Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To provide Members with an update on the work of the Climate Change Action Plan.
The Cabinet Member with the Economy Portfolio introduced the report of the Chief Executive (previously circulated) requesting that consideration be given to the draft Climate Change Action Plan (also previously circulated) and the approach being taken to achieve a carbon budget.
The submitted report stated that the draft Climate Change Action Plan was the supporting document to the Climate Change Strategy, approved by Cabinet in July 2020 (Minute C7(3)/Jul/20 refers); each action had an indication of its current status, whether funding was available and under which portfolio each action sat; the Action Plan was designed to be a rolling, organic plan; it would be continually reviewed to allow the Council to respond to new technologies, new understanding and government initiatives as they arose; milestones would be developed year by year to enable robust reporting to Full Council every six months; and an annual report would also be produced.
It was also reported that three potential trajectories had been calculated, based on 20, 25 and 30 per cent reductions in emissions over successive five-year periods; the 30 per cent trajectory would give an approximate 76 per cent reduction in emissions by 2035 compared to our baseline of 2010; and that residual emissions would need to be offset and that an action to develop an offset plan was included in the action plan.
Written and verbal representations were made to Cabinet covering a number of issues relating to Climate Change including the development of the Skerningham Garden Village, which it was felt would result in the felling of trees, additional car journeys in the area and a large urban extension to the north of Darlington and whether the Council’s reputation would be damaged by its support of this development. Reference was also made to how the Council could lead the way with Climate Change when they were supporting the airport over other public transport, building new roads and new housing estates that would increase vehicle usage and planning to build further homes. It was requested if a collaborative team could be set up with local environmental groups to pool ideas and information and assess urgent priorities together to achieve the goal to reduce carbon emissions.
Particular reference was also made to the Council’s responsibility to offer healthy and nutritious food in schools, as currently only 18 per cent of children in the UK were meeting the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and it was requested if the Council could make it a priority to offer at least 50 per cent plant based meals in schools and catering at Council events to be 100 per cent plant based.
It was reported that the Plan was a good start and that it was important to have a plan, even if there were gaps; it was in its early stages; the urgency remained; and that business and the community needed to be involved to share the workload and ensure that the target was achieved. Reference was also made to the take up by officers of the compulsory training module on Climate Change.
The Cabinet Members with the Economy and the Children and Young People Portfolio responded thereon.
RESOLVED – (a) That the draft Climate Change Action Plan, as appended to the submitted report, be adopted.
(b) That the 30 per cent emissions reduction every five years, as detailed in the submitted report, be adopted.
(c) That the Annual Report 2020/21, as appended to the submitted report, be noted.
REASON - With increasing public pressure to act on climate change, we run the risk of significant damage to our reputation if we do not deliver on our stated commitment to dealing with the Council’s contribution to climate change.?????
Report author: Barbara Strickland
Publication date: 11/10/2021
Date of decision: 05/10/2021
Decided at meeting: 05/10/2021 - Cabinet
Effective from: 19/10/2021