12:25PM, Thursday 02 September 2021
Environment campaigners are urging residents to push the Royal Borough on climate issues in the council’s new corporate plan.
Residents have been urged to fill in their response to the council’s plan, which is under consultation until Sunday, September 12.
A spokeman for the council said: “A corporate plan is key as it will direct, during the next five years, the council’s energies on those issues in the Royal Borough that must be improved for residents, communities, and businesses.
“It is an essential component of good governance as it sets out, at the highest level, the council’s strategic direction and focus.”
However, concerns have been raised over the corporate plan, with Fiona Hewer, chair of Wild Maidenhead and part of the RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition, questioning the lack of a mention of the council’s climate emergency in the consultation.
“If like Wild Maidenhead you believe that the long-term decline in 40 per cent of UK wildlife is a serious problem that needs high priority local action, please help by letting our elected representatives know through the council’s online survey,” she said.
Ms Hewer also shared a guide as to how residents could respond if they wanted to share their concerns over the council’s response to the climate emergency in the draft plan framework.
It urges residents to use the ‘free text’ response in the consultation to call for more commitment.
It is not the first time that the corporate plan has come under fire over its response to climate change.
At a cabinet meeting in July, Cllr Wisdom da Costa (WWRA, Clewer and Dedworth West) said: “You [Cllr Andrew Johnson, leader of the council] say that it is evidence-led, but it’s really ignoring climate change dangers that we’re starting to face and the need to protect residents and our infrastructure from the extremes of weather that are currently predicted by the Met Office,” said Cllr da Costa.
“This is akin to evidence; this is what’s going to happen in the next few years. We’re starting to see it happen and, if the evidence is there, we must include it.”
In response, Cllr Johnson said: “I would draw your attention to the very final statement of the draft plan framework which is ‘promote awareness of a clean, sustainable, and biodiverse environment in every decision we make’.
“That is the top-line statement.”
In response to the concerns, Cllr Stimson said: “We go to consultation so that we can get comments from residents, so it’s great that Wild Maidenhead has come forward with their views.”
Cllr Stimson also confirmed that the council was ‘quite close’ to announcing a climate strategy which would involve ‘a lot more’ involvement from businesses and residents.
Visit rbwmtogether.rbwm.gov.uk/rbwm-corporate-plan-consultation to take part in the consultation.
A new Christmas light trail will open up at Windsor Great Park in November run by the same events company behind Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.