The climate emergency declaration
The motion to declare a climate emergency was proposed to full council on 18 February 2019 and called on the cabinet to:
- declare a ‘climate emergency’
- pledge to make Cheltenham carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
- call on Westminster to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible;
- work with other governments (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade
- continue to work with partners across the town, county and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans
- report to full council within six months with the actions the council will take to address this emergency
The motion received unanimous support and a climate emergency was officially declared by the council’s cabinet on 9 July 2019.
In declaring a climate emergency, the council joined over 300 district, county, unitary and metropolitan councils and combined authorities/city regions (as of October 2020) with similar ambitions to become carbon neutral.
Following the declaration, the council engaged a leading expert in the field of climate change and sustainability, Simon Graham, Head of Innovation at De Courcy Alexander, to develop a roadmap for eliminating Cheltenham borough’s carbon footprint. The Carbon Neutral Cheltenham report was approved by the council in autumn 2019.
The leader of the council also wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calling for:
- access to sustainable funding
- a mechanism to enable easy and timely access to government funding streams
- a favourable financial landscape which supports zero carbon investment
- devolved powers to enable the council to set standards and requirements appropriate for our area and which may exceed those expected at a national level
- the introduction of national policies to support faster local climate change action
In February 2020, the council allocated £425,000 to begin the task of meeting the climate emergency challenge.