Eden District Council tonight voted to declare a climate emergency with the bold aim of making the authority carbon neutral by 2030.
The vote also commits the council to assessing the ecological impacts of all Eden District Council’s decisions and actions and was passed with 22 councillors voting in favour, seven against and six abstaining.
The motion was proposed by council leader Virginia Taylor who outlined how the motion committed the authority to developing a strategic plan by the end of the year which would set out how it would achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030, across all the council’s activities.
The motion followed a presentation of a petition to the council by Penrith Action for Community Transition which was signed by over 800 Eden residents. Around 40 people also demonstrated their support for declaring a climate emergency before the meeting.
Virginia Taylor said she was delighted that the council had been able to respond so swiftly to calls to declare a climate emergency.
“This vote means that sustainability will be at the heart of everything we do and not an add on if we can afford it. This has to happen now and we can’t put it off any longer.
“Now every decision we make in the future must be tested against these objectives.”
The wording of the motion was as follows:
To declare a Climate Emergency and an Ecological Emergency.
To aim to make Eden District carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.
Critically to evaluate the ecological impacts of all Eden District Council’s decisions and actions; to refuse initiatives that will result in the degradation of the natural environment and biodiversity; and actively to promote the safeguarding and improvement of the natural environment.
To prepare, by the end of 2019, a strategic plan to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030, across all activities for which the Council is responsible, working with independent expert advisory groups to ensure the council adopts best practice.
To call on the UK Government to provide the powers, resources and funding to meet a 2030 zero carbon target across Eden District.
To work together with other councils, public and private sector organisations (within Eden, Cumbria, the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to achieve zero emissions in Eden District by 2030.
To facilitate the involvement of Eden’s residents, from schoolchildren to elders, in formulating plans to address the climate and ecological crisis, delivering those plans and monitoring their progress.