Lincolnshire County Councillors reject climate emergency call

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Lincolnshire county councillors rejected a call to declare a climate emergency, but made a commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

A motion tabled by the Labour opposition group at a meeting yesterday (Friday) called on the council to commit the authority to being carbon neutral by 2030.

But, the authority turned down the motion and passed an amendment noting the declaration of a climate emergency and a new target date.

The council said it “recognised” there is a climate problem, but stopped short of declaring an emergency.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners said the move was “not good enough”.

Councillor Rob Parker, leader of the Labour group, said he was “disappointed” with the result, but added that the amended target was “better than nothing”.

“Before we started, we didn’t have the same interest as has been demonstrated in the council chamber,” he said.

“We know that this is a matter of great public interest, only yesterday the University of Lincoln declared a climate emergency because it was in the interests of their staff and students.”

He added that the matter is now on the “agenda” of the county council.

Council leader Martin Hill said the council was taking a “pragmatic” approach to tackling climate change which includes adopting a carbon management plan.

“We understand that there are people declaring a climate emergency, but if you declare an emergency then that means that all your spare resources will go into climate change,” he said.

“Consistent with our target of 2050, we are saying that we note that there is a climate emergency and a climate issue and that we are doing everything reasonable to make sure we tackle that.

“What we are not prepared to do is to not look after those people in rural areas, we have a duty to provide rural services and look after people across rural areas of Lincolnshire.”

Around 59 councils across the country have declared a climate emergency and adopted policies to reduce carbon emissions.

Local authorities including Cornwall, Devon and Durham have so far made the declaration.

Simon Clark, an Extinction Rebellion Lincolnshire campaigner who was in the public gallery, said he was disappointed with the authority.

“We are in an emergency and we need a commitment to faster action which they have not committed to and it’s very disappointing” he said.

Meanwhile, campaigner Rosemary Robinson said the the council needed to “put its money where its mouth is”.

“They need to start doing more than what they have been doing in the past,” she said.

“They’ve got to really take this seriously.”

But the county council said it has already delivered two carbon management plans which reduced its carbon footprint.

It added that the council has reduced its emissions by 40% since 2005.

The authority adopted another strategy to cut emissions by a further 20% and save £12 million last month.