With the local elections now behind us, campaigners and newly elected councillors are wasting no time in putting pressure on councils to declare climate emergencies and step up action on climate. Here’s an update on five campaigns we know about, focusing on Kent County Council, Lancing Parish Council, Worthing Borough Council, and Thanet and Horsham District Councils. Do get in touch if you have news of other climate emergency campaigns in the area – there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep up!
CE motion passed by Kent County Council, but….
Kent County Council passed a climate emergency motion on May 23rd put forward by the Green Party, but only after it was amended, and the 2030 carbon neutrality target extended to 2050. It’s instructive to watch the recording of the debate online (click to agenda item 13). It follows a similar pattern to the one at West Sussex County Council in April, with members from all parties lining up to express support for climate action, but quibbling over target dates and wording and splitting along party lines when it came to voting.
According to a report on the debate in the Kent Online website: “Kent County Council has declared a climate change emergency but has still been accused of “letting down” the younger generation after pushing back a proposed target for carbon neutrality by 20 years. Conservative county councillors claim the initial plan was “unpractical” and the extended target would “give it greater credibility”. However this extension disappointed Cllr Martin Whybrow (Green)… who said: “We are heading towards the cliff edge. 2050? Really? Have you been paying attention? To remove this deadline is to just put up the white flag. If you won’t listen to me, listen to others. Listen to our young people, who are out on the streets with their school strikes.”
Glass half full or glass half empty? Take your pick!
Lancing Parish Council declares a climate emergency
SECA’s focus up to now has been mainly on county, district and borough councils – but parishes are getting in on the act too. Lancing Parish Council has just become the first parish council in West Sussex to declare a climate emergency. The motion was put forward by Councillor Lydia Pope, the newly elected chairman of the Council. It asks the parish council to declare a ‘climate emergency’, commit to make the parish council’s activity carbon neutral by 2030 at the latest, both directly in its day-to-day activity and indirectly through its procurement and outsourcing. Here’s a report from the Worthing Herald.
Worthing petition reaches 1000 target and wins debate
Just along the coast, a petition started by Jo Paul of Worthing Green Party for Worthing Borough Council to declare a climate emergency reached the 1000 signature threshold. Jo has therefore been invited to present the proposed motion at the next full council meeting on 23rd July. She’s put a call out for others to come along to lend their support. The meeting starts at 6.30pm at Worthing Town Hall, Worthing, BN11 1HA.
Pushing for climate action in Thanet
In Thanet, the Labour Party (see headline photo), with backing from the Green Party, has tabled a motion to their District Council to declare a Climate Emergency. Quoting from their press release, opposition leader Cllr Rick Everitt said: “The new council faces many important issues and challenges which we will address in various ways in the coming weeks and months, however there can be no greater priority affecting the whole of Thanet than the threat from climate change. This may be a tiny step in the context of a global problem, but we believe the council should take a lead; action to reduce carbon emissions will also help make Thanet a cleaner and more pleasant place to live in the short term.”
The motion comes up for debate on 11th July. The meeting starts at 7pm at the Council’s offices in Cecil Street, Margate.
CE motion tabled in Horsham
In Horsham District Council, moves are afoot to present a Climate Emergency motion at the next full council meeting on 26 June. A notice of motion has been tabled by the recently expanded Liberal Democrat contingent on the council, and has been seconded by the Green Party, who have established a foothold on the District Council for the first time. Discussions are underway to see if cross-party support can be gained. Here’s a press report in the West Sussex County Times.
The meeting starts at 6pm at Parkside, Chart Way, Horsham. Local SECA members will be hoping to pack the public gallery with supporters on the night.