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Stratford District Council hits back at claims of inaction over tackling climate change





Too little is being done by Stratford District Council to tackle climate change almost two years on from the authority declaring a climate emergency- according to campaigners.

Stratford District Council (45064098)
Stratford District Council (45064098)

Following a recent meeting of the district council’s Climate Change Panel, set up in the wake of the climate emergency declaration in July 2019, the Herald received comments from some climate change activists claiming that frustratingly little progress has been made since.

The declaration in 2019 followed high profile protests from thousands of schoolchildren, who took to the streets of Stratford calling for more focus on cutting carbon emissions.

last week district council leader Tony Jefferson hit back at the claims of council inaction, saying the authority was still committed to tackling climate change, but the pandemic and its impact on council finances has been a focus of attention over the past year.

Stratford environmental campaigner Peter Chaddock, said: “It’s been two years since the schools strike in Stratford, since a climate emergency was declared, but what has happened since? There will say things like they’re making progress with the waste contract, but as far as I’m concerned nothing additional has happened because of the climate emergency declaration.

“If an alien were to land in Stratford tomorrow, there is nothing that would make them think we were facing a climate emergency, but we are in an emergency situation, we’re talking about the future habitability of our planet. I would have liked to have seen the district council communicate with residents that we are facing a climate emergency, to stress that the situation is urgent, but they have not done so, it’s only really the campaigners who know that a climate emergency has been declared.

“There are things that the council can do, for example they could only allow permits for ice cream vans on the Rec if they are electric, but every time I approach the council I’m always told the same thing ‘these things take time’. Stratford District Council have their hands on the wheel, but they are driving us off a cliff.

“To me tackling climate change seems to have dropped to the bottom of the queue for priorities because of Covid 19.”

Stephen Norrie, of Stratford Climate Action, was a little less critical of Stratford District Council, simply saying: “I think there are signs after the last meeting that we are moving forward on the right road, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Responding to the criticisms, Cllr Jefferson said: “It would be easy to spend money on some headline grabbing initiatives, but it takes time to develop evidenced climate policy that has been properly thought through.

“The Climate Emergency is still an important priority for the District Council and is a focus for the Core Strategy review, but during the last year we have been focusing on the pandemic and the consequent economic and budget crisis, which have somewhat focused attention.

“The initiative we have taken to potentially merge with Warwick, that would enable much greater financial sustainability over the medium to long term, has also taken a considerable amount of time and effort. Life would be much easier if we could focus on just one issue.

“The reality is that we have to deal with multiple issues not all under our own control. Please be assured that Stratford-on-Avon District Council has not lost interest in Climate Change but rather it is committed to finding the right solutions for our residents.”

The council pointed to the ongoing development of the council’s Climate Action Plan, and the Local Plan for South Warwickshire, which will include environmental standards on new developments, as examples where progress is being made.



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