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Spelthorne Council refuses to face the reality of Climate Change

October 27, 2019 6:42 PM

Climate change world heating upAt the Council meeting on 24th October Spelthorne's Tory Councillors refused to face up to the reality of Climate Change and choose to endorse empty statements that avoided showing any leadership and preferred to deny the gravity of the current climate emergency. Two motions were put to the Council meeting which paid lip service to the current environmental situation but fell short of any real action.

Your Liberal Democrat councillors attempted to give the motions some teeth by proposing positive amendments, but these were all voted down by the Tory block vote.

Amendments were suggested by Liberal Democrat councillors in three key areas:

  1. To add a Council priority of Environmental Sustainability. This would have obliged the Council to make sure that all its policies and actions gave genuine consideration to environmental impact. The Leader claimed this would prevent the Council from building housing that is required in the borough - a complete non sequitur.
  2. The second amendment would have created a Council committee that involved all political groups in a shared commitment to promote environmental sustainability. This was rejected in favour of a "Leaders Task Group" - these groups are appointed by the Leader and don't report in public. The Tories refuse to support any activity that they cannot have total control over and don't accept that they need to engage with the whole community to work together to address Climate Change.
  3. The third amendment sought to commit the Council to attempting to become carbon-neutral by 2030 instead of the government soft target of 2050. This was rejected because it did not align with central government policy. The Tories just don't want to recognise that there is a climate emergency and that they should be demonstrating community leadership, not just supinely waiting to be told what to do. Liberal Democrats believe that Spelthorne Borough Council could become carbon neutral by 2030, or at the very least get close to it. In contrast the local Tories aren't even prepared to try.

What is the point of being a councillor if you aren't prepared to consider issues on their merits and vote accordingly? The Tory leader has consistently supported Heathrow expansion and appears to not understand the consequences that we will all experience unless we do everything we can to rapidly and radically reduce carbon emissions.

Local Liberal Democrats are committed to working to get the Council to show genuine community leadership on Climate Change and refuse to believe that we have to accept the complacency of the Tory government. Science, in the form of IPCC recommendations, should guide our actions, not passive compliance with short-term populist politicians and their policies.

Cllrs Lawrence Nichols and Kathy Grant with Extinction Rebellion

Lib Dem councillors Kathy Grant and Lawrence Nichols talking with Extinction Rebellion protesters