02:51PM, Friday 10 May 2019
A free vote on whether the Royal Borough will declare an environment and climate emergency will be debated at full council in June.
The RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition (CEC) group has been set up and is armed with a petition calling on the council to take action against climate change.
It hopes to deliver it formally to the Royal Borough ‘in good time’ to support the declaration at the meeting next month, where a motion will be brought before councillors.
RBWM CEC is a volunteer-led group and aims to ‘ensure all current and future policies are consistent with averting further climate change’.
It adds it will support the council to put a plan in place to reduce carbon emissions in the borough to net zero by 2030.
At the time of writing, the petition had gathered over 1,000 signatures, including council leader Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) and other key cabinet members.
A total of 23 elected councillors out of 41 have signed the petition so far.
CEC member Maria Evans said: “Our group is aware that the Royal Borough cannot develop an action plan to tackle the environment and climate emergency we face until a thorough audit of our local impact has been undertaken.
“It is fair to say that four key areas will probably be highlighted in any future plan: waste, sustainable buildings, planning and transport.
“It is not just [about] declaring an emergency, it is what they do afterwards. We are not an unrealistic group in our demands.
“We believe that we all have a part to play in addressing the climate crisis. In our case, individual residents, local groups, businesses, and the council.
“We have promoted the petition online and on paper to people who live, work or study across the Royal Borough.
“We are hoping for 1,500 signatures before we present [it] so would like to encourage residents to sign and share.”
Cllr Dudley tweeted before the election to say that if the Conservatives remained in power, a new lead member for sustainability, waste services and economic development will be set up within the cabinet.
It was announced this week that this would be Cllr Gerry Clark (Con, Bisham and Cookham).
Cllr Dudley – who is meeting the group soon - said: “We need to dimension what [the petition] really means and what is deliverable. We will be doing all of that and then we can have an informed debate.
“We take sustainability very seriously, that is why we have got a new lead member. We all know we need to embrace a more sustainable world.
“It is clearly extremely important and we are looking forward to working with them.”
To view the petition, visit petitions.rbwm.gov.uk/climateemergency
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