Climate and Ecological Emergency Annual report
The Cabinet Member for Environment introduced the report which provided an annual update to progress on targets set in June 2019, to achieve net zero carbon for the Council by 2025 and net zero carbon across the Borough by 2030. Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cabinet Member for Environment said that some actions could not currently be addressed, whilst others had been implemented early, such as using technology to work from home to reduce business travel. He drew Members’ attention to the Carbon Trust’s Climate Action Plan included in the report on page 33 of the Agenda.
The Cabinet Member for Environment highlighted some of the progress made which included the Council’s vehicle fleet had been replaced with 9 new electric vehicles (EV) and 8 new EV charging points had been installed in Council car parks. He advised that the Air Quality Action Plan had been approved by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the reduction of single use plastic was progressing and biodegradable tree guards had been sourced. The Cabinet Member for Environment added that there was now a policy in saving 50% carbon emissions in new housing development. In seconding the recommendation, Councillor Alister Gould reserved his right to speak.
The Leader congratulated the Cabinet and Deputy Cabinet Member, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Climate Change Officer for their work.
Other Members thanked the Cabinet Member for the update and made points including:
· Some parts of the report were very technical – could training be given to Members on the technical aspects?;
· questioned whether not renewing the drinks and vending machine contract would then encourage staff to purchase at other venues, away from Swale House?;
· clarification on what the Council’s estate was (paragraph 3.3 on page 8 of the Agenda), and what control SBC had over long leased properties?;
· report lacked progress as much was already underway in June 2020;
· sought further detail on the costs of the 9 EV’s;
· sought more up-to-date figures on information;
· was cautious on the use of bio-degradable tree guards as paper guards deteriorated, suggested wire guards as an alternative;
· questioned the cladding of Swale House;
· highlighted that 50% saving in carbon emissions from new development in planning applications had been challenged; and
· was there any feedback on performance of EV cars?
Councillor Gould said whilst it was recognised that the requested levels of savings in carbon emissions in new development did not have the full backing of legislation, many developers had accepted it, and it was a good signal to push developers in the right direction. He also reminded members of the hierarchy ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in reference to the removal of vending machines containing single use plastics. The comments made referring to the Council’s estate were addressed with the recognition that ‘operations’ may be the better term to be used.
The Cabinet Member for Environment said that training could be considered. He said that it was early days for EV drivers but so far, the feedback was positive. Referring to the comments made on the limited progress, he reminded Members of the little progress the previous administration had made compared to the current administration.
(1) That the progress in the Annual Climate and Ecological Emergency progress report be noted.
- Climate Emerg Report FC Jan 21, item 386. PDF 86 KB
- Climate Appendix I Annual Report, item 386. PDF 389 KB
- Climate Appendix II, item 386. PDF 738 KB