bid successes for our urban areas, and step up funding efforts for our rural districts where public transport options are limited. To ensure timely delivery of commitments in our Local Transport Plan and Bus Service Improvement Plan with regard to active, public and shared transport. 

Finance:

  • To request that the Pension Committee review the allocation of passive funds in the Council’s pension scheme as part of the upcoming MTFS exercise (if not sooner), and consider moving these passive funds to the new Paris Aligned Benchmark Passive Fund offered by the Brunel Pension Partnership for schemes within its pool. 
  • To bring forward proposals for a local Green Investment Bond, as promoted by the LGA, to enable our communities to invest in local green infrastructure projects. 

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