A presentation on the development of the Draft Climate Change Strategy.
The committee received a detailed presentation on how the County Council intended to respond to the County Climate Change Emergency announced at the Full Council meeting on 15 May 2019, and the steps being taken to revise and strengthen the Gloucestershire Climate Change Strategy over the next 5 years.
A motion agreed by Full Council in May 2019 required the council to i) reduce corporate carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2030, (with the remaining being offset to constitute a “net zero” organisation); ii) deliver a carbon neutral county by 2050, and iii) work with partners to identify the measures needed to deliver a stepped target of 80% carbon reduction by 2030.
The Committee noted examples of the many energy-efficient changes the Council had made to date, including completion of a £13.7m programme of LED street lighting across the County. It was reported that, since publication of baseline figures for 2006/07, the County Council had reduced its CO2 emissions from 26,820 (tonnes) to 12,060.
Members attention was drawn to the public engagement that had been undertaken over the summer months, including seeking input from the public and from local communities on the changes they wished to considered to address Climate Change, and how the County Council could support such changes.
At a Climate Change Summit held on 21 May 2019, it had been agreed to set up a Youth Climate Panel, (represented by young people aged between 16 and 25, with 5 representatives from each district). Recruitment to the Panel would be made throughout September 2019. The purpose of the panel would be to provide young people with an opportunity to influence and raise awareness on how the county as a whole can respond to the climate emergency. The Panel to provide young people with an insight on how Leadership Gloucestershire organisations intended to tackle climate change and to give input into the Climate Change Strategy.
Several members referred to the varying levels of work being undertaken at district/borough councils and expressed concern that the work proposed at this meeting could be at risk of being duplicated. Consideration of whether the issue was a matter for discussion by the Joint Committee or by Leadership Gloucestershire was also questioned. Acknowledging the need for cross over work, (involving external agencies and outside bodies), the committee also stressed the need for everyone to work together to address the climate change emergency, with Leadership Gloucestershire recognised as the vehicle for progression. Noting the impact of climate change on the work of the LEP and on local growth strategies and spatial plans, it was agreed the Joint Committee provided an appropriate forum for reviewing progress going forward. One member highlighted the need for large scale tree planting and this was noted.
Officers advised the committee that approval of the revised Climate Change Strategy would be made at the County Council Cabinet meeting on 13 November 2019. (This has since changed and the decision will now be considered by Cabinet on 20 December 2019). Formal adoption of the Strategy to be made by Leadership Gloucestershire.