Durham County Council have passed a motion declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing the Council to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and to explore becoming carbon neutral by 2050
“While the motion was backed by the majority of councillors, Lib Dem Coun Mark Wilkes called for councillors to adopt a 2030 target for carbon neutrality.
He argued that other councils who had adopted the motion, or a variation of it, had stuck to the 2030 target which could leave County Durham “20 years behind everyone else”.
“We should be leading the way on this issue as we have been on plastics and so many other areas, he said.
“This is an opportunity not a noose, the noose however will tighten from 2030 onwards if we don’t address the categoric climate change heading our way.
“I will not sit by and allow this council to delay something that is this important, my child has his third birthday next week, in 2030 he will be 14 years old and if this council isn’t at least carbon neutral by then, everyone, including me, will have failed him and every other child in this county.”
During debate, councillors raised concerns about the difficulties of committing to a 2030 target.
Leader of the Conservative group on the council, Coun Richard Bell, said the “real gap in the motion” was information on how it was going to be achieved.
Coun John Clare (Labour) said working to make County Durham ‘carbon neutral’ would be influenced by wider factors around infrastructure, transport and farming.
He added that the Durham County Council was already developing a low-carbon strategy to tackle the issue but stressed a “achievable date” was 2050.
Following debate, an amendment by Coun Wilkes was defeated with 23 votes for, 67 against and two abstentions.”