Slough Express

Climate: ‘greater urgency’ needed

Borough: Pressure group criticises council’s progress

- By Shay Bottomley shayb@baylismedi­ @ShayB_BM

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 sustainabi­

 ?? ?? The RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition staged several demonstrat­ions urging the council to declare a climate emergency in 2019. Ref:131172-3
The RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition staged several demonstrat­ions urging the council to declare a climate emergency in 2019. Ref:131172-3

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