Climate Plan welcome but much more needed to meet Zero by 2030

9 July 2020

The Green Group welcome the current measures approved by Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils cabinets following cross-party recommendations resulting from the Climate Task Force Group.

However, Green councillors involved pointed out that the commitments did not go deep enough to secure a zero-carbon council and wider economy in the district by 2030. It also failed to engage the wider public in tackling climate change.
The Conservative administration agreed to improve energy efficiency within council-owned housing, but rejected the recommendation to immediately prioritise zero-carbon housing in the creation of future council housing stock. Cabinet members claimed they needed to understand better how energy efficiency could be standardised for council new-builds.

Cllr Mellen commented:

“The technologies, methods and capacity for building zero-carbon homes are already well-established. Only last February sustainable housing expert Dr Rehan Khodabuccus gave a two-hour presentation to inform planners and members how zero-emissions homes are being built elsewhere”.

He added,

“The costs and waste involved in retrofitting new council house stock in 5 years’ time will be much greater than the investment required to build these homes at zero-emissions standards now”.

Many councillors from the opposition questioned the cabinet member’s refusal to divest from fossil fuels companies. He argued that oil companies, as private energy companies, were best placed to invest in ‘new’ and ‘cleaner’ energy technologies.

Cllr Pratt who attended the meeting said:

“The administration ignored the evidence on the role of fossil fuel companies in their commitment to renewables. These companies commit a tiny fraction of their investment in renewables compared to developing future fossil fuel projects. Investing in fossil fuel companies is effectively opting for more climate change.”

He added,

“We would like to see an investment strategy that steers away from fossil fuels and biofuels where they cause harm to the biosphere, and stimulates community renewables and genuine green-energy projects.”

The administration also denied the public the opportunity to participate and make recommendations to the council within a Citizens’ Assembly. In their misunderstanding, members argued that they were not prepared to transfer their own power of decision to an unelected assembly.

Cllr Eburne said:

“Cabinet members have misunderstood the purpose of a citizen’s assembly. In this context, it would bring together a group of people, chosen at random to reflect the wider population, to learn about, discuss and make recommendations on tackling climate change in the district. It is not about taking decisions away from the council.”

She added:

East Suffolk District Council have already carried out a similar initiative in their Climate Change Forum held in Lowestoft last February. Feedback from that forum was used to inform their Environment Task Groups’ future work. We would also like Mid Suffolk to act in a similar way to involve our own citizens”.

 






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