Climate emergency declared by Warwickshire County Council

Warwickshire County Council has declared a climate emergency.

Labour, Green and the Lib Dems wanted the Tory-lead full council to agree clear goals towards being a zero carbon organisation by 2025.

Climate change protesters outside Warwickshire County Council's headquarters at Shire Hall in Warwick.

Climate change protesters outside Warwickshire County Council's headquarters at Shire Hall in Warwick.

Before a meeting of the full council yesterday (Thursday July 25), Helen Adkins, of the Labour group said: "This is an urgent issue and our amendment asks for tough targets to be set.

"The benefits for the people of Warwickshire are clear - we want to see a move towards reducing carbon, tackling pollution and reviewing which of the council's services could be run in a greener and smarter way.

"We just hope the Tories vote to support this motion.

"We are concerned some do not see this as a serious issue.’

After negotiation a compromise motion was agreed with the Conservatives.

Green Party group leader Cllr Jonathan Chilvers said: “We've been working hard to engage with all parties on this issue.

"I will now be looking to see the Conservative-led council to act in this light and agree ambitious and achievable targets to be zero carbon within 6 months.

"Warwickshire County Council has declared that we face an emergency.

"An emergency means we need to take calm, urgent and decisive action.

"An emergency means that it is not business as usual. We face a major threat to our security and our everyday lives.

"It’s time to change.”

As part of the emergency declaration, the county council has committed to establishing a cross party Climate Change Task and Finish Working Group which will report back to cabinet with an action plan in six months.

Work will also go ahead, in collaboration with district and borough councils, to develop proposals for a carbon neutral action plan for the county council to be considered by cabinet members.

As part of the move towards carbon neutrality, the county council will also review and update transport plans for each district and borough Council to support them in building sustainable transport systems.

Cllr Heather Timms, the county council's portfolio holder for environment and heritage & culture, said: “In Warwickshire we are committed to tackling climate change, and to achieve that we need to have a properly costed plan, with targets for the short, medium and long term.

"In six months we will have that plan ready for us to consider, with dates and targets.

“But we should also recognise the good work that we have already done over the last five years, at a time of reducing budgets, to manage our impact on the environment.

"This includes achieving a 41 per cent decrease in greenhouse gases from council property and transport, buying 100 per cent renewable energy, making changes to our street lighting practice and developing a new flood risk management plan.”

To find out more about the council’s energy strategy, visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/energystrategyandpolicy