At a cross-party decision at the full council meeting on Tuesday (23 July) councillors agreed that the council had a role in helping address the serious and accelerating impact on the environment and people’s lives resulting from climate change.

Councillors agreed to establish a climate change action plan, with targets for the council to cut our environmental impact and steps to become carbon neutral.

The action plan will be ratified within six months and reviewed annually.

The forthcoming local plan will also be a further opportunity to improve biodiversity and green spaces, to optimise the energy efficiency of future developments, encourage more sustainable transport options, including increases the opportunities to walk and cycle within the borough.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities committee, said: “This is a hugely significant moment and is probably the most important issue that this council has ever debated; I am pleased that there is cross-party agreement on this very important issue.

“This will be an opportunity to bring together all the positive work that the council is already doing in this area, as well as initiate new policies and ideas that can make an even bigger contribution to protecting the environment and the climate. The target to become carbon neutral will not be easy but I know that there is the resolve to achieve this.

“This isn’t something the council can deliver on our own. We will be engaging with the wider community, tapping into the knowledge and passion that already exists, working with and learning from our residents, businesses and others to reduce CO2 emissions across the borough in order to meet our targets”.