The Committee considered the report presented by the Policy and Projects Officer which proposed a plan of action and indicative timetable in response to the Climate Emergency declared by Newark and Sherwood District Council.
The agreed climate emergency motion declared at the Full Council meeting on 16 July 2019 was detailed in the report.
It was reported that in response to the declaration, Newark and Sherwood District Council had established a cross-Council project team to examine how the Council should most appropriately respond to the declaration. This noted the fact that the Council did not currently have a single point of responsibility for climate change in the way that some authorities do. Attached as Appendix A to the report provided a summary of the activities currently undertaken by the Council which might be described as having a positive impact in terms of reducing the Council’s carbon footprint.
It was reported that by establishing a baseline carbon footprint would enable the Council to understand its current performance and be able to consider the interventions and resources required in order to mitigate this.
The project group recommended the following actions be undertaken, with assistance, in order to deliver the requirements set out in the Climate Emergency:
· audit existing environmental practice within the Council
· establish data to determine the carbon footprint of Newark and Sherwood District Council (currently limited)
· consider the Council’s contribution to the district carbon footprint more widely, according to national data from reputable sources
· engage with stakeholders
· coordinate a Climate Emergency Strategy with reference to all of the above
· produce an accompanying generational Carbon Reduction Action Plan to mitigate carbon emissions from the Council.
In addition, the project group would recommend that a wider Climate Emergency Working Group of Members be established to guide this work. Whilst Leisure and Environment Committee had recycling within its remit, issues such as planning and green spaces sat within Economic Development, whilst responsibility for the Council’s housing stock sat within Homes and Communities. Finally, the Committee responsible for assessing and approving any interventions with finance implications sat within Policy and Finance. It was therefore logical to establish a working group under the direction of Policy and Finance Committee to ensure a Council-wide response from its Committees. The Working Group would also engage with the community more widely.
The report detailed indicative milestones subject to approval by the Leisure & Environment Committee and Policy and Finance Committee at its meeting on 26 September.
A Member commented that the report presented to Committee was a poor start given that the Council had acknowledged that there was a climate emergency. There should be an officer appointed as a single point of contact and there should be a starting point and a predicted end point. Concern was also raised that two of the groups were not represented on the Working Group.
AGREED (unanimously) that:
(a) the proposed course of action and indicative timetable to respond to the declared Climate Emergency as outlined;
(b) Leisure and Environment Committee recommend the course of action and indicative timetable to the Policy and Finance Committee for approval;
(c) Leisure and Environment Committee recommend to Policy and Finance Committee that a Climate Change Working Group be established under its direction, to comprise the chairs, vice chairs and opposition spokesmen on Policy and Finance, Leisure and Environment, Economic Development and Homes and Communities Committees; and
(d) Leisure and Environment Committee recommend to Policy and Finance that the budget within the Reallocation of Resources report (to be considered by Policy and Finance 26 September 2019) in relation to the production of the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan is approved.