A period of up to one hour is allocated to consider the motions on notice. This may only be extended with the agreement of the Council.
Members considered the following Motion on Notice, submitted by Councillor S. Robinson:
This Council calls on officers to present a report to the Climate Change Working Group by the end of 2021 which shows how Bromsgrove District Council can become carbon neutral by 2030, 2035 and 2040, along with a cost analysis for each proposal.
The Motion was proposed by Councillor S. Robinson and seconded by Councillor R. Hunter.
In proposing the Motion, Councillor Robinson explained that 2 years’ previously she had suggested that a Climate Change Working Group should be established at the Council. At the time, Councillor Robinson had chosen not to set a target in respect of reducing emissions in the District and instead it had been agreed that Members would work together to ensure that this was achieved. However, since then, whilst proud of what the Council had already achieved, Councillor Robinson had concluded that targets should have been set.
Councillor Robinson commented that many members of the Climate Change Working Group felt that the group was not doing as much as it could. The group had not been provided with a budget and whilst well intentioned, Councillor Robinson suggested that it could be achieving more than at present. The Motion was not designed to remove the need for the group, or to cut it out from the process. Instead, the Motion compelled officers to work with the group to bring forward options, including information about the financial implications, that could be used to help the Council move forward. The Motion did not commit the Council to a particular date for action but would enable the authority to make changes in the future. Councillor Robinson concluded that the Motion, should it be approved, would provide Bromsgrove District with a useful plan to address climate change moving forward.
In seconding the Motion, Councillor Hunter commented that it was designed to be constructive and to support the work of the Climate Change Working Group. Councillor Hunter commented that he was proud of all of the work that the Council had already undertaken to tackle climate change; he suggested that the Motion, if approved, would help to accelerate that progress. Officers would be supported by the proposals, as clear timeframes would be provided setting out when particular actions should be taken and milestones achieved. Members were advised that the Climate Change Working Group would benefit from a bit more direction and this Motion would provide that direction. Furthermore, Councillor Hunter suggested that the group needed to meet more frequently in order to have a greater impact on tackling climate change.
Members subsequently discussed the Motion in detail and during this debate the following points were raised:
· The role of the Climate Change Working Group and recent efforts to ensure that the group would meet more frequently than had been the case when it was first established.
· The extent to which the Motion could be considered to undermine the role of the Climate Change Working Group.
· The possibility that the issues raised in the Motion could be addressed at a meeting of the Climate Change Working Group.
· The Government’s work to address climate change and the need to reduce emissions by 2030 in order to keep temperature rises at 1.5o C.
· The hard work of the Climate Change Officer and other staff working to address climate change in the District.
· The Council’s previous decision to declare a climate emergency and the need to take action to demonstrate the authority’s commitment to tackling climate change.
· The approach that had been adopted by other Councils in respect of setting targets to tackle climate change.
· The recent urgent decision that had been taken in respect of decarbonisation funding for the Artrix.
· The other action that was already being taken by the Council to address climate change, including funding for electric vehicle charging points and the introduction of an electric bus service operating between Bromsgrove town centre and the railway station.
· The role and responsibilities that the Council had invested in the Climate Change Working Group.
· The cross-party arrangements in place for the Climate Change Working Group.
· The potential benefits arising from having a plan in place in respect of tackling climate change.
On being put to the vote the Motion was lost.