New com­mit­tee

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

Mem­bers of Wick­low County Coun­cil de­cided last week to set up a new ‘Cli­mate and Bio­di­ver­sity Action’ strate­gic pol­icy com­mit­tee.

Green Party coun­cil­lor Steven Matthews pro­posed its for­ma­tion. ‘Last month Wick­low County Coun­cil was the first coun­cil in Ire­land to de­clare a cli­mate emer­gency and bio­di­ver­sity emer­gency,’ he said. ‘We were pub­li­cised far and wide for tak­ing such a bold step and recog­nis­ing the emer­gency.

‘We took the first step. The way to take action is to em­power coun­cil­lors to be able to draft pol­icy that en­ables us to take action,’ he said. ‘The cit­i­zens assem­bly on cli­mate action rec­om­mended that there should be SPCs to tackle bio­di­ver­sity. Dublin City Coun­cil re­cently ap­proved such a com­mit­tee. We are em­pow­ered to cre­ate such a com­mit­tee. We led on this, now we should be the ones to set the ex­am­ple by cre­at­ing this.’

Cllr Tom For­tune sec­onded Cllr Matthews’ pro­posal. ‘We are all aware there was a mas­sive voice na­tion­ally and lo­cally, par­tic­u­larly from our youth,’ he said. ‘I think we have to show lead­er­ship. We are elected to re­flect the mood of the elec­torate. We must ap­prove and sup­port the ini­tia­tive.’

Cllr Jennifer Whit­more said that the coun­cil needs to show lead­er­ship and show that cli­mate and bio­di­ver­sity are at the cen­tre of ev­ery­thing the coun­cil does.

Cllr Joe Be­han said that it was the de­ci­sion of the 32 mem­bers and not the of­fi­cials. ‘Are we go­ing to start by mak­ing de­ci­sions, or sit wait­ing for permission,’ said Cllr Be­han.

Cllr Lourda Scott said that this is ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial. ‘The elec­torate are con­cerned about cli­mate change and bio­di­ver­sity change. The next five years are go­ing to be critical.’

Cllr Grace McManus said that young peo­ple think that the elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives are ‘all talk and no action’.

‘This is the per­fect way to show that this is what we are go­ing to do,’ she said.

Cllr Vin­cent Blake said that all mem­bers had heard about the im­por­tance of cli­mate change when they were on the doors in re­cent months. ‘It is the young peo­ple of the next gen­er­a­tion who will suf­fer from the fail­ures of the past and maybe our fail­ures,’ he said.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive said that cli­mate change and bio­di­ver­sity are a pri­or­ity. It was dealt with within the en­vi­ron­ment SPC. He said that it is a re­serve func­tion to set up an ex­tra SPC, with terms of ref­er­ence to be drawn up.

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