Go-ahead given for new climate friendly measures at two Suffolk councils
PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 July 2020
More electric vehicle charging points and increased tree planting are among the green measures two Suffolk councils have agreed to pursue as part of a pledge to become carbon neutral in a decade.
A joint cabinet meeting of Babergh and Mid Suffolk council cabinets on Monday approved a raft of measures the two authorities will pursue, following the declaration of a climate emergency last year.
Among the headline measures are:
• Exploration of council-owned or controlled commercial estates for battery storage or solar ports
• Green tariff energy plans with leisure providers
• Moving from diesel-powered refuse trucks to greener alternatives
• Creating an electric vehicle charging plan to increase the number of EV charge points
• Pursuing digital-first methods of working to reduce paper use and staff mileage
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• Increased tree and hedge planting
• Ensuring council housing utilises environmentally friendly measures
• Improve sustainable infrastructure with partner organisations such as the county council.
Babergh’s Conservative cabinet member for environment, Elizabeth Malvisi, said: “These actions form the plan of how we will tackle the environment and climate change challenge, they demonstrate our commitment to working together with partners towards making Suffolk the greenest county.”
Councillor Jessica Fleming, Conservative cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk, said: “I’m delighted we’ve approved our blueprint, which is the outcome of cross-party collaboration at both councils to look at how we, along with Babergh, aim to meet our 2030 carbon neutral ambitions.”
Mid Suffolk’s opposition Green group welcomed the efforts agreed at the meeting, but said measures did not go far enough to meet the council’s ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030.
Among the additional pledges the group called for were withdrawing pension investment funds from fossil fuel companies, and forming a citizens assembly to actively involve the public.
Group leader Rachel Eburne said: “Cabinet members have misunderstood the purpose of a citizen’s assembly. In this context, it would bring together a group of people, chosen at random to reflect the wider population, to learn about, discuss and make recommendations on tackling climate change in the district. It is not about taking decisions away from the council.”
Green councillor Dr Dan Pratt, added: “The administration ignored the evidence on the role of fossil fuel companies in their commitment to renewables. These companies commit a tiny fraction of their investment in renewables compared to developing future fossil fuel projects. Investing in fossil fuel companies is effectively opting for more climate change.”
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