North Somerset Council agrees to seven point climate emergency plan
PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 December 2019
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Cutting pollution created by motor vehicles and becoming carbon neutral are among a raft of actions agreed by North Somerset Council to protect the environment.
At a full council meeting on November 12, councillors agreed to enact its seven-point climate emergency plan.
This includes the council becoming carbon neutral by 2030, changes to planning permission to minimise impact on the environment, to promote the use of renewable energy including on-shore windfarms, and encourage people to repair, reuse, reduce and recycle items.
A motion declaring North Somerset a frack-free zone is also planned, with the council saying it would 'discourage the exploration and production of shale gas'.
The council also wants to work on flood defences - a topical issue given the problems experienced in Yorkshire this month.
Alex Hearn, North Somerset's assistant director for placemaking and growth, said: "Carbon neutrality in North Somerset by 2030 will only be achieved with radical behavioural adjustments across the area.
"The council has been recognised as one of the better performing local authorities in the country at responding to climate change and it's important that we continue to show leadership and work with our local communities, businesses, schools and partners to tackle the climate emergency.
"However, we will need substantial support from the Government to achieve this target and we'll be lobbying ministers and civil servants for help."
This will be overseen by a climate emergency project manager who will be paid £39,782 per annum.
Cllr John Crockford-Hawley welcomed the plans but said: "Is it true that around £80,000 is to be spent on a new member of staff with specific responsibility for newly adopted council policies, who will also be employed for two years?
"Other sections of the council are historically seriously understaffed."
Responding to the question, executive member for the climate emergency councillor Bridget Petty said: "This is a starting point.
"It's an ambitious vision.
"It's necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on North Somerset, and globally."
She said climate change threatens everyone but local efforts to tackle it had so far been 'woefully underfunded'.
Deputy leader Mike Bell said the council aimed to work faster than the government and other local authorities, and that the decision to employ an officer was made at the previous executive meeting.