Lancaster City Council pledges to go Zero Carbon

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At the Council Meeting on 18th July, Lancaster City Council almost unanimously (the former Conservative Mayor, Cllr. Roger Mace abstained) supported my motion, seconded by Coun. Darren Clifford, to join UK100 and go Carbon Neutral by 2050. Of course we have to stop using fossil fuels long before then, but I was keen to ensure that the Motion was passed without dissent and this is better than the Paris Agreement (only 80%).

What really matters is the ‘route map’ we create and how quickly that is put into action. Coun. Clifford will set up a Cabinet Liaison Group and I will set up a ‘Zero Carbon Lancaster & Morecambe’, using the model inspired by the Centre for Alternative Technology, and involve Business, Community, Council and Further Education leaders in coming up with a ‘route map’ for making this motion a reality. The full text of the motion is as follows:

This Council acknowledges;
· the historic commitments made at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris toward the future of renewable energy;
· our responsibility to help secure an environmentally sustainable future for our residents and in relation to the global effects of anthropogenic climate change.

This Council subsequently notes that;

· despite the Paris Agreement placing no binding commitments upon Local Government institutions, we as a Council can still play our part in the global movement towards a sustainable energy future;
· additional benefits of the development of green industries include the potential for create well-paid, high-skilled employment locally, regionally and nationally;
· the UK100 Agreement pledge outlines the ambition for the UK regions to exceed the Paris Climate targets through achieving 100% ‘clean energy’ usage by 2050.

In light of this, this Council, therefore, resolves to;

· match the ambitions of the UK100 Agreement by pledging to achieve 100% clean energy across Lancaster City Council’s Council’s full range of functions by 2050.
· work in partnership with our residents and business community to deliver against the commitments made nationally and internationally at the 2015 Paris Summit;
· turn these commitments into reality through developing a ‘route map’ to a sustainable future, working together with the business, educational and residential communities of Lancaster and Morecambe as part of an integrated approach to a shared sustainable future.

In my proposal, I reminded Councillors that Lancaster City Council had a Climate Change Strategy for the years 2008-14 so we need to go back and refresh that. The Strategy said that:

“A Climate of Change (2007) from the Local Government Commission places an emphasis on the role of local government as community leaders in policy and action stating that “tackling climate change must be at the centre of local government’s vision for their communities….it is the single priority which overrides all others, now and for the foreseeable future.”
Lancashire County Council has developed the Lancashire Climate Change Strategy (2009) which Lancaster City Council takes a partnership role in developing and delivering to compliment this Strategy.
Lancaster City Council’s role is to help, wherever possible, Lancaster district address the major issues it faces. It will use this strategy to focus its own efforts in tackling climate change and will contribute to the wider climate change agenda through its links with the Lancaster District Local Strategic Partnership and local planning policy.

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Kevin Frea is a Grandparent, Politician, Human Ecologist, Community Energy Practitioner and former Special Needs Teacher.