Leader takes on ‘green’ role

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @ETADAMU

COUN­CIL leader Marco Cer­este has in­sisted that tak­ing on the re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal in the city means “more work, not more power”.

The Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil chief has said that as its leader: “I al­ready have all the power,” fol­low­ing crit­i­cism over his decision to add the en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal port­fo­lio to his strate­gic growth cab­i­net po­si­tion and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as leader.

Lib­eral Demo­crat leader Nick Sand­ford pointed out at the an­nual coun­cil meet­ing that Cllr Cer­este now has 23 dif­fer­ent re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on the coun­cil, while Labour’s Nazim Khan said the leader has missed an op­por­tu­nity to bring some new blood into his cab­i­net.

Cllr Cer­este took on en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties from for­mer coun­cil­lor Sa­man­tha Dal­ton, who de­cided not to stand at this year’s elec­tions.

He said the decision was taken as the port­fo­lio works hand in hand with his strate­gic growth re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

He said: “I don’t think Nick Sand­ford un­der­stands how the coun­cil works, as within the coun­cil I al­ready have all the power.

“Ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion I have all the power and I del­e­gate GREEN EX­AM­PLE: Cllr Marco Cer­este it out to ev­ery­one else.

“I can­not take on any more power than I al­ready have, what I have done in this in­stance is taken on a lot more work.

“En­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal is ex­tremely im­por­tant and it goes hand in hand with the busi­ness com­mu­nity and as I al­ready have the busi­ness port­fo­lio I thought it made sense to put these to­gether and give it more weight.”

When asked by the ET why he felt he was the best per­son to take on en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal, he said: “I would not tell the press why I think I’m the best man for the job.”

He said lead by ex­am­ple and is con­sid­er­ing con­vert­ing to an elec­tric car, al­beit he will not be tak­ing up an of­fer of buy­ing an elec­tric Range Rover hav­ing been quoted a price of £160,000.

Cllr Cer­este added: “I’m cer­tainly look­ing at get­ting an elec­tric car, I might even buy a scooter!

“I’ll look to set an ex­am­ple for the rest of the city, I al­ways use public trans­port where I can.

“I think we need to up our game on en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal, fol­low­ing on from the su­perb job Sa­man­tha Dal­ton did last year.

“I want to build on the idea of hold­ing in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ences, de­liver the en­vi­ro­men­tal agenda in the city and pro­mote re­new­able en­ergy use to the ex­tent that Peter­bor­ough is self sus­tain­ing.”

Cllr Cer­este will be ad­vised on en­vi­ron­ment cap­i­tal by Cllr Nigel North, who was given a cab­i­net ad­viser po­si­tion by Cllr Cer­este on Wed­nes­day.

Cllr Sand­ford told the meet­ing that he felt that the cab­i­net of nine mem­bers and three ad­vis­ers was too large for a city of Peter­bor­ough’s size, a feel­ing echoed pre­vi­ously by the Peter­bor­ough In­de­pen­dents Forum.

Cllr Sand­ford added: “Marco Cer­este has stated that he be­lieves in the growth of Peter­bor­ough, but what we have seen by these del­e­ga­tions that he be­lieves in the growth of his own per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Cllr Khan also said: “He has missed the op­por­tu­nity to re­vi­talise our city by bring­ing in the new blood it needs.”

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