A climate change and environmental emergency has been declared by Eastleigh Borough Council.
The cross-party motion - jointly proposed by the Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Rupert Kyrle, and Independent Group Member, Councillor Gin Tidridge, was unanimously agreed by last night’s meeting of the Full Council. It notes the Council’s progress to date in reducing its own carbon emissions and in supporting residents, businesses and community organisations to do likewise.
The declaration, the first cross-party motion in some years, sets out the authority’s aim to be carbon neutral by 2025 and to support communities and businesses across the Borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The push for carbon neutrality will now be the focus of a cross-party working group.
The Council is already ahead of the government’s 2020 target on greenhouse gas emissions, is one of Hampshire’s foremost local authorities for levels of recycling (including the county’s only collection of food waste) and has a substantial renewable energy portfolio, generating around 330,000 kilowatts last year (2018-19).
Other initiatives include making Council buildings more energy efficient, monitoring air quality and promoting sustainable transport solutions (including in the Council’s own fleet). Green waste collections and insulation grants are also helping the Borough’s households reduce their carbon footprint.
Councillor Kyrle said: “We recognise that this is a hugely important issue facing not just our residents, but also our environment, our wildlife and the planet; we therefore took this joint motion to our Full Council asking Councillors to declare a Climate Change and Environmental Emergency.
“As a Council, we work hard to reduce the environmental impact of our day-to-day operations and to support our residents, and our public and private sector partners, in being greener in their business activities and everyday lives.”
The motion in full
The full wording of the motion to the Council meeting (Thursday 18 July) is below:
“Eastleigh Borough Council has a long history of tackling climate change; throughout the life of its current Climate Change Strategy the Council has installed thousands of kWh of renewable energy, supported residents and community groups to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, lobbied Government and worked with partners to improve the resilience of the Borough.
“Council reaffirms its existing commitment by joining other local authorities and institutions in declaring a Climate Change and Environmental Emergency. In doing so it agrees to:
- put in place measures to ensure that the Council’s own operations and functions achieve carbon neutrality by 2025,
- work with partners to aim for all projects and services delivered in the Borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030,
- ensure that the Council’s procurement policy recognises carbon neutrality as one of the primary considerations,
- recognise the urgency of action to mitigate and adapt to climate change in every decision taken by the Council,
- establish a cross-party working group to develop a plan for how the Borough of Eastleigh could achieve carbon neutrality by 2030,
i) to be Chaired by the Cabinet Lead for the Environment and to
include representatives from within the local community and
ii) to report to Council within six months with a new Climate Change
Strategy alongside immediate actions the Council will take to
address this emergency,
iii) to be followed by a detailed Action Plan to be developed to include
reporting requirements and assessment of the associated
resource implications; and
6. include all of the recommendations above in a revised Climate
Change Strategy to be completed and approved by Council in 2019-20.”