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Climate change task force in West Suffolk set for approval

PUBLISHED: 08:04 21 July 2019

Work on a climate change task force will progress at West Suffolk Council. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Work on a climate change task force will progress at West Suffolk Council. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Work on a dedicated task force to look at climate change measures in West Suffolk is set to take a step forward this week.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said the work needed to be more than words. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMIWest Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said the work needed to be more than words. Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

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In May, West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths announced plans for an environment and climate change task force, with the scope of the group's work to be approved at cabinet this week.

It will pursue actions to make the authority carbon neutral by 2030, and consider a motion put forward at last week's full council meeting to declare a climate emergency.

Conservative leader John Griffiths said: "I think pretty well everyone can agree about the need to reduce harmful impacts on our environment and we all need to take further steps to do this.

"The task force I have proposed will make sure we continue to play our part.

"I have been very clear that this must not be just words, but must be looked at using the latest evidence so that we can take further meaningful and achievable action that will make a real difference.

"To make sure we are as effective as we can be, we have to understand what will work, what is achievable, how much it will cost and how soon we can implement it.

"This affects everyone which is why the task force will be cross party and report to cabinet so their findings can be looked at as quickly as possible."

It is anticipated that the group's first report will return to cabinet in the autumn, with another update expected early in 2020.

The Labour group at West Suffolk last week put forward a motion to full council to declare a climate emergency, but raised issues that it was not debated in public.

According to the council, all motions go to the relevant committees for debate.

Labour councillor Cliff Waterman, who seconded the motion, said: "I think everyone was geared up for an interesting debate but they just announced this procedural rule that it had to be kicked off to another committee.

"We don't know at this stage if that will be in public, we don't know what the conditions [of that committee] will be, we don't know how decisions will be made.

"This motion was a very concrete motion to commit the council to do something about the climate emergency.

"It was a complete trampling over of democracy - we could have had a really good and interesting debate on a motion we can all get behind."

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