Labour is leading Exeter City Council in declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency to supplement the Climate Emergency it declared in 2019. As with the Climate Emergency declaration this will lead to meaningful action. It is not rhetoric or empty words it signifies commitment and the value and importance we as a Party place on our environment and recognition of the impact our actions as a species are having on the climate and ecology of the planet. Change has to happen and it has to start somewhere, we are choosing to start in Exeter.
At the Exeter City Council meeting on the 27th April the Climate and Ecological Emergency Motion will presented by Councillor David Harvey and seconded by Councillor Richard Branston.
In proposing the motion Cllr David Harvey (Pinhoe) Lead Councillor for City Management said:
“I am honoured and privileged to be proposing this motion this evening. Many will recall that way back in October 2019 Cllr Williams and I brought forward a motion regarding the Councils use of glysophate.
I am pleased to be able to go a stage further and propose this motion which if passed will declare an Ecological Emergency. I am not going to talk for very long as I am absolutely convinced that you all fully support our approach to these matters which I see as being reasonable and pragmatic yet understanding of the seriousness and depth of the challenge we both as a City Council , a nation and a world are facing.”
He went on to say “our four recommendations are as follows”
1. To declare an Ecological Emergency to supplement and strengthen the Climate Change Emergency declaration of February 2019 by this Council.
This would supplement and strengthen The Climate Change Emergency declaration of July 2019 made by this council. Helping to develop policies and enacting a strategy which meets more ambitious targets for both climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as stronger criteria of justice, responsibility and safety.
2. To continue to work with partners, both locally and regionally, including DCC, to achieve net zero carbon objectives, and to conserve and support the recovery of the natural environment.
Utilising The Place Board and its members and their unique links. Plus other relationships such as with Devon Wildlife Trust who are involved with The Ash Die Back project and the Northbrook consultation and Saving Devon’s Treescapes and Trees for Cities who have supported tree planting across The City in recent years.
3. To support community consultation with respect to identifying solutions to address both climate and ecological emergencies.
Community consultation will be supported again building on the work we have already done with our draft strategies on Trees, Parks and Open Spaces and Play Parks. We are already in touch with many Community groups, The Friends of Exhibition Fields the Wonford Planters and others. And actively support new groups who are becoming in involved in litter picking and other projects such as replanting and rewilding.
4. To request that our two MPs support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
I understand that our local Labour MP the Rt Hon Ben Bradshaw has agreed to support the bill so if my colleagues in The Conservative Party could see fit to persuade Simon Jupp to support The Bill I would be grateful.”
In seconding the motion Cllr Richard Branston (Newtown and St Leonards) said:
“This motion will make a positive contribution to achieving this council’s commitment to become net zero carbon 2030.
This council has already introduced a very wide variety of initiatives and polices in addition to declaring a climate emergency in February 2019 members will recall that Exeter city council’s environmental initiatives have included investing in 13 acres of privately owned land in one of our valley parks and working with Devon Wildlife Trust to create wild flowers to protect bee and insect habitat. In addition to protecting the open spaces in Northrook, Bull Meadow and Clifton Hill. In addition to car recharging points and solar panels have been installed in all the councils car parks and buildings and the city council is also in the process of investigating the structural condition of Trews Weir to establish whether it is a viable option to build a powered water turbine which will increase renewable energy generation and in turn .
I appreciate that we are on the verge of elections and there is a temptation to engage in political point scoring never the less it would be extremely disappointing if any member of this Council did not support this vital motion.
This Council has a track record of working together on major issues which are in the interest of the residents we were all elected to represent.
This is the one is most important issue this council will have debating since 2010 when this council overwhelmingly came together to support the campaign for this city to become a unitary authority, unfortunately the government of the day reversed the its own decision to grant unitary status. However we cannot for to lose this epic battle on climate change and I trust that this council will again unite in supporting this motion to ensure the quality of life for future generations of this city is secured.”
The motion submitted to Council
This Council notes that:
Exeter City Council (ECC) declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and committed to becoming Net Zero Carbon by 2030, recognising the scale and urgency of the global challenge from climate change following the IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report published in October 2018.
To contribute to achieving its net zero objectives Exeter City Council has:
- Adopted a Net Zero Carbon Roadmap in conjunction with Exeter City Futures to achieve net zero carbon targets.
- Secured £1.6 million of European Development Funding to install a solar farm and battery storage on waste ground close to the Council’s depot.
- In the past year, delivered the following carbon saving measures:-
- Financial savings of £630,000
- Energy savings of 2,300,050 kWh
- Carbon savings of 550 tonnes
- Added 21 new 3- and 4- bedroomed homes built to Passivhaus standards.
- Commissioned the building of St Sidwell’s Point – the UK’s first leisure centre to be built to Passivhaus standards.
- Started the roll-out of the retrofitting of all 4,000+ council housing to our super energy efficient standards.
Demonstrated its commitment to protecting the environment and greening the city by:
- Consulting residents on the creation of a city-wide Tree Strategy.
- Implementing an ambitious tree-planting programme including 2,000 trees on the Monkerton Ridgeline, and a new woodland of
- 300 trees off Lancelot Road.
- Encouraging biodiversity through wildflower planting and naturalising grass areas, and a phased reduction in the use of glyphosate weed-killer.
This Council believes that:
- Exeter City Council has shown, through its net zero carbon achievements, tree-planting and green-spaces activities, its commitment to contributing to achieving its net zero carbon and ecological objectives.
- We all have a responsibility, both individually and collectively, to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and ecological decline.
- Local Authorities are well-placed to initiate the changes that can contribute to the mitigation of the harm caused, by continuing to set ambitious
targets to address the Climate and Ecological emergency.
- The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill provides a timely evaluation and summary of the actions required by Government in order to achieve
climate and ecology objectives.
The Council resolves:
- To declare an Ecological Emergency to supplement and strengthen the Climate Change Emergency declaration of July 2019 by this Council.
- To continue to work with partners, both locally and regionally, including DCC, to achieve net zero carbon objectives, and to conserve and support the recovery of the natural environment.
- To support community consultation with respect to identifying solutions to address both climate and ecological emergencies.
- To request that our two MPs support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.