Coronavirus crisis threatens to derail Warwick district climate change referendum - The Leamington Observer

Coronavirus crisis threatens to derail Warwick district climate change referendum

Ian Hughes 13th Mar, 2020   0

COUNCIL chiefs are waiting to hear if the climate change referendum in Warwick district will have to be postponed.

Local elections in England, scheduled for May 7, have been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus crisis.

And while there were no council elections in Warwick district this year, residents were set to go to the poll for the referendum on the same day.

Following news of the local elections being postponed, the council has contacted central government regarding the referendum but is not expecting to hear anything before Monday.

In a national first, councillors agreed a cross party ‘Climate Emergency Action Programme’ with the aim of seeing Warwick District Council (WDC) become carbon neutral by 2025 and the entire district carbon neutral by 2030.

Under the proposals, residents in an average Band D property would pay an increase of £1 per week or £52 a year – a 34 per cent rise on the district council’s current precept. Such a large rise meant the council had to hold a referendum to get resident’ backing for the move.

The money would be ring-fenced in the Climate Action Fund which would generate around £3million a year.

The pot would be used to help make homes and businesses more energy efficient, improve air quality, and enhance green spaces.

The referendum itself is being funded from the government’s ‘New Homes Bonus’ and will cost around £300,000. The money is usually used to fund community facilities as part of new housing developments.

Council tax bills have already gone out including the rise. If rejected by residents at the referendum households would get the increased payment back.

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