Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council might call a climate emergency next week
PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 10 June 2019
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has been urged to declare a climate emergency.
The climate motion, as set out by Lib Dem Cllr Helen Quenet, would require the council to note the scientific evidence for man-made climate change and the harmful effect that it has "on our lives, natural habitats and eco-systems."
With this in mind the council would then declare a climate emergency, create a strategy and action plan by the end of 2019 to make Welwyn Hatfield carbon neutral by 2030 and then use all means at the council's disposal to further this goal.
"We would reach some of this, as most council's plan, by planting more trees," said Cllr Quenet.
Under the plan, if approved, WHBC would also ask the central government to provide support and resources to make sure the council can deliver on its action plan.
Both the leader of the Labour Party, Cllr Kieran Thorpe, and leader of the Conservative Party, Cllr Tony Kingsbury, have told the Welwyn Hatfield Times they need to look further in detail at the motion before they give their agreement.
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Regarding if Cllr Kingsbury will attend, he said "I will be, and expect most councillors will, apart from those with previous commitments, as this meeting was unplanned and called at short notice."
He added that the climate emergency declaration could have been raised at a full council meeting in July "saving councillors and officers time and not introducing an additional carbon footprint for the evening".
"Labour has always stood up for the environment here in Welwyn Hatfield, from encouraging much higher levels of tree replanting than in being done, to leading the fight against the decision to reduce recycling in the borough and to even charge people for doing so," Cllr Thorpe said.
"I look forward to this meeting and making Welwyn Hatfield a council that takes climate change and environmental issues more seriously than it has previously."
The Welwyn Hatfield area reduced CO2 emissions by 6.1 per cent between 2015 and 2016 and Cllr Kingbury said WHBC is trying to make more climate-aware decisions.
"And [we] have initiatives such as an electric car scheme and properties fitted with photovoltaic cells. We can, of course, always look to do more."
The meeting is planned for June 19 in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, WGC.