Hertsmere set to declare climate emergency after facing environmental legal challenge

PUBLISHED: 08:27 06 September 2019

Climate emergency might be declared at Hertsmere Borough Council. Picture: Pixabay.

Climate emergency might be declared at Hertsmere Borough Council. Picture: Pixabay.

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Hertsmere Borough Council has put forward a motion to declare a climate emergency, after it faced an environmental legal challenge on Monday.

Councillor Harvey Cohen, portfolio holder for planning, welcomed the questions raised by environmental law charity ClientEarth on its draft Local Plan and climate change efforts.

"The threat to our world presented by climate change is serious and concerns us all," Cllr Cohen said.

"We're in the process of developing a new Local Plan for Hertsmere that will respond to those dangers with policies which follow the latest government guidance and advice."

Currently, HBC encourages developers to be sustainable and incorporate 'green' energy - such as wind or solar power - prevent light pollution, minimise air quality and help clear contaminated land.

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"Members will be asked to approve a motion declaring a climate emergency and committing us to net-zero emissions by 2050 at our next full council meeting later this month," Cllr Cohen added.

"We know there is always more that can be done and would welcome comments once our draft Local Plan is published next year.

"The threat to our world presented by climate change is serious and concerns us all."

ClientEarth's climate lawyer Sam Hunter Jones, who sent the notice to 105 local authorities, said: "Too often climate change is perceived to be just a national or international issue and therefore solely the responsibility of central government.

"Climate action at a local level can transform people's quality of life for the better, with clear net benefits to health, air and water quality, employment, energy affordability, community cohesion and biodiversity."

He also reminded HBC that local targets and policies on reducing emissions need to be in line with the UK's Climate Change Act. "Each and every planning decision taken today must be in line with long-term climate goals, because what and how we build today will determine our climate impact and resilience in the crucial decades to come," Hunter Jones said.

Full council will meet on Wednesday, September 18 at 7.30pm at the council offices in Elstree Way, Borehamwood, to discuss whether to declare a climate emergency.

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