Call for Solihull Council 'climate emergency' declaration from national pressure group - The Solihull Observer

Call for Solihull Council 'climate emergency' declaration from national pressure group

Solihull Editorial 17th Jul, 2019   0

A NATIONAL environmental pressure group has joined calls for Solihull Council to urgently declare a ‘climate emergency’.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has mirrored the Green Party in challenging the council to take immediate action on the climate crisis.

The pressure group last week tweeted the council, and called on it to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and to adopt more of the charity’s 33 recommendations.

It praised the authority for introducing green street lighting but said it had a long way to go.

It criticised the council for only delivering on one of the recommendations.

Other recommendations include preventing airport expansions, introducing congestion charges, improving public transport and divesting from fossil fuels.

As we reported, Solihull Green Party opposition councillors raised concerns when council leader Ian Courts spearheaded the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ last month.

They claimed it was hypocritical as he and the ruling Tory group refused to support declaring a ‘climate emergency’ proposed in a debating motion tabled by the Greens in February.

FoE has also questioned why the same standards don’t apply in Solihull.

Campaigners point to neighbouring Birmingham City Council making a declaration and committing to becoming a zero-carbon city by 2030 last month.

Friends of the Earth West Midlands coordinator Chris Crean said: “Friends of the Earth sees any organisation declaring a Climate Emergency as a first step to reduce their climate impacts.

“Friends of the Earth has developed 33 actions that local authorities can take to deliver carbon pollution reductions.

“This is not about cherry picking BUT about wholescale actions across the board – as well as regular reporting on progress so as local residents can see that the actions of the council are indeed reducing emissions.

“Solihull Council should declare a Climate Emergency NOW and put into place those actions immediately.”

Coun Courts has told us that Solihull Council is ‘aiming’ to be net carbon neutral by 2030, but would not explicitly commit to a ‘climate emergency’ declaration.

Coun Courts said: “A critical moment was reached when, following my recommendation, there was cross party agreement between the leaders of the seven metropolitan authorities within the West Midlands Combined Authority on the need to declare a climate change emergency.

“In Solihull we have been taking action for many years on a comprehensive front to minimise the environmental and health impacts of our activities.

“Examples of this are the reductions in carbon emissions as a result of our investment in energy efficiency such as street lighting.

“We have also been supporting schools to become more sustainable, plus we are actively encouraging biodiversity through our Wildlife Ways and Habitat Improvement projects.”

Solihull Council is due to discuss ‘climate emergency’ again at a meeting on November 28.

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