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Friday, 14th Jun 2019

Green Councillors press for WECA to take action on Climate Emergency

After launching a Climate Emergency at Bristol Council last November, the first motion of its kind in the UK, Green Councillors are today calling on the region’s West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to recognise a climate emergency.

Two of the three members of the combined authority – Bristol and Bath & North East Somerset – have now passed ‘climate emergency’ motions resolving to take faster steps towards achieving carbon neutrality and recognising the scale of the threat posed by runaway climate change to human and animal life and wellbeing. North Somerset Council, which sits on WECA’s Joint Committee, passed a climate emergency motion in February.

Since the Green party motion passed in Bristol, over 100 UK councils, the London Assembly and Parliament itself have passed Climate Emergency motions. Clifton Down Councillor Carla Denyer, who proposed the Green motion in November, has submitted a question to the Combined Authority meeting taking place in Bath today calling for similar action.

Explaining her question, Carla said:

“I think it's about time the West of England Metro Mayor Tim Bowles declares a Climate Emergency! I have submitted the following question to the meeting this Friday:

‘Two of WECA’s three constituent Councils (Bristol and BANES) have declared a Climate Emergency and set new carbon emissions targets. North Somerset, in WECA’s Joint Committee has also done so, and South Gloucestershire is shortly to debate it too.

In line with its constituent local authorities, will WECA declare a Climate Emergency and commit the West of England to go carbon neutral by 2030?’”

Redland Councillor Martin Fodor has also submitted a statement to the meeting calling on the authority to declare a climate emergency, and bemoaned the authority’s lack of delivery despite its large pool of funding.

He said:

“Like many people I’m frustrated at the way WECA has been accumulating funds with little useful to show for it. Here’s an urgent issue and we can’t wait any longer for action. I really want to know when the climate emergency will be recognised by WECA and when it will start to rewrite its plans and develop a detailed strategy to prepare climate-proofing projects we need and revising its spending plans? People are getting impatient with reports about doing more reports on possible strategy before there’s even a strategy!

“Already two of the three authorities in WECA have declared a climate emergency, and South Gloucestershire is drafting a motion on the same subject. In addition North Somerset is also an authority that has declared it recognises the emergency. So almost all of the local authorities have shown they support a change of direction from the business as usual which is causing the climate breakdown. Meanwhile WECA just plods along doing nothing of substance but building roads and supporting the fossil driven economy of the past.

“So when will WECA recognise the climate emergency and start to prepare real plans to do its bit?”

The WECA Committee meeting takes place at 2pm today (Friday 14th June) at the Guildhall in Bath.

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