Shropshire Star

Residents press council to back UK climate bill

More than 100 county residents have called on Shropshire Council to back a new law aiming to ramp up the UK’s fight against climate change.

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Councillors face calls to back UK climate bill

The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill has been supported by more than 80 MPs as well as businesses, charities and environmental groups, and the council is now being urged to add its voice.

A public question submitted to a full council meeting on Thursday asked members to consider bringing a motion in support of the bill to a future meeting.

The question was submitted by Jamie Russell and had been co-signed by 105 Shropshire residents as well as councillors Julian Dean, Roger Evans, Andy Boddington, Chris Mellings and David Vasmer.

Mr Russell said: “In summary, the bill will set an emergency path for the UK to follow in order to meet the commitments agreed to at the Paris Climate summit in 2015.

“The key objectives of the bill are ensuring that the UK plays its fair and proper role in limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C, and actively conserving the natural world.”

The motion, Mr Russell suggested, would see the council declare its support for the CEE bill and lobby the county’s MPs to back it.

But Councillor Dean Carroll, portfolio holder for climate change, said he would not support such a motion.

Councillor Carroll said: “I have read the bill in detail and I can advise that I would not be recommending council to support it at this time and in its current form.

“Whilst I support the general steer and many of the early statements there is too much about the bill that I believe to be flawed in order to support it.

“As I’m sure the supporters of this question are aware Shropshire Council has already encouraged the government to declare a climate emergency and when we declared a climate emergency as a council in May 2019 we also instructed the then chief executive to write to the secretary of state to ask them to be ambitious in their plans for carbon reduction.”

The next full council meeting is scheduled for February 2021 and it will now be down to individual members to decide whether to table the motion.

The private members’ bill, written by scientists, lawyers and activists, was tabled in the Commons in September by Green MP Caroline Lucas.

If passed, it would see the UK embark on a serious climate action plan and start measuring its full carbon footprint including overseas emissions.

Further aims include the protection of nature and a move away from the belief that technology will solve the problem, while it would also see the creation of a citizens’ assembly to work with government in addressing the climate and ecological crisis.

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