Cambridgeshire County Council has unanimously supported a proposal to put its support behind national and global calls to address environmental and climate change issues – and to explore even more ways it can take direct action itself.
A motion put before Full Council by Cllr Steve Count, Leader of the Council, outlined the council’s significant track record of success in this area, leading to it becoming acknowledged as a national leader and recommended steps to move further faster in recognition of the need for urgent action.
Saying that the council had a responsibility as a ‘caretaker’ of the environment for future generations, he said “People of all ages, all walks of life and all social and economic backgrounds in Cambridgeshire are becoming increasingly concerned they will leave or inherit an environment that is irreparably damaged, forcing others to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today.”
Cllr Count recommended that the council worked with partners, with the private sector and crucially with representatives of young people who had recently demonstrated their concern about the environment outside Shire Hall, to develop even more ambitious plans and use the council’s significant influence locally and nationally to encourage others to do the same.
During the meeting he agreed with Cllr Susan Van der Venn’s proposal to alter his wording of the motion so its first recommendation includes the words 'Accepts, in line with the recent declaration by Parliament, that the world is facing a climate and environment emergency.’
He outlined the work the council was already involved with, having developed a strategy to reduce single-use plastics, a corporate Energy Strategy - which aims to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and invest in renewable energy to displace fossil fuels - a variety of schemes to protect the natural environment and reduce the impact of waste, promote walking, cycling and public transport, and development of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme which, through improved digitalisation, aims to reduce the need for travel and therefore reduce transport emissions to in turn improve air quality.
As part of the motion Full Council unanimously agreed that officers look at all these initiatives and more, bringing together a combined single environment and climate strategy for Full Council to consider within six months.