Climate emergency declared by Elmbridge Borough Council

At a full Council meeting on Wednesday 17 July Elmbridge Borough Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’.

Councillors have pledged to take local action to contribute to national carbon neutral targets through the development of practices and policies, with an aim of making Elmbridge Borough Council carbon neutral.

The motion, put forward by Councillor Mary Marshall, Portfolio Holder for the Environment, and seconded by Councillor Tricia Bland outlined that ‘urgent action’ is required to limit the effects of global warming, which not only affects the borough’s residents but people around the globe, and that action needed to start with Elmbridge Borough Council and the services it provides.

The motion stated that Elmbridge Borough Council believes that:

  • All levels of government (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate breakdown. Local councils that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies;
  • Elmbridge is already suffering from flooding problems, and a significant proportion of its population and a large number of its settlements are located on low or flood plain areas which would be severely affected by more frequent and extreme storms and rainfall both in the borough and up river. The consequences of the global temperature rising above 1.5˚C are potentially so severe that preventing this from happening is a number one priority; and
  • Bold local climate action can deliver economic and social benefits in terms of new green jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as much improved wellbeing for the people living and working in Elmbridge – for example through reducing fuel poverty and energy bills, encouraging healthy, active travel and improving green spaces and access to nature.

The Council called for the following action:

  • Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’;
  • Pledge to make Elmbridge Borough Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
  • Report to full Council within six months setting out the immediate action the council will take to address this emergency, offer best efforts to forecast progress towards meeting the 2030 target and produce a methodology to compare the borough with other local lower tier districts.

Councillor Mary Marshall, Portfolio Holder for the Environment says:

“As a Borough Council we are well-placed, not just to reduce our own environmental impact but to help the whole borough become more sustainable. If we make the right policies and decisions we can help reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, promote energy efficiency, reduce waste and more.”

“This declaration is only the beginning, we now need to develop our approach to identify the practical steps we need to make environmental sustainability business as usual for us. I look forward to presenting a report to full Council in February 2020 which outlines how we are going to achieve this.”

The strategy will be presented to Cabinet and Council in February 2020 and will build on our existing initiatives.

This is a very interesting development and we really look forward to hearing some more concrete ideas and suggestions within the six months timeline committed to.

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