Rutland plots fight against 'climate change'
Rutland County Council is to consider a raft of new targets, initiatives and actions to help in the global fight against climate change.
A draft Climate Change Action Motion will be presented by Coun Gordon Brown, Cabinet Member for the Environment, at Rutland’s next Full Council Meeting on Monday October 14.
A Motion is a request made by a councillor for an issue to be discussed at a council meeting and for a decision to then be made.
Coun Brown (Con-Ketton) said: “It’s clear that the impacts of climate change are causing serious damage around the world and that we need to do all we can to try and keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C. Local councils have a duty to act and cannot simply wait for national government to change its policies.
“We fully accept this important responsibility and will soon be putting forward proposals for a wide range of measures aimed at making our operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This is something that all local authorities must do if we are to help limit the effects of climate change on a global scale.”
Among the measures being put forward as part of Rutland County Council’s draft Climate Change Action Motion are commitments to:
·Make sure the Council’s activities achieve a net-zero carbon footprint before 2050
·Achieve 100% clean energy across all council functions by 2050 or earlier
·Provide a climate change impact assessment on all relevant council decisions
·Request that scrutiny panels consider the impact of climate change and the environment when reviewing council policies and strategies
·Review council activities to take account of production and consumption emissions
·Set up a Climate Change Partnership Group involving councillors, residents, young people, climate experts, businesses, and other relevant groups
·Encourage the UK government to provide the powers, resources and funding needed to help tackle climate change
In addition to the draft Climate Change Action Motion, next Monday's meeting will be asked to approve the creation of a new Task and Finish group to develop a Biodiversity Strategy for Rutland.
Biodiversity is the variety of plant and animal life within an area and is critical to the long-term health and sustainability of our natural environment. The need for a review to identify where biodiversity can be boosted in Rutland has been influenced by growing environmental concerns at a national level.
Coun Gale Waller, Chairman of Rutland County Council’s Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee, said: “Members of the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee have been keen to take a proactive approach on the issue of climate change. Having looked at the many different facets of climate change, we feel strongly that biodiversity is an area of great importance and one where Scrutiny can affect real, positive change.
“Scrutiny doesn’t just review policies and decisions that have already been made; an important part of what we do is to look ahead and be a driver of new initiatives and improvements. The Biodiversity Task and Finish Group is a good example of this and will involve input from across the Council and our local communities.”
Coun Brown added: “We are committed to protecting and enhancing biodiversity across Rutland. The Council currently maintains about 65km of protected verges along our highway network, either as ‘local wildlife sites’ or Sites of Specific Scientific Interest.
“We’re also aware that our approach to grounds maintenance along other highway verges, at sites like closed churchyards and around public open spaces are an opportunity to further enhance Rutland’s biodiversity.
“The Task and Finish Group will gather information from the latest available research, recognised experts and interested groups before putting forward a detailed report which summarises its findings and recommends where changes could have a positive impact.”
If approved, the review is expected to take no more than four months, with the aim of delivering a final report in early 2020.
The frequency and timing of meetings to inform the development of the report would be decided by the Task and Finish Group at its first meeting.
For more information about Rutland’s draft Climate Change Action Motion, or to view the terms of reference for the proposed Biodiversity Task and Finish Group, look at the Agenda and Reports for Full Council on Monday October 14 on the website: www.rutland.gov.uk/meetings.