Climate Change Executive Advisory Panel Update
To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Member for Highways, Travel and Environment.
The Cabinet Member for Highways, Travel and Environment provided a verbal update. He explained that he had engaged with a lot Dorset Councillors and town and parish councils since the last meeting. The Panel was currently exploring where Dorset Council was as a council in relation to climate change; whilst the predecessor councils had sought to address this, there was a lot more to do.
He explained that Friends of the Earth had presented the Panel with a list of 33 items to consider, which was underway and the evidence would be considered at the next meeting. He acknowledged the need for central government to be more involved in addressing climate change and for the Council to work with the private sector on such initiatives as the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. He also reported that discussions had begun with local bus companies to identify how services across the rural areas could be improved. He also added that he would be meeting with representatives of Extinction Rebellion on 5 August. He reiterated that the Council was taking this issue very seriously and a great deal of work was ongoing.
One of the Members for the Wimborne Minster Ward, Cllr Bartlett, expressed his concern that local town councils were being pressured to commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 with little idea of the cost of doing this. He requested that the Executive Advisory Panel also consider the procurement of means of energy efficient power generation in partnership with parish and town councils. The Cabinet Member for Highways, Travel and Environment welcomed these comments and agreed that there was a need for local councils to use every opportunity to generate heat and power in ways that addressed climate change.
The Member for the Sherborne East Ward, Cllr Andrews, informed the Cabinet that on the previous day Sherborne Town Council had declared a climate emergency with a view to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. He expressed his concern that there was little enforcement through the planning system for the installation of renewable energy in new developments. The Cabinet Member for Planning explained that current developments were considered in relation to the extant Local Plans of the predecessor councils. However, there was an opportunity to include policies relating to energy efficiency through the development of the Dorset Council Local Plan. He added that it was important to continue to lobby central government to increase demand for this through the National Planning Policy Framework.
1. That the update be noted.