This matter is the responsibility of Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Councillor Peter Pilkington.
The purpose of the Strategy is to provide a strategic overview of the key issues facing Somerset and the Councils in relation to the climate emergency and our shared ambition to work towards carbon neutrality for the county of Somerset by 2030 and to provide a strategic basis for partnership working going forwards on addressing these issues together, where a shared approach would be appropriate and improve the chances of delivery.
The CNCR Action Plan sits alongside the Somerset-wide Strategy as the detail for how this Council proposes to address the specific issues, meet the goals and deliver on the outcomes that the Somerset-wide Strategy identifies.
During the discussion, the following points were raised:-
· Councillor P Pilkington, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, proposed the recommendations and Councillor D Darch seconded.
· Councillors stated that the Climate Strategy was a well-researched document with broader input from all councils within the County, which they urged Full Council to approve.
· Councillors stated that the Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan (CNCR) was a further detailed plan for the Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) area. The CNCR would be a working document that could be regularly reviewed and updated.
· Councillor D Mansell proposed the following two amendments during the debate:-
2.1) The Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy was adopted and a cross-party steering group be set-up to oversee delivery and development of the strategy, with quantified sector pathways to be established that worked towards a carbon neutral Somerset by 2030.
Proposed by Councillor Mansell and seconded by Councillor Lloyd.
2.5) A report on allocations for the £500k “Climate Change Fund” budget be taken at an early stage to Scrutiny Committee for comment.
Proposed by Councillor Mansell and seconded by Councillor Stone.
Councillors debated the amendments:-
· Concern was raised that the Working Group had been delayed several times due to the General Election in December 2019 and due to the Covid Pandemic.
· Further concern was raised that the Strategy did not highlight the urgency of the action required and that more work was required.
· Concern was raised that the section on public transport was lacking in-depth information.
· Concern was raised on the finances included in the report and further councillor involvement was requested, which was the reason recommendation 2.5 had been added.
· Councillors debated the role of the Scrutiny Committee and whether the additional recommendation 2.5 was required.
Clarification was given that there had been cross party involvement in both the Climate Strategy and the CNCR.
· The amendment was taken to the vote and recommendation 2.1 was lost and recommendation 2.5 was carried and became part of the substantive motion.
· Councillors debated the wording for recommendation 2.3.
The Assistant Director for Climate Change gave clarification that the Climate Strategy covered the county actions and the CNCR covered local actions for SWT. Amended wording was given, which the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and seconder of the motion accepted.
· Councillors agreed that lots of good work had been achieved on both documents and they thanked officers for their hard work.
Resolved that Full Council approved that:-
1) The Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy was adopted;
2) The Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan was approved;
3) A local multi agency climate emergencytask force was established to aid delivery and implementation of the Somerset wide Strategy;
4) A supplementary “Climate Change Fund” budget of £500,000 was approved within the General Fund 2020/21 Revenue Budget, funded from General Reserves, for the delivery of Somerset West and Taunton priority actions with delegated authority to the Director External Operations and Climate Change/Assistant Director Climate Change, Regulatory Services and Asset Management to agree those priority actions in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change. Council also be asked to approve the principle that any unspent balance of this Fund at the end of 2020/21 be carried forward to 2021/22 financial year; and
5) A report on allocations for the £500k “Climate Change Fund” budget be taken at an early stage to Scrutiny Committee for comment.