To receive a presentation from the Lead Member for Climate Change.
Councillor Hames, Lead Member for Climate Change, gave a slide presentation, following which there was a question and answer session.
The slide presentation highlighted the following:
· The Climate Emergency Response – Members were advised on the progress of the Council’s own Climate Emergency Response Project and will be asked to approve that TDC sign up to the Devon County Climate Declaration.
· Devon County Council Climate Emergency Declaration – a declaration in February 2019 committed DCC to carbon neutrality by 2050. In October 2019 this target had changed to 2030 and the Carbon Plan to be expanded to include biodiversity.
· County Structure – this included a Net Zero Task Force consisting of 14 members with expertise in topics relevant to carbon reduction and Chaired by a leading climate expert – Professor Devine-Wright. Emphasis was put on the importance for TDC’s Plan and action to complement and support the County Carbon Plan whilst ensuring that efforts are not duplicated.
· TDC declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 – to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Goal – to develop for approval an updated Carbon Plan for Torridge by the end of the financial year.
· Devon Climate Declaration – prepared by a consortium of public, private and voluntary organisations collaborating through a Devon Climate Emergency Response Group. Individually a review (within six months) will be undertaken of the plans to reduce the organisation’s carbon emissions to meet or exceed targets, including ensuring those we carry out business with are doing the same. A report of carbon emissions to be published annually.
Councillor Craigie referred to her previous amendment to have a Councillor Climate Change Working Group to ensure that a wide range of what can be done in the area is looked at. Despite a vote having been taken for a Working Group to be set up, this had not happened.
Councillor James advised that the Climate Change Working Group was for Officers to build up a programme of what to look at and then to open up to a wider Working Group. Natural England have agreed for their Officers to continue the work on biodiversity and will submit a report in due course.
The Leader, Councillor Dart, explained the Authority had signed up to be part of a pioneering project via the Local Plan Working Group because of joint working with ND Council.
Councillor James explained Officers are now preparing Supplemental Planning Documents which includes biodiversity.
The Planning and Economy Manager responded to an enquiry raised by Councillor Christie regarding the Local Plan which did not allow permission to be granted for wind turbines. Following a proposal by Councillor Bushby to vote to make changes to the Plan at the meeting, the Head of Paid Service explained that a decision cannot be made at the meeting and reminded Council it had been a Member decision not to include wind turbines/Energy Policy in the Local Plan. The Local Plan had been approved by the Planning Inspectorate and any changes would again need to be submitted for approval and adoption.
It was proposed by Councillor Hames, seconded by Councillor Christie and –
That Torridge District Council sign up to the Devon County Climate Declaration be approved, and a Councillor Climate Change Working Group be established.
(Vote: For 26, Against 2, Abstentions 5)