LGA declares climate emergency

Councillor Howard Sykes writes: “In support of many local authorities that have declared a climate emergency, the LGA did the same at the annual conference last week. I was proud to welcome Councillor Adele Morris (pictured above) to the stage who spoke in favour of the motion, which included some key achievements from Lib Dem councils. As group leader, I was proud to support this.” Read the amended motion.

Councillor Adele Morris has urged the LGA to support action to tackle climate change. In her speech she said:

“The LGA Liberal Democrat group is pleased to support this amendment and the motion.

As a local government family we must all play our part in securing a healthy and sustainable future for our communities.

Over 100 councils have already declared a Climate Emergency. We must encourage others to follow, and help them by sharing good practice examples of action that can be taken.

Clearly more needs to be done, however, we should recognise that many councils have been working on environmental solutions for some time.

It was in the early 2000’s that Sutton helped pioneer the Beddington Zero Energy Development. More recently they have built a Passivhaus Secondary school.

South Somerset is creating a new energy storage facility, which will be the largest council-owned battery storage system in the UK. It will provide instantly available electrical power, on demand to the National Grid. It will also bring in much-needed funding for the authority.

Solarbourne in Eastbourne has seen the installation of Solar Panels across their property portfolio. Cornwall is supporting a project to explore geothermal energy.

Eastleigh demands high standards of energy efficiency in new developments. Our local planning policies play a huge part in shaping sustainable communities. And designing energy efficient buildings not only protects the environment, it also reduces bills for the occupiers and helps prevent fuel poverty. Environmental requirements should not be ad-ons, and should not be negotiable.

Reducing time wasted in traffic jams is beneficial for our environment and for health. York and South Lakeland are promoting walking, cycling and bus use – which also supports healthier lifestyles. Many authorities are installing electric vehicle charging points, others insist on car free developments and promote the use of car clubs.

And there are many more examples of practical steps we can take.

Local authorities have shown that they have leadership and ambition, and so do our communities. Indeed we have a duty to push the agenda, but when we are struggling with greatly reduced budgets, we need more support from Central Government to enable us to meet our collective goal.

I was at my own authority’s climate change summit yesterday where a pupil said that she felt better informed about climate change than her teachers – if we are to effect change, our schools are a key battleground

And it is important that we educate the next generation of architects, builders, and even local councilors.

If we fail to do this colleagues, future generations will never forgive us.

Please support the amendment and the motion.”

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