To consider the report and make any appropriate recommendations to Cabinet.
The Environmental Health Manager and Senior Policy and Performance Officer presented the Cabinet report which set out the Council’s approach to the reduction of the district carbon emissions to net zero as detailed in the Strategy and Action Plan. The Panel was advised that the Borough Council would bring forward its carbon footprint net zero target from 2050 to 2035.
The Environmental Health Manager made reference to the background papers which had also been circulated to Members in advance of the meeting. He also explained that work was ongoing to ascertain if it would be possible to bring forward the carbon footprint net zero target by 2030.
The Senior Policy and Performance Officer informed the Panel that once the work on the action plan and strategy was underway work could be carried out to look at metrics and key performance indicators that could be introduced to monitor performance. The Panel could also request periodic updates.
The Chair thanked the Environmental Health Manager for his presentation and invited questions and comments from Members, as summarised below.
Councillor de Whalley made reference to the Cabinet recommendations and proposed that ‘subject to a full public consultation’ should be added. This was seconded by Councillor Bullen. Councillor de Whalley commented that he welcomed the Notice of Motion on the climate change emergency.
The Panel considered Councillor de Whalley’s proposed amendment to the recommendation.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Kunes commented that any public consultation would delay the process and require considerable resources.
The Vice Chair, Councillor Bower commented that there were lots of schemes ongoing in the Borough to address climate change and the declaration of a climate change emergency now meant that the pace of actions would be upped.
The Chair, Councillor Sampson felt that Councillors considered the views of residents and fed them back to officers as appropriate, so a public consultation was unnecessary.
The Portfolio Holder for Environment, Councillor Kunes clarified that the action plan and strategy was for the Council, not for the wider Borough, so it may be that a public consultation would happen later on. He also commented that the Council were looking at ways to engaging the public, including public exhibitions.
Councillor Devereux made reference to the consultation responses which had been circulated to Members in advance of the meeting and felt that these covered a lot of queries.
The Environmental Health Manager explained that public consultation at this stage would delay the process and would require additional resources.
Councillor Bullen commented that communication was key throughout the whole process.
On being put to the vote, Councillor de Whalley’s amendment to the recommendation was lost.
Councillor Morley addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34 and made reference to finances, budgets and funding applications and the 2030 target. Councillor Bubb, the Chair of the Climate Change Informal Working Group informed Councillor Morley that they were holding their next meeting on 28th September and Councillor Morley could attend the meeting and discuss his issues there if required.
RESOLVED: That the Environment and Community Panel support the recommendations to Cabinet as set out below:
1. That the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan be adopted.
2. That the Borough Council’s carbon footprint net zero date be brought forward to 2035.