Leader takes on ‘green’ role
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.”