East Herts is latest council to declare a ‘climate emergency’

East Herts councillors have voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency, with new commitments to reduce its carbon footprint to an “absolute minimum” by 2027.

As part of the declaration, by 2027 the council also must have a clear plan in place to run with net zero carbon emissions.

The plans for reaching this point include replacing the council’s fleet of diesel vehicles with electric vehicles, reducing business mileage and upgrading the energy efficiency of its buildings. The remaining emissions reductions will be carried out through offsetting.

At the May local election the Greens took 19 out of 50 seats to become the largest group in the council, and in coalition with the Lib Dems took over from the Conservatives.

Executive member for sustainability, councillor Tim Hoskin said: “We are pleased to have Full Council’s support for this motion, acknowledging the urgent nature of the climate crisis”

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“We have committed to greater transparency and openness in our journey towards achieving net zero and we look forward to hosting a public meeting where residents and businesses can engage with us, share their ideas and collectively shape our path to a more sustainable future”.

The Green run Brighton and Hove council, which contains the constituency of Brighton Pavillion which was the first to have  Green Party MP, declared a climate and biodiversity emergency back in 2018 and has commitments to become carbon neutral as a city by 2030.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, 28 London boroughs also declared climate emergencies, Tower Hamlets was one of the first to declare one and shared commitments to become a net zero carbon council by 2025, and a net zero carbon borough by 2045 or sooner.

Neighbouring Hackney also declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has worked to encourage cycling and has spearheaded low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).

However, many councils in the country still do not have a climate change policy plan – the Climate Emergency Scorecard developed in 2021 has aimed to encourage more councils to adopt policies.

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