Councillors have approved an action plan to tackle climate change with the aim of making the district carbon neutral by 2030.
The ‘Roadmap to 2030’ was agreed by the Cabinet last Monday and follows the council’s declaration of a climate emergency last summer.
Green measures within the action plan include investigating ways of making all licensed taxis electric, ultra-low or zero emission vehicles by 2030, developing a program to improve home insulation in the district and appointing a dedicated climate change officer at the council.
Other measures include holding an annual climate summit in the town, creating a district-wide tree planting scheme and helping residents to install renewable energy improvements such a solar panels through a bulk-buy scheme.
Cllr Tony Jefferson, leader of Stratford District Council, said: “I think this is a very ambitious plan and rightly so, global warming is one of the biggest challenges we face. Both mitigation and adaptation will have to be considered as we move forward. I am fully aware of the impact global warming will have coming down the track, it think its impact will be greater and will arrive sooner than most people expect.”
In front of an audience of climate campaigners, members voted to adopt the plan, though there was some disagreement over the formation of a Cabinet Climate Change Panel to advise members of the Cabinet on its climate change response.
Those against the idea argued that such a panel would be less open to scrutiny and could exclude a wider range of views on climate change.
A decision on the action plan was originally expected to be made at last month’s Cabinet meeting, but was than postponed until March to allow members to consider its recommendations.
Following January’s meeting climate change activists accused the council of kicking the can down the road, but the authority then decided to reschedule its decision to Monday’s meeting, putting to bed such fears.
David Passingham, of the Stratford Green Party, said: “I’m very pleased that they are taking this seriously and that members understand the urgency of the situation. There are some areas that need a bit more work such as looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions from traffic, it’s probably the most difficult area to tackle in which the council has some control over.”
Stephen Norrie, chair of Stratford Climate Action, said: “We’re very pleased with the work the task and finish group has done on this. I think this plan is a very positive start but it doesn’t go far enough yet, for instance it doesn’t look at traffic which is a major contributor to emissions in the district.”
Stratford environmental campaigner Peter Chaddock added: “Although I still don’t understand exactly why the 14 previously “agreed in principle” measures were not given the go-ahead at the previous cabinet meeting in January, especially as some of them have a target for completion by this spring (2020), I have to say that I am pleased with the result of the meeting.
“I think that, potentially, all the recommendations have merit, they have now to be translated into effective and meaningful actions that make relevant contributions towards meeting the target of being ‘net-zero’ by 2030.
“What we do this year is absolutely critical if we are to stand any chance of keeping global warming below 1.5°C; So we must remain on our guard to ensure that genuine progress is made and no further unnecessary delays are introduced.”