Climate: ‘greater urgency’ needed
Borough: Pressure group criticises council’s progress
A climate group has criticised the council for failing to meet its agreed targets in the Environment and Climate Strategy.
At a communities overview and scrutiny panel on Tuesday last week, councillors expressed concerns over the nature of the targets – many of which were not said to be ‘measurable’ – as well as a number of targets which had been missed.
The Climate Emergency Coalition (CEC) has since criticised the paper sent to the O&S panel, which was the first report on the council’s climate strategy.
The CEC has released a 19page document assessing the council’s response to the council’s performance in relation to climate strategy.
In the document, waste recycling rates, which have increased to 50 per cent, were praised as were the ‘reorganised and strengthened’ sustainability team at the Royal Borough.
However, the issue over targets was raised once again, with further criticism of the scrutiny function following a recent Local Government Association report.
“We do not have the
luxury of fudging the evidence,” said a spokesperson for the CEC.
“We now need binary reporting: have we hit our targets – yes or no? If no, what steps are being taking to get back on track and make up for lost time ?”
They added: “The LGA Corporate Peer Challenge recommended a review of the current model of scrutiny committees but, in our view, scrutiny is not working in this council.
“However, more worrying than that is our belief that the council has actively avoided governance and scrutiny of the Environment and Climate strategy in order to hide the lack of progress.
“That isn’t leadership, and it isn’t democracy. If that is the case, it is disgraceful and cannot be allowed to happen again.”
The CEC continued to say it was ‘yet to be convinced that the council really gets the frightening severity of the climate challenge’.
A spokesperson said: “We sympathise with any organisation attempting to tackle so great a crisis, with uncertain data and other priorities facing them.
“But we know the outcome if we fail to act with far greater urgency and with much greater openness and communication with the local community.”
Cllr Donna Stimson, cabinet member for climate action and sustainability, said:
“The strategy itself is a five-year plan. Naturally, this means that not all actions have been completed and, in some cases, have yet to be started.
“While there is still work to do, excellent progress has been made on many of the actions outlined in the strategy – putting the council in a stronger position to deliver in the future and on embedding sustainability into the council’s work with the Corporate Plan highlighting action on climate change and the natural environment as a priority.”
Cllr Stimson encouraged residents to join the new Climate Partnership and register interest in becoming a member by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org