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Suffolk County Council to create climate change task force in September

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A task force is to be created in September at a Suffolk council to come up with measures to make the authority carbon neutral in the next decade.

Suffolk County Council declared a climate emergency in March, and vowed to make dedicated efforts to cut its carbon footprint.

An action plan was agreed by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday afternoon, which included a refreshed commitment to become the greenest county, and plans to develop a cross-party task force to come up with recommendations for measures to make the council carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillor Richard Rout. Picture by Mark Westley.
Councillor Richard Rout. Picture by Mark Westley.

Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “We have set ourselves an ambitious target – it’s one that needs targets and commitment to achieve.

“The primary focus of the work will be to come back with recommendations in how we can be carbon neutral by 2030.

“It’s of the utmost importance that Suffolk County Council leads from the front, as we always have on environmental issues.”

The scope of the panel’s work is to be drawn up over the summer ahead of a September start, with the aim of having a series of findings back in early 2020.

The council’s report said that the goal would “require significant investment” but added that a commitment of council resources would “only be considered when the financial benefit can be evidenced."

The plan has been backed by all parties at the council, with calls for school youngsters and the public to be involved.

Councillor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: “I am pleased that SCC has recognised the emergency that we face, and is also seeking to address the threats specific to us in the east including water security and coastal erosion.

“The report clearly states that in order to be effective, measures to cut carbon and mitigate climate change will need to be made across every department. “Therefore it is clear to me all decisions made by the council and cabinet should be made in the context of a climate emergency.

“We also need to look beyond the internal workings of the council and ensure that we use our persuasion and resources to do as much as we can to create positive change that benefits communities and mitigates climate change.

“Good political leadership is essential, as is holding all departments of the council to account.

“Making sure the public can input into this process will also be an important consideration of the policy development panel and essential to the success of Suffolk becoming carbon neutral.”