South Kesteven District Councillors agree £50,000 funding for officer after declaring ‘climate emergency’

Council leaders at South Kesteven District Council have agreed to set aside £50,000 to pay for advice and a new climate change officer.

The authority’s cabinet voted to declare a climate emergency at a cabinet meeting last night, however opposition councillors at the meeting felt the move did not go far enough.

Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations Councillor Dr Peter Mosely said: “This is something that’s been bubbling along for some time.

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“It dovetails in with some of the work the council is already doing with regard to the environment, for example electric vehicles.”

He argued it was not a knee-jerk reaction to action groups such as Extinction Rebellion.

“I believe it is the right time to make a statement, but also put some meaning behind that statement,” he added.

“50 years seems like a long time, but in real terms it’s not long at all.”

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As part of the declaration, the council’s leaders will call on the council as a whole to make the declaration and set a number of targets, including:

Reducing SKDC’s carbon footprint by 2030 and becoming net-zero carbon by 2050 – including its “wholly owned companies”

Taking a role in reducing that of residents, businesses and other organisations

Setting up a “Climate Change Action” task and finish group to carry out a full investigation into how the council might work towards the above and consider the latest evidence and advice, and consider any additional budget needs.

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Put aside £50,000 to “enable external advice and the recruitment of a Climate Change Officer straight away to drive forward the council’s ambition to be net-zero carbon”

Market and West Deeping ward member Councillor Ashley Baxter, however, felt the plans were “not ambitious enough”.

He wanted more money put aside and action sooner than planned, and told councillors: “Climate change is going to going to get more, and more, and more dramatic. It’s going to make Brexit look like a walk in the park.”

In Lincolnshire, the city council and North Kesteven District Council have both declared climate emergencies, while Lincolnshire County Council refused to do so.

Boston Borough Council has set up a working group to investigate the issue.