Sunday, 24 March 2019

Council prepares to help stop ‘climate emergency’

WATLINGTON Parish Council is planning to reduce its impact on the environment.

It is set to become the latest council to declare a “climate emergency”.

A motion proposed by Councillor Terry Jackson was supported by its strategy committee last week and will be considered by the full council this month.

Councillor Jackson, who runs Watlington in Bloom, says that by approving the motion, the council would commit to considering the impact on the environment of all its activities and policies.

This would mean:

• Reviewing the energy providers for the properties it owns or maintains with a view to switching to renewable sources or tariffs.

• Planting more trees.

• Promoting energy efficiency and local food.

The council might also revise the Watlington neighbourhood development plan to include more specific requirements for energy efficient homes and renewable energy production for the benefit of the community.

Cllr Jackson said: “Many cities and towns, including Oxford, have already declared a climate emergency in the wake of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which warned that humanity has 12 years to take emergency action in order to prevent global warming greater than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Above 1.5C, the risks to humanity of floods, droughts, extreme heat and poverty become much greater, impacting on hundreds of millions more people.

“With the warning that humanity has just 12 years to take emergency action in order to prevent catastrophic global warming, it is time for all institutions to act decisively, including this council.”

She said the seriousness of the problem was highlighted by 16-year old Swede Greta Thunberg, who misses school every Friday by “striking” in order to draw attention to climate change.

She spoke to the United Nations in December and to world business leaders at Davos in January.

Councillor Jackson said: “More than 21 councils across the UK have now declared a climate emergency and are working towards a zero carbon future.”

In Henley, environmental campaign group Henley in Transition is to lobby candidates in the town and district council elections in May to support a motion declaring a climate emergency and will urge the public to back only those candidates who do so.

Oxfordshire councils that declare will jointly call on the county council, South Oxfordshire District Council and the Government to provide the powers and resources to make action on climate change easier.

If Watlington council approves the motion, a report will be drawn up outlining actions it needs to take.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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