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Greens slam council’s decision not to publicise carbon reduction targets and budgets

PUBLISHED: 15:11 07 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:11 07 December 2018

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw said a target and budget for carbon reduction was as significant as Suffolk County Council's overall budget Picture: Suffolk County Council

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw said a target and budget for carbon reduction was as significant as Suffolk County Council's overall budget Picture: Suffolk County Council

Archant

Greens at Suffolk County Council have posed fresh questions on the authority’s commitment to ending climate change after a motion calling for transparent carbon reduction targets and budgets failed to gain traction.

Suffolk county councillor Richard Rout said the authority was committed to its 'Greenest County' ambition but the motion was not the way for it to set its budget Picture: ROSS BENTLEYSuffolk county councillor Richard Rout said the authority was committed to its 'Greenest County' ambition but the motion was not the way for it to set its budget Picture: ROSS BENTLEY

The Green group put forward the motion to the full council meeting on Thursday, December 6, requesting an open and transparent budget for carbon reduction to be set within next year’s budget, as well as clear targets.

But the motion was not carried after it was voted down by 38 votes to 18, with Conservatives stating that the costs would be in excess of £50,000 at a time when it needed to save money.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, Green councillor for Beccles who put forward the motion, said: “Given the significance of climate change, the plan I am proposing is as significant as the annual budget.

“You wouldn’t expect to remain in control of our budgets without a budget, and we cannot remain in control of our carbon impact without a carbon budget.”

She added: “Suffolk County Council already monitors its carbon emissions and has been seeing a year-on-year reduction in emissions since 2014.

“The problem is that this work is not in the public domain and there are no targets for us to work towards.

“Our motion simply asked the council to make this process open, transparent and accountable.

“It’s a shame the administration didn’t want to engage with us on this issue.”

Ms Brambley-Crawshaw pointed to the council’s work to reduce its output from 18,000 tonnes four years ago to 13,000 in 2018, as being broadly in line with national targets.

Labour’s Peter Gardiner supported the motion, stating that it was “in the public interest” for long term planning.

Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for environment and public protection said the council was fully committed to its ‘Greenest County’ ambition.

He added: “These council meetings all too often are becoming clumsy attempts at piecemeal budget setting.

“The cost to this council [if the motion was approved] is estimated at £50,000 per annum before you even get to the capital costs.”

He said the short time frame and expected costs meant it was “very likely unachievable” and said: “this idea is not without some merit but it’s not and should not be how we set our budgets”.

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