A Special Council Meeting last night was definitely of the lively variety – as members of the new Rainbow Alliance went head-to-head with a rather dog eared bunch of Tories intent on diluting the motion to Declare A Climate Emergency.
Suffice to say a meeting to get the Full Council behind its bid was unlikely to be an easy call for Your Waverley’s new boys on the block. Particularly as half a dozen councillors declared they were formerly employed in the oil industry and had their pensions to prove it. However, despite the fireworks, the Alliance stood firm and won the day.
Why? Because for a new administration to be taking the lead on such an important issue in its honeymoon period, was courageous. As it was not put forward by the old guard – it was therefore ripe for a good drubbing. Nothing like a climate debate to get the juices flowing.
Some Tories claimed the Newbies had not gone far enough – others claimed – they had gone too far. Some argued the document which seeks officers to come forward with an Action Plan in six months was “unrealistic” and was “undeliverable.” Some couldn’t quite make their minds up why they should support what Cllr Steve Williams described as a document that addresses the most serious issue the world faces.
Watched in the gallery by students from Broadwater School, warmly welcomed by Godalming Cllr Williams, as he hammered home the urgency for action as the earth warms at an alarming rate with dire consequences, particularly for the young and future generations.
“We cannot beat nature.”
Waverley like others around the globe must face up to the dire consequences of global warming, face its responsibilities. Think globally and act locally by aiming to become carbon neutral by 2030. A situation that would force everyone to adjust their lifestyles.
For some Tories declaring an immediate Climate Emergency was premature. Without enough detail of how it could be achieved and the costs involved. For others, it didn’t go far enough, and with more thought, an earlier date than 2030 could be achieved.
The gloves came off as a tribe of tetchy Tories put up an amendment to scupper the plan, which they claimed they “supported in principle,” for further consideration. But, it was pointed out by a host of newbies, that a Climate Emergency was just that… AN EMERGENCY… and the work had already begun.
What the young people in the gallery thought of the slanging match as the debate progressed is anyone’s guess. But suffice to say, it was only the Mayor Mary Foryszewski who always manages to make light of any situation, who continued smiling as she awaited an opportunity after the meeting to flog off her mugs at a tenner a time – for her chosen charity.
Deputy Leader Paul Follows said he was “proud” that the new administration had bought this document forward, It should not be delayed and other towns and parishes had already adopted theirs. This was not about gesture politics, as that adopted by Surrey County Council – ouch! An organisation that declared a Climate Emergency one week whilst supporting oil and gas extraction only last week and could soon approve exploration in the borough of Waverley at Dunsfold!
Thanks to The Potty One, whose parachute jump from Farnham into Tilford must have increased her carbon footprint by at least 50%, stressed her group supported ANY climate emergency measures. But was slightly concerned that the cart was being put before the horse!
It was left to Tory Cllr Seaborne – who had earlier declared his oil industry connection – to explain what she meant. It was all about achievability and realistic dates. “We have no idea how much it will cost, and the impact this will have on Waverley’s residents and businesses, and its services – a study must come first – and then a Climate Emergency declared.
The WW couldn’t understand why Elstead’s Aunty Else-y didn’t mention that 1/5th of Waverley’s population was elderly – therefore contributed more wind into the atmosphere? Matched only by her own, as she said she wanted “very clear assurances” that the borough’s voluntary sector wouldn’t be adversely affected by the decisions to be taken. Perish the thought that it might affect the elderly – what about future generations that may not enjoy old age, Aunty?
Suffice to say after an enormous amount of hot air spiraling around the chamber, sufficient to power Godalming’s street lighting, a recorded vote against a Tory Group amendment to the motion to Declare A Climate Emergencywas lost by 30 votes to 17 with two abstentions. (So almost half the TT’s couldn’t bring themselves to vote for their own amendment!?!
So Waverley Council then UNANIMOUSLY Declared A Climate Emergency, despite councillors, including Cllr Mulliner, Seaborne, and Co waxing lyrically against! With 49 votes For.
Another bonkers Tory amendment produced like a rabbit out of a hat by Cllr Robert Knowless- to hold all council meetings during the day to save on light, heat, and transport, was defeated by 31 votes to 18 with Tory Cllr Townsend voting with and congratulated by, the Rainbow Coalition.
If you can bear it – you can watch the proceedings here. Don’t ask us why but it starts at 1 hour 12.02.