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East Suffolk Council agrees to encourage car sharing to meetings



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Councillors and staff at East Suffolk Council are being urged to car share or use public transport to get to meetings, as part of efforts to cut their carbon output.

A motion was passed at the authoity’s full council meeting on Wednesday night to utilise electric pool cars and adopt more video meetings between teams, while councillors have been urged to share a car to meetings or use public transport.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, council staff in the district had saved almost five million miles of travel to and from work because of home working, with a 66% decrease in CO2 tonnes arising from home to work commuting, according to authority data.

East Suffolk Council\'s Riverside office in Lowestoft. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL
East Suffolk Council\'s Riverside office in Lowestoft. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

Caroline Topping, leader of the opposition Green, liberal Democrat and Independent group who put in the motion – backed by Conservative environment cabinet member James Mallinder – said she hoped it would permanently reduce car use.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing the world today, and I’m thrilled that we were all able to cross party lines and recognise what is important,” she said.

“Reducing driving is the single largest thing an individual can do to limit climate change and global warming, and if we can keep on saving the 13,000 miles every day as we did during lockdown the overall impact will be huge.”

Caroline Topping, leader of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group at East Suffolk Council and education spokeswoman at Suffolk County Council
Caroline Topping, leader of the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group at East Suffolk Council and education spokeswoman at Suffolk County Council

Cllr Mallinder said: “I welcome this motion because it highlights the focus of this council.

“We are delivering our vision and working together cross party and making sure we as community leaders are setting an example.”

James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL
James Mallinder, Conservative councillor for Deben and cabinet member for the environment. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

The council’s opposition Labour group had requested the motion wait until the authority’s climate action plan is published so that all measures could be incorporated, while some councillors said those measures to encourage car sharing and public transport were already happening.