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Climate Emergency declared – again!

Created on 25/09/2020 @ 10:09
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A Climate Emergency has been re-declared in Powys, nearly two months after the original declaration was made.

At Powys County Council’s meeting on Thursday, councillors voted overwhelmingly to back the climate emergency motion, which evolved into a joint effort spearheaded by the Liberal Democrats, added to by the Conservatives and finished off by a Labour amendment.

The day before Liberal Democrat Councillors, Jake Berriman and Jackie Charlton, were in discussion with Conservative councillors Iain McIntosh and Lucy Roberts who had their own motion on carbon emissions to put to councillors at the meeting.

Instead they came up with a compromise joint motion.

First time around, the Climate Emergency declaration had been voted through, but miscounting of votes for a blocker motion by Conservative councillors to send the declaration to be referred to a working group, to work out submissions and associated costs before coming back to council in six months’ time, had caused the problems.

Cllr Berriman said: “If anyone thought a day was a long time in politics, I can assure you that the hiatus caused by the technical issues in July has meant that the last two months have felt like a lifetime.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to keep this issue at the forefront of people’s minds and I’m very grateful for the joint work we have been able to take forward.

“Mistakes happen, apologies have been made and I fully accepted those and we need to move on.”

Cllr Berriman added that the two months between votes had given a “pause” allowing politicians from different parties to join forces.

“We are all responsible for our future and that of generations to come,” said Cllr Berriman.

Cllr Iain McIntosh, (Yscir – Conserative) who outlined the joint motion, said: “I’m delighted to have been able to work and develop a cross party proposal to address the issue of global warming and help protect the environment in Powys.”

Then an amendment to the motion was put forward by Labour Councillor, Mathew Dorrance, which would allow Powys to look for financial contributions from both Welsh and UK Governments.

The first vote for Cllr Dorrance’s motion was approved by 40 votes to 21 against and four abstentions.

This was then adopted as the motion, which was approved by 61 votes for one vote against and three abstentions.

This Council therefore resolves to:

·      Join with other councils across Wales in declaring a Climate Emergency and recognises there is a climate emergency.

·      That this council will endeavour to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero, in line with the Welsh Government target of 2030 and, call upon the Welsh Government and UK Government to provide adequate support and resources to achieve this target to support the implementation of Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales (March 2019) to make Powys County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.

·      Request the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Housing and Regulatory Services lead on Climate Change mitigation and continue to actively engage with all members and stakeholders by:
a) working with the established cross-party working group and,
b) establishing a Powys-wide multi-stakeholder group, to develop a baseline picture @2020 and bring forward a strategy and action plan @2021 for a truly sustainable Powys.

·      That this council, with the assistance of the appropriate portfolio holder, newly appointed climate change officer and climate change working group, builds on the achievements to date and develops a working strategy and associated action plans to achieve this target.

·      That this council reviews all relevant policies, strategies and plans, to include its corporate plan and local development plan, to support the achievement of the above targets.

·      That this council promotes and publishes best working practices in limiting global warming whilst encouraging residents and businesses to take their own suitable actions to also reduce their carbon emissions in line with the Welsh Government target of 2030.

·      That this council, together with appropriate support and resources from the Welsh Government, and UK Government works with partners, other local authorities and organisations to help develop and implement best working practices, to publicise this declaration of a climate emergency, limit global warming and enable effective carbon reductions and transition to a green Powys economy.

·      Support our MPs to ensure the Local Electricity Bill succeeds in an Adjournment Debate to encourage and enable the local supply of electricity and facilitate more resilient Powys communities.

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