Proposer: Councillor Cory and Councillor Whitehead

D.. Motion that:-

This Council notes:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s warning that we have 12 years to make the necessary changes to limit a rise in global temperatures to 1.5C. Failure to act will see a marked increase in sea levels and flooding, extreme and abrupt changes to weather patterns, crop failures, extinctions of plant, insect and animal species, and global economic disruption and crisis. Total populations of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have declined globally by 60% since 1970, and all of the 20 warmest years on record, have occurred in the past 22 years. Failure to take immediate and decisive action on this will detrimentally impact on the well-being of the people of Colchester Borough and billions of people around the world.

At the Global Climate Talks in Poland last December the UK along with over 200 nations agreed action on climate change with a much greater role strongly implied for local and regional authorities, like Colchester, in assisting governments to achieve their carbon emission savings.

So far, 85 local and regional authorities have passed Climate Emergency motions in a bid to spur urgent action to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable urban environments and economies. In passing and following through on this motion, we can take a radical step forward in tackling climate change and conservation as a local authority. Tackling climate change cannot just be left to national government. It is everyone’s duty to do what they can to stop this existential threat to our planet.

This Council therefore resolves to:

1. Declare a climate emergency and publicise this to the people of Colchester Borough to raise awareness and support the public to take effective action.

2. Support the newly formed Conservation and Environmental Sustainability Task and Finish Group to consider the following actions:
a. Commission an environmental audit which identifies pollution hotspots, wildlife biodiversity and environmental health issues, and an urban impact assessment with an aim to identify areas of improvement across the borough.
b. Consult expert opinions in the field, as appropriate.
c. Collaborate with regional and neighbouring local authorities, as well as communities, to encourage practical measures to reduce emissions, reduce carbon footprints and develop community-based renewable energy projects.
d. Encourage all sectors of the economy across the borough to take steps to reduce waste and become carbon neutral.
e. Develop a roadmap for Colchester Borough Council to go carbon neutral by 2030.
f. Report to Cabinet and Full Council within six months with an action plan setting out conservation and environmental sustainability goals to address targets by 2030; incorporating proposals on the investment implications of this proposed activity.

3. Pledge to ensure future housing and community development projects meet a carbon-neutral standard by 2029.

4. Call upon the Leader of the Council to write to the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth requesting that national policy is urgently developed to reflect the seriousness of the current emergency, and to release funds to local authorities, encouraging them to take the necessary measures at local level.

As the motion relates to an executive function. it will stand referred direct to Cabinet, unless a motion to suspend Council Procedure Rule 11(2) is passed.