County council looks to strengthen its work on tackling environmental and climate change issues

Climate change protestors inside Shire Hall on Tuesday during the debate led by Cllr Steve Count. Pi

Climate change protestors inside Shire Hall on Tuesday during the debate led by Cllr Steve Count. Picture; A CARPEN - Credit: Archant

All county councillors backed a call to support national and global efforts to address environmental and climate change.

The council will also explore ways it can take direct action to address some of these issues.

The council gave unanimous support to a motion from leader Steve Count that was strengthened by additional wording from an opposition councillor.

Cllr Count said the council had a significant track record of success in this area and it was acknowledged as a national leader and he recommended steps to move further and faster.

He said the council had a responsibility as a 'caretaker' of the environment for future generations.

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"People of all ages, all walks of life and all social and economic backgrounds in Cambridgeshire are becoming increasingly concerned they will leave or inherit an environment that is irreparably damaged, forcing others to live with the consequences of the decisions we make today," he told Tuesday's meeting.

Cllr Count recommended that the council worked with partners, with the private sector and crucially with representatives of young people who had recently demonstrated their concern about the environment outside Shire Hall, to develop even more ambitious plans and use the council's significant influence locally and nationally to encourage others to do the same.

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During the meeting he agreed with Cllr Susan Van der Venn's proposal to alter his wording of the motion so its first recommendation includes the words "accepts, in line with the recent declaration by Parliament that the world is facing a climate and environment emergency.'

Cllr Count outlined the work the council was already involved with, having developed a strategy to reduce single use plastics, a corporate energy strategy which aims to reduce carbon emissions and to improve energy efficiency.

He also spoke of the investment in renewable energy to displace fossil fuels and said there were a variety of schemes to protect the natural environment and reduce the impact of waste.

The council was also promoting walking, cycling and public transport and development of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme which, through improved digitalisation, aims to reduce the need for travel and transport emissions.

As part of the motion the council unanimously agreed that officers look at all these initiatives and more, bringing together a combined single environment and climate strategy for councillors to consider within six months

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