Uttlesford councillors vote to declare climate emergency

Councillor Christian Criscione and Councillor Louise Pepper. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED

Councillor Christian Criscione and Councillor Louise Pepper. Pictures: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council has declared a climate emergency and committed to achieve net-zero carbon status by 2030.

Councillors voted at a meeting of full council on Tuesday night to declare the emergency and pledged themselves to protecting and enhancing bio-diversity through a raft of measures.

Those measures will see the council establish an energy and climate change working group, lobby Government for funding, and produce a plan of action on climate change that is "realistic, measurable, and deliverable".

The council has also said that "significant progress" will have to be made to deliver the plan by 2023.

The motion to declare an emergency was put forward by councillors Christian Criscione, Barbara Light, Louise Pepper, and Mike Tayler.

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Residents for Uttlesford's (R4U) Cllr Pepper, said: "Time is running out. The signs are already there. We are facing a climate and ecological emergency with limited time to act.

"Just last year, the International Panel on Climate Change reported that in order to keep the global rise in temperatures below 1.5c this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030.

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"This is a man made disaster on a global scale. This must be treated with the utmost urgency."

Cllr Tayler said: "I believe the most important feature of this motion is that, since its inception, it has been collaborative. I am very pleased as a member of the Liberal Democrat party to work with members of R4U and the Conservative Party as joint authors of this motion.

Cllr Criscione added: "This is a [motion] I hope will make waves across the county and perhaps even further afield, and one which I hope will bring the realities of this very real and existential crisis to the fore, particularly for the many who have the power within their own lives and communities to enact change."

However, Councillor Alan Storah, R4U member for the Sampfords, said: "I looked at various documentaries, various interviews, and I read one or two articles and what I found, to my satisfaction, was that there was no hard, unequivocal evidence that man's carbon dioxide emissions have influenced climate, despite it being accepted wisdom.

"I know that Government departments exist on it, loads of people are in jobs in industries built up on it, but I wanted confirmation. The case seemed to me, from what I could ascertain, to be no more than supposition."

Cllr Storah abstained on the motion, with remaining council members voting in favour.

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