Following the declaration of a “Climate Emergency” brought to Full Council in early April of 2019 by myself and seconded by former Cllr Stephne Harrison, the formation of the CE committee happened soon after the Elections of that year.
A number of actions were discussed and despite the monumental issue of Covid19 affecting the momentum of this committee I am confident we have a solid foundation to build on going forwards with our new chair Cllr Harvey.
We made a decision early on to co-opt Anthony Rae onto the group, his many years of campaigning on environmental issues and being instrumental in policy change on a local, national and international level was invaluable to the input of the group going forward.
Initially we signed up to the Mayors Covenant - The EU Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy brings together thousands of local governments voluntarily committed to implementing EU climate and energy objectives. This needs revisiting to see how we might best get value and share resource. The Clerk and I also undertook a “carbon Audit” of the town council which we reported back to the group., some of the work we had already done in banning single use plastics and moving to paperless stood us in good stead. As we own no assets, we found we were in relatively good shape as an organization, however as we have a long-term lease of the picture house perhaps further investigation of renewables could be explored.
We arranged for all the new cohort of Councillors to undertake “Carbon Literacy” training, this was provided by the University of Manchester. Most attended this half-day long course which was invaluable in terms of understanding and articulating the challenge.
The idea for a launch “event” was mooted but was ultimately derailed by Flooding and Covid – maybe this needs exploring more thoroughly.
We have supported both the youth climate strikers with their endeavours by both providing a meeting space pre- and post-strike, with links to Calderdale and through our then Mayor Cllr Stow who showed great support for the group by joining their strike.
We have also lent support to fellow town and parish councils in Todmorden and BlackshawHead who have also declared their own Emergencies. We held a joint meeting with Todmorden sharing best practice and advising them on possible ways forward and how to best engage (this needs following up). On a personal level I attended a meeting at BlackshawHead PC and spoke about our response whilst offering closer relationships in how to best move forward together and with the local authority.
I was pleased we were allocated a decent starting budget for this year following the precept increase. I hope this can be put to good use whilst exploring other grant funding opportunities and the possibility of land or asset acquisitions through the TC. I am also thankful that grant funding applications are now looking more favourably towards sustainable projects and scrutinising their carbon footprint.
It was an honour to chair the first year and I know it will be in very safe and capable hands going forward, I will continue to support the committee as a member and will report regularly from a Local authority perspective.
All the best
Cllr Scott Patient
See more climate emergency news in the new Hebden Royd Climate Emergency section
Added: Saturday, 10 October 2020