Extract from Minutes of Meeting 26th September 2019: Climate Change
The Chairman advised that a Motion to Council: “Climate Change” had been received
from Mr Tett.
Mr Tett proposed the motion and highlighted these points:
- He felt this was one of the most important motions debated in the Chamber,
over his 15 year career in politics
- 2013-2018 had been the warmest years on record and 20% of that rise occurred
between 2011 and 2015.
- There was a threat to the oceans, with warming waters endangering coral reefs
and melting Arctic ice.
- The UK accounted for 1% of carbon emissions and there needed to be a global
reduction in emissions and energy usage, with the UK leading the way.
- The target to reduce carbon would be a challenge, but progress had already
been made as more power was now being created from zero emission sources
instead of from fossil fuels.
- Buckinghamshire had been playing its part for many years by recycling over
50% of waste, reducing landfill waste and moving to LED streetlights to save
energy and reduce pollution.
- Mr Tett was keen to exploit Buckinghamshire’s agricultural estate by
reforestation to offset carbon.
- A roll-out of electric car charging points across Buckinghamshire would promote
- The new Unitary Council would implement new planning policies to encourage
energy efficiency and reduce reliance on gas boilers.
Mr Chapple seconded the motion. He would bring a report to the next Cabinet meeting
and told Council that the streets of London had been packed with young people
protesting against climate change on the previous Friday. He believed that the Council
had a duty to pass the planet on to the next generation in good condition and made the
2050 would be an achievable target to become carbon neutral and bringing that
date forward was unrealistic, as behaviours needed to change.
Whilst he understood the motives of the protestors, it was important to
recognise that other countries were much bigger polluters than the UK and
therefore should be encouraged to make changes.
Making the necessary changes would require courage, commitment and
finance. All residents would be required to change their lifestyle and standards.
It had taken the council 10 years to complete the actions which had resulted in a
41% decrease in carbon emissions across the county.
Infrastructure would be needed to support the switch to electric vehicles and
consideration needed to be given to the sustainability of electrical supplies.
He encouraged people to take action immediately to improve their own carbon
The future Bucks Local Plan should encourage developers to create carbon
He hoped there would be tree planting and the creation of meadows to support
bees and other insects.
The Leader of the opposition, Mr Lambert, also supported the motion and made the
He thanked Mr Tett and Mr Chapple for incorporating his comments into the
wording of the motion and agreed that this item was one of the most important
debates to happen in the Chamber.
He felt it was important for Buckinghamshire County Council to pass on an
organisational memory of climate action to the new council.
70% of species on the planet would be at risk if action is not taken, this included
He paid tribute to Greta Thunberg as an inspirational young person.
He noted that the Amazon rainforest had burnt uncontrollably and that global
temperatures had risen to their highest levels, so now would be the time to take
He praised young people who had actively educated people who were in a
position of power and stated that he was proud of their actions, with the hope
that this would be promoted in Schools
He informed the Council that Alderman Davies and the High Sheriff had
established SAVE (Save Aylesbury Vale Environment) and the Liberal
Democrats had introduced recycling and a range of other environmental policies
when they had controlled AVDC. He wanted all Members to act and lead the
way in environmental change.
At the recent Liberal Democrat Conference they had agreed a radical
environmental policy. This policy gave local government new powers to be
responsible for climate change, including the ability to cut emissions, to end
fracking and to produce zero emissions by 2045.
The Chairman invited Members to debate the motion and the following main points
Members paid tribute to Greta Thunberg and the young people standing for
A more holistic view of planning and sustainability in communities would be
welcomed in future
There would be an economic cost to climate change. Leaders would need to
analyse any improvements which could be made and any budget implications
which these would lead to
The Chiltern chalk streams were in a desperate state.
The Council had many environmental achievements which were mentioned,
notably the use of better building materials, solar panel and LED lighting
upgrades, insulation and double glazing. All of these actions had delivered
carbon reductions, improved energy efficiency and saved £1 million of the
The council had a duty to get a good return for their pensioners through the
Pension Fund and responsible divestment would be supported
Other countries and organisations, known to be the largest polluters, would be
lobbied and encouraged to reduce carbon. A working group would be formed for
this purpose and would include young people
Buckinghamshire residents needed to reduce their energy usage
Members looked forward to welcoming Buckinghamshire’s plans for a carbon
footprint reduction within the carbon audit report
There was support for tree planting practices, to offset carbon output
A target of 2050 for zero emissions was not thought to be ambitious enough and
Members suggested that 2030 was preferred
The environment should be at the heart of the corporate plan for the new council
and the new local plan should encourage all developments to be carbon neutral
Particular infrastructure projects were thought to be detrimental to the local
environment, this included the expansion at Heathrow, which would destroy
1400 acres of green belt land and would require 6 rivers to be diverted
Suggestions for moving action forward within Buckinghamshire included a plant
a tree campaign, promotion of sustainable transport, educating children at
school, introducing green waste recycling, increasing electric charge points and
the provision of water refill stations
J Wassell announced that she would be abstaining from voting as she had
promised a group of children that she would support an amendment from 2050,
to 2030, as the situation was an emergency and required urgent action. She
could not support the motion in its current form and felt that she should have put
forward this amendment herself.
The public protestors were acknowledged and commended by several Members
BCC had taken 10 years to reduce carbon by 41% and there would be new
challenges including a rising population
Everyone’s cultures and standards would need to be changed to achieve the
target and that had been why 2050 had been decided as the target date.
Radical changes would need to be implemented including limiting air travel,
transitioning residents to electric vehicles and reducing commuting. The Council
would lead the way with these changes
The motion was voted on and carried, 1 Member abstained.
RESOLVED: Council agreed to:
1) Recognise that the rate of climate change is a global emergency.
2) Recognise that, although the UK constitutes 1% of global carbon
emissions, it must nevertheless play its part in leading the way in
promoting change both in the UK itself and, importantly, globally.
3) Note the significant progress that Buckinghamshire County Council
hasmade to date in addressing climate change.
4) Agree that the new Buckinghamshire Council should consider
addressing climate change as a key issue.
5) Acknowledge the net-zero 2050 UK target, as contained in the 2008
Climate Change Act (as amended).
6) Commission a carbon audit pre assessment to gain an insight into the
Council’s carbon usage.
7) Recommend that Cabinet should further consider this issue, including
what proposals, ahead of vesting day, the authority could implement to
support this agenda. These proposals to include using the carbon audit
gap analysis report to inform the policy decisions of the new
Buckinghamshire Council once it is established next April.