But the Tories are not entirely happy with it – and want actions prioritised and more robust data. They have also called for further investment in officers to carry out the huge volume of work that the plan will generate.
But the major criticism came from Elstead councillor Jenny Else, who claimed the Public Consultation exercise was flawed and had been “beefed up.”
She said it was “rather disingenuous to claim that residents supported the council’s efforts to combat climate change when only 73 residents out of 120,000 had responded.
The consultation exercise was conducted on-line during the Covid lockdown – the results of which are included in the papers.
Neither could Cllr Else see how Waverley’s itself could realistically achieve the objective outlined in the “long-winded document” to reduce its carbon emissions for travel. However, it took only moments for Strategic Director Annie Righton to point out that this was already underway – with the proposal to use pool cars, reduce travel by introducing some ZOOM meetings, looking at mileage allowances and using public transport.
“We have a robust way forward,” she said.
As you will see from the link below Cllr Else knows how a Council Strategy should be produced!
A message to the residents of Waverley on how it intends to tackle Climate Change.
After consulting the public, and councillors Steve Williams Waverley’s Green Party Member and Portfolio Holder for the Environment & Sustainability has published the council’s Climate Change Action Plan.
On Wednesday 18th September 2019, Waverley Borough Council passed a motion which I moved on behalf of the Executive, declaring a climate emergency and committing the council to become a carbon-neutral council by 2030. This action plan is a response to that declaration of a climate emergency.
Waverley Borough Council had never before declared a state of emergency of any kind, and this is significant. For this is not merely another policy initiative; it is an attempt to ensure we do everything we can as a council as part of a worldwide movement to reduce carbon emissions to a level which will keep global temperatures in check. In essence, we are doing our bit to avoid the utterly catastrophic events that will ensue should global temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
We are committed to lead by example in our response to the challenge of climate change and, in doing so, we shall do everything we possibly can to make Waverley a carbon-neutral borough by 2030. Whilst the main focus of this plan is that of enabling Waverley Borough Council to become a carbon-neutral council by 2030, we shall be bringing forward more detailed proposals for a zero-carbon borough by 2030 once these have been developed and agreed by the shortly-to-be-established Climate Assembly. Being on an emergency footing means that everyone who works for or works with Waverley Borough Council should be aware of the carbon footprint for which they are responsible – and should be doing everything they can to reduce this carbon footprint to zero.
Being on an emergency footing means that everyone who works for or with Waverley Borough Council should be doing everything in their power to influence others to reduce their carbon footprint and to influence other councils and private, public and third sector organisations to support us in our ambition. Some of the actions we propose in this plan are easy to take and cost little to implement. Other actions are more difficult and more costly. Some will only be achieved through the national government and Surrey County Council action and we shall work in partnership as appropriate to secure our goal.
“Whatever the challenges we face over the coming decade, it has never been more important for our council to respond and play its part in the face of an impending climate catastrophe. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations.”
A total of 965 people responded to the consultation. Some of the key findings are in a detailed summary in (Annexe 2) of the report which is included in the link below.
- 78% of participants felt it was “very important” and an additional 16.5% felt that climate change was “quite important”
- 94% would welcome more opportunities for recycling and upcycling to help them reduce their own carbon footprint
- 90% felt that the council and its contractors should switch to low carbon transport
- 90% felt that new council properties should be built to carbon-neutral standards. Lack of infrastructure and facilities were seen as the greatest barrier to being environmentally friendly.
- 88% felt it is “extremely or very important” for the Council to lead by example and take action and 89% felt that the Council should prioritise reducing their own emissions first.
Financing the delivery of the CNAP will be a major hurdle to overcome.
There were, however, some very useful and constructive criticisms and suggestions from Cllrs Richard Seaborne and Cllr Stephen Mulliner on how the complex document could be improved. Cllr Mulliner’s main concern focused on energy emissions from the borough’s housing and leisure centres. Cllr Mulliner wanted more realistic costings on actions, which he claimed were “eye-watering” – though he admitted this was a difficult call. He urged the Executive to bring in extra staff to implement the plan and which he argued would pay dividends in the long run.
Both agreed, Waverley Council must lead by example, and get its own house in order and in the hope that residents would follow.
Everyone on the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee agreed – We are in this together to fight against climate change.