Central Bedfordshire Council to prioritise climate change

Central Bedfordshire Council is to prioritise climate change as a local issue
Central Bedfordshire Council is to prioritise climate change as a local issue

Central Bedfordshire Council has agreed to prioritise responding to climate change.

A proposal to develop a plan was discussed at its council meeting and received unanimous support.

Suggesting the proposal, Councillor Dixon, executive member for transformation and external relations at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Following elections, we have reflected on some of our priorities and in particular, we have created a transformation portfolio which includes responding to climate change.

“We recognise that we can, and want, to do a lot more to reduce our carbon footprint, and we want to encourage others to do so too.

“We will produce a deliverable plan, ready for roll out during 2020.

“In that plan, we aim to lead by example in our everyday practices, encouraging and supporting our residents and businesses to do likewise. We’ll also be looking to invest in programmes that support a carbon neutral Central Bedfordshire for 2030 and beyond.”

Among the projects that the council already has lined up that will help tackle climate change are innovative plans to trial pavements and cycleways that will capture solar energy and kinetic energy from people walking to power streetlights and electric road signs.

Central Bedfordshire Councillor, Victoria Harvey, said: “It is fantastic that Central Bedfordshire Council has taken this step.

“We really support Cllr Dixon’s very practical and pragmatic approach to taking climate change, especially as the roof of CBC in Chicksands has already been covered by solar panels.

“Cutting emissions means warm housing, low energy bills, much more investment in cycling, walking and buses, producing our own clean energy such as the wind turbine at Heath and Reach - rather than paying to import it - and lots of skilled jobs.

“Andrew Selous is also a great champion in the House of Commons for this practical approach to climate change, explaining that investment in cycling, as well as cutting carbon, also means people being healthier, reducing childhood obesity, reducing congestion on the roads, and also championing the low carbon affordable housing with zero energy bills built by Bill Dunster.”

The council’s climate change motion endorsed the recent climate emergency motion passed by the Local Government Association, the national voice of local councils.

Christine Sheppard and Dr Chris Brierley, of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, spoke in support of the motion.

Christine said: “Scientists say we have about 10 years before climate warming reaches ‘tipping point’ – after this temperature rise is unstoppable, whatever we do.

“We risk catastrophic consequences for humans and all species globally.”

Christine outlined the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that called on the world to “dramatically and urgently” reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

She called on the council to make its own public declaration on climate change to support public awareness of the need for action, and to set up a climate crisis forum or task force working with local groups and agencies.

Dr Brierley, associate professor in Climate Change at University College London, said: “It is not necessarily clear to the public how urgent this is.

“All the carbon emissions we have created from the past, together with current emissions through our decisions on infrastructure today, are already ‘locked in’.

“This cumulative carbon effect will have huge impact on future climate warming and the burden will be on our children to deal with this.”