Councils to consider ‘climate emergency’ motions

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Friday, May 10th, 2019 12:23am

By Saul Cooke-Black - Local Democracy Reporter

Two councils in Gwent are set to consider declaring a ‘climate emergency’ next week.

Councillors in Monmouthshire and Caerphilly will consider motions which would commit the authorities to reducing their carbon emissions to zero by 2030.

The motion to be considered in Monmouthshire will go before a full meeting of the council on Thursday.

Put forward by councillor Jo Watkins, it would commit the council to developing a strategy and costed plans to help reduce carbon emissions “as soon as practicable.”

The plans could include increasing electric vehicle charging points and working with businesses and organisations to develop new initiatives to help limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees C.

Scientists have warned any further rise in the next 12 years would significantly increase the risks of floods, drought and extreme temperatures.

Cllr Watkins said climate change needs to be at the “top of everyone’s agenda.”

“The idea that we have only got 12 years left (to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C) to make a difference is deeply worrying,” she said.

“First and foremost I am a mother. I have an 11-year-old and a six-year-old and I want them to have a future as I do for everyone.”

The Liberal Democrat councillor said she hopes there will be cross party support for the motion.

Phil Powell, from Monmouthshire Community Climate Champions and Gwent Energy CIC, also welcomed the motion.

“We hope we can work with the council on things that can be self-funding and done in a way that does not cost the council money,” Mr Powell said.

In Caerphilly a cross party motion on the issue will be considered by the council’s environment and sustainability scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

It would commit the council to developing a clear energy plan within 12 months towards being zero carbon.

The authority would also work with Cardiff Capital Region City Deal partners to develop opportunities to deliver carbon savings and take advantage of the wider benefits of a green economy.

The motion also calls on Welsh and UK governments to provide necessary support.

Recently the Welsh Government declared a ‘climate emergency’ in Wales, in a bid to trigger “a wave of action at home and internationally.”

Political opponents have given it a cautious welcome, but warned against “empty pledges”, with Plaid Cymru insisting the M4 relief road plan must be scrapped if the declaration is to be meaningful.

Monmouthshire council has also previously voiced its support for building the relief road.

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