EHDC climate emergency debate

On July 18th East Hampshire District Council was due to debate a motion tabled by the Lib Dem Ginny Boxall and support by all the Lib Dem, Labour and Independent councillors declaring a climate emergency 
The majority Tories sabotaged it using a sly procedural trick. They submitted an “amendment” (it reality a completely new motion) that retained just the first paragraph of Ginny’s original motion. It removed all targets and any onus on the council to do anything about a climate emergency.
Read to full text of the two motions below.
 
Ginny Boxall’s motion – properly laid 10 days in advance of the debate:
 
Motion proposed by Cllr Ginny Boxall and seconded by Cllr Stephen Dolan:
“That Council notes
 
1  The recent 2018 intergovernmental panel on Climate change (IPCC) report states that we have just 12 years to act on climate change if global temperatures rises are to be kept within the recommended 1.5 degrees Celsius
2  Hampshire County Council have passed a motion on climate emergency and we commend it whilst recognising that the desired outcome can only be achieved through collaboration with other local authorities, including District councils.
3  Humankind has already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world. Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre industrial levels. Atmospheric CO2levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm). We have 12 years to act to avoid widespread drought, food scarcity, heat related deaths and loss of biodiversity including insects and vital food pollinators
4  At present we are on track to overshoot the Paris agreements 1.5 degree Celsius by 2050. In order to reduce the chance of runaway global warming and limit the effects of climate breakdown, it is imperative that we as a species reduce our CO2 emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible.
5  We cannot expect individuals to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation and infrastructure to make low carbon living easier and the new norm
6  Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption. EHDC has started to make progress with its 2014-19 energy strategy but this is not enough. More can and must be done. The intergovernmental report of 2018 was clear that action is necessary from all parts of society. Local Authorities along with Government, need to be taking a lead role, creating initiatives and setting behaviour for others to follow
7  Councils around the world are responding by declaring a "Climate Emergency " and taking action to address this emergency
Local Authorities should not wait for their national Government to change policies. Bold local policies tackling climate change can deliver economic and social benefits in terms of new green jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well as much improved well-being for Hampshire residents, for example through reducing fuel poverty and energy bills , encouraging healthy active travel and community transport and improving green spaces and access to nature .
 
This Council therefore calls on the cabinet to
1  Declare a Climate Emergency.

2  Pledge to make East Hampshire District Council carbon neutral by 2030
 
3  Set up a cross party working group to include officers, councillors and key local stakeholders including schools, colleges and youth groups to provide ideas of achieving a carbon neutral East Hampshire District by 2030 and carbon Zero by 2050.
 
4  Report to Full Council within 6 months (to be made publicly available) setting out the immediate and longer-term actions that the Council will take and how it plans to measure the districts progress towards meeting the 2030 target. This report will also include a full review of the implementation and outcomes of the East Hampshire District Council Energy Strategy 2014-2019.
 
5  Work with partners and other Local Authorities across the South region to deliver these new goals of being Carbon neutral by 2030 through developing strategies and implementation plans which draw on local and national best practice where available.
 
6  To actively lobby the Government to provide the additional powers and resources needed to meet the 2030 targets.
 
7  To prioritise mitigating the impact of Climate change in an updated East Hampshire District Council Corporate Strategy.
 
8  To consider the impact and mitigation of climate change on all policy and key decision making and carrying out a green audit across the Council to ensure that this is being implemented.
 
9  To encourage plastic free alternatives and ban the use of single use plastics within all council employee premises. Implement an ethical procurement framework to ensure suppliers reduce their own carbon footprint.
 
10  To expand infrastructure for walking, cycling, and public transport and to actively promote greater use of electric vehicles.
 
oOo    oOo    oOo
 
This is the “amendment” that the Tory leader of the council Richard Millard put forward five minutes before the debate. Note the length and complexity. The opposition then have a 10 minute recess to consider it.

Amendment to Council Motion 14 to retain item 1 and delete 2-10 and replace with the text below
 
Background
 I support the intention of the Motion to draw resident’s attention to mitigating and adapting to the climate change challenge, my amendments seeks to illustrate how East Hampshire District Council can take positive and ultimately deliverable actions to ensure real improvement to the lives of our children and grandchildren.

The amendment is that: East Hampshire District Council recognises a climate emergency and is already taking urgent positive and deliverable steps to mitigate the impact of carbon emissions through a wholesale review of its Energy Strategy. The Strategy will be developed with stakeholder engagement external and internal to the Council for both contribution and consultation. It will be drafted for adoption for a Five (5) year period and will be brought to Council before the end of the 2019 calendar year for adoption. It will be subject to a Six (6) monthly review. 
 
Full Council will create the role of an Environmental Tsar/Tsarina the role to be held by a member of the opposition.
 
East Hampshire Districts Councils’ Energy Strategy is due to be reviewed this year**, offering an opportunity for the council to adopt a fresh and focussed approach with links to all EHDC Services and operations through business plans. The Energy Strategy will be the focal ‘action plan’ that provides the council with a mandate to act.
The Energy Strategy refresh will link our new strategy to deliverable objectives that target significant categories of carbon emissions, which are designated as statutory District Council responsibilities. It will identify and influence initiatives, which are the responsibility of other public bodies such as Hampshire County Council (HCC), South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), Parishes Councils, Town Councils, NHS and Schools. 
 
Opportunities.
A: Retrofit programme. This must be promoted better to our residents and we are in a prime position to do this. (Domestic residences account for approximately Twenty Four (24) % of all emissions); We must actively seek additional funding with existing partners and strive, through the creation of new opportunities to implement controllable, definable and demonstrable ways of reducing not only the councils footprint but also the districts residents and businesses as a whole.
 
B: Planning and Building Standards– Currently (residential) building regs (Part L) are mandated by our Building Control team. The (draft) Local Plan refers to 19% better than current Regs but are capped to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 by the ministerial statement.
 
C: Economic Development - Business and Agriculture (about 40% of emissions)– we will seek to incentivise and attract sustainable businesses; we will use S106 contributions for employment skills that align with the ethos of the Strategy.
 
D: Transport (in conjunction with HCC and others :- Joint working is a key element and we should be seen as a leading integrator between external partners and the wider public and educational community) for more sustainable transport and greater provision and extension of cycle paths to- and through- settlements and new planned developments (Transport accounts for approximately Twenty Three (23%) of emissions, and are not falling as fast as other sources of emissions).
 
E:  Carbon capture – As one element of this East Hampshire District Council will be implementing an exciting and far reaching Tree Planting initiative. The Council will work with the Woodland Trust, landowners and other partners to plant a tree for every citizen of the District. This will equate to 120,000 trees. The trees planted will be Natural English Species. The programme will extend into Schools across the District and be used as the basis for a specific programme of additional education to the young, which will extend into greater Biodiversity issues. We will review the Planning Process to see how we can promote and in certain circumstances mandate the use of sustainable building materials.
 
F:  Increase renewable energy generation – This will be led through Planning decisions, the Council investment portfolio, Procurement activities instigated by the Council and Energy Initiatives such as CitizEn.
 
G: Incorporate low-carbon SMART objectives in each service area within the Council: to be incorporate into Business plans which will ensure reporting is included to promote greater and more extensive internal and external communications.
 
 
Examples of EHDC new activities with Climate Change impacts
A: Investments in property portfolio- criteria to include building performance and energy EPC rating. Incorporate renewable energy and EV charge-points. Demonstrate that investments are both financially and environmentally sustainable.  Include carbon performance in reviews and demonstrate improvements over time.  Ensure that energy tariffs are 100% renewable electricity.
 
B: EHDC Own estate – energy in our own buildings is provided on a framework (Laser) contract – ensure 100% renewables when contracts are refreshed, revisit the investment of Photo Voltaic on leisure centres with SLM – (detailed feasibility reports for the Taro are available). Influence the provider to do this and benefit from lower emissions, and better financial performance
 
C: Procurement – all specifications should include low-carbon criteria, and a commitment to improving emissions.
 
D: Community – initiatives relating to food, green infrastructure, community buildings, repair and swap events and assistance with domestic energy conservation - where are these, and can the policy be focussed on delivering these alongside other priorities – for instance Free Fridays, cook together etc address wellbeing, and reduce food waste.
 
E: Communications – consider the way comms/ council tax/ (other services that use mailshots) deliver messages – move away from printed material and divert resource into addressing the digital gap. Use annual residents survey to gage impacts. Channels to engage younger people.
 
F: Parking and traffic management – Plan and implement phase 2 of Electric Vehicle charging-points and offer incentives for low-carbon transport options.
 
G: Green Infrastructure – consider management for biodiversity alongside access (retaining required lines of sight for road-users) and work with other public authorities to develop an inclusive strategy – link to the tree planning initiative.
 Influencing policy – I would establish a Cross Party Lobbying Group to work with Central Government and the Shadow Parties. This will enable joined up thinking whilst maximising the Member resource available. It will allow the Council to assess where national legislation is capping better outcomes, and address these by providing reasoned and evidenced feedback to the relevant government department.  
Stakeholder Mapping – This is a fundamental. The wealth of experience and understanding on the subject of Climate Change is substantial within the wider community of East Hampshire. Establishing a Member led working group to act, as a conduit for this knowledge and experience is key. The group will be able to assess Organisations, Public Bodies and individuals to collaborate with for ideas, delivery and funding.
 
Timeframe – The Energy Strategy will be produced by the end of the calendar year; It will be brought back to Council in November and May each year for the next 3 years. The Strategy is a living not static document and will continue to evolve and develop to ensure it remains relevant.
 
Education and involvement of younger members of society. There is not only the requirement to address the current situation, there is the need to educate and involve the young for the future. The Council and its Members have a Civic Leadership responsibility that should see them working with the Schools to a greater extent than currently to assist in motivating and educating and acting as a conduit of information on the subject of Climate Change.
 
No local authority can single-handedly deliver comprehensive action across its governmental area and that its responsibility and powers are limited to its own estate and operations whilst offering guidance and example to its residents.  Local government is committed to acting in partnership, with legislation in the hands of central government and dependent on agreements between international powers. The motion above offers a realistic and achievable set of objectives that will see results achieved. The Strategy is a living not static document and will continue to evolve and develop to ensure it remains relevant. Information is power and working in the manner suggested will maximise information flow and naturally maximise the results achieved.
 
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** This is "Energy Strategy 2014 - 2019" None, zero, zitch of it's recomendations have been implemented by the last council. A council of 44 seats of which 43 were Tory.
The amendment removes all targets and places no onus on the council to acheive anything - just like the last five years.
 

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