Warwickshire's Sustainable Future Strategy "not fit for purpose" - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire's Sustainable Future Strategy "not fit for purpose"

Leamington Editorial 17th Jan, 2023   0

GREEN councillors have slammed Warwickshire County Council’s Sustainable Future Strategy as “not fit for purpose”.

Warwick District Green Party said it was keen to see strategies to rapidly reduce carbon emissions across Warwickshire, but called the draft Warwickshire Sustainable Futures Strategy document, currently out for consultation, woefully inadequate.

The document proposes to reduce carbon emissions to net zero from WCC’s own activities by 2030 and the wider county by 2050.

But according to the Greens, the report admitted that based on the proposed strategy neither target would be met.

For WCC’s own emissions, the proposed actions will only reduce the annual emissions by 46 per cent leaving over 50 per cent requiring offsetting.

For county-wide emissions, WCC predicts only a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, which would require a massive 60 per cent of emissions remaining to be offset.

These are unacceptably high figures, say the Green councillors.

Carbon offsetting through the proposed tree planting and natural actions would not meet the offsetting gaps.

The Green Party is calling for a sustainable strategy which includes more ambitious actions around energy use savings, generation of renewable energy and transport policy.

WDC Green Coun John Dearing said: “We are disappointed not to see more direct plans for investment and changes in spending priorities. WCC spends £672 million annually on services, and yet the document does not make the link between this financial power and making strategic policies or decisions around carbon reductions.

“There is little sense of how WCC will use its significant influence to take net zero arguments to local businesses, the energy sector, local communities etc. or to integrate actions across the county with those underway by local councils. Disappointingly, it expects only to ‘engage’ with pension funds over investments rather than divesting from fossil fuels. This plan is not fit for purpose.

“Overall, the stated strategic objectives are not matched by actions of sufficient detail or magnitude. This suggests a lack of leadership and commitment to reaching the national targets for net zero carbon emissions.”

A spokesperson for WCC said: “Our key aspiration in engaging with Warwickshire around our draft Sustainable Futures Strategy was to encourage feedback like this and we are very grateful to the Warwick District Green Party for taking the time to provide it.

“The Sustainable Futures Strategy is an indication of our direction of travel around climate change and sustainability and a firm commitment to take important actions under key themes. It is not the end of the story or the extent of our commitments and we will continue to build upon this, setting science-based targets, as we continue to integrate sustainability and the climate into all that we do.”


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