Council set to Declare Climate Emergency
I've written an article, published in both the Romsey Advertiser & Andover Advertiser today, explaining why I'm bringing a motion to the next Full Council to declare a climate change emergency in Test Valley. The motion will be seconded by the Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Celia Dowden.
"Is it just me that finds the campaigning methods of Extinction Rebellion rather perverse and counter-intuitive? I mean what sort of organisation who claim to care about the environment wants to bring our cities to a standstill, whilst idling vehicles continue to chug out more CO2. But despite the obvious flaws in their approach, I can’t help but applaud their success in restarting a national conversation about climate change.
Following the sobering conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel’s special report, Parliament has now declared a climate emergency – and the Government has responded by legislating for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The first major country to do this. But this ambitious target is only going to be achieved if we act locally as well as nationally. That’s why I’m bringing a motion to the next Full Council meeting in September to declare a climate emergency in Test Valley – which will also commit to developing an action plan within 6 months, detailing what we can do to eliminate our carbon footprint.
In recent years, we have invested in electric vehicles for our parking enforcement, estates and environmental services teams; erected solar panels on top of our Portway Depot and are about to install 18 electric vehicle charging points in Andover and Romsey. But there is a huge amount left to do, such as replacing the rest of our current vehicular fleet with greener alternatives; investigating ways we can harness new technology to prevent unnecessary journeys; and planting lots of new trees to offset our carbon output.
I’m sure many more innovative ideas will come forward too, which is why my motion invites the council’s Scrutiny Committee to help draw up the action plan - so all members of the council and from every political party are involved. I also want to encourage readers of this column to come forward with any ideas you have. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or via my Facebook page www.fb.com/cllrphilnorth. I’m committed to setting Test Valley on the right pathway to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible – and with application and ambition - certainly before 2050!"