David Royle asked a public question on behalf of the Group at East Herts Council on 22 July:
The County Council declared a Climate Emergency on 16 July last year. On 24 July, this Council passed a climate change motion and committed to ‘do everything…to reduce its impact on the climate and moreover do everything…in supporting the whole of East Herts District to become carbon neutral by 2030’. This is only 9 years and six months away. What is the timescale for an action plan to meet this commitment, what progress has been made to date, and what will be the process of consultation on its final form?
The response was that a detailed action plan linked to the council’s nine Climate Change commitments, including achieving carbon neutrality, has been drawn up, quantifying the carbon efficiencies associated with individual actions. EHDC is preparing for a second Forum meeting via video conference at the start of September to seek comments and amend the plan.
Also in September, consultation will commence of the council’s new Environmental Sustainability Supplementary Planning Guidance and the council is aiming to play a proactive role in the newly formed Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership which brings together all ten districts, the County Council and the Local Enterprise Council. The Partnership will also be reaching out to the public and other groups through several conference events each year.
I have written a follow-up letter to the BS Independent welcoming the action plan but noting that we can’t see it until September and that Herts County Council has yet to announce a consultation on its Sustainable Hertfordshire plan, submitted to the Highways and Environment Cabinet Panel on 28 February. If you search both Councils’ websites you will be hard put to find much information on climate change. It certainly doesn’t stand out as a priority.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy recently analysed 40 Local Plans and concluded that there were broadly three types of authority:
1. The willing and able: these councils are busily creating robust policies fit for a zero-carbon, climate-adapted future.
2. The willing but under-resourced: these authorities face funding constraints that mean they are struggling just do the day-job.
3. The unwilling, uninformed or pre-occupied: encouraged by the government prioritisation of housing provision over everything else, these authorities continue to plan as though the climate crisis is not happening and will not affect their residents.
I ended my letter with a question: where might our two Councils lie do you think?