Tories vote against Green Growth budget

Conservatives vote down Liberal Democrats’ Green Growth budget amendments at Chichester District Council.

Chichester Liberal Democrats demand action not words on Climate Change

 

At yesterday’s Full Council Meeting, The Liberal Democrat group tabled a budget amendment to kickstart work on the Council’s Climate Action Plan with four constructive proposals for Green Growth.

The Lib Dems plan targeted investment in four areas that would increase the Council’s capacity to take advantage of green grant opportunities and lay the foundation for new local jobs linked to the decarbonisation industry.

Sadly, although predictably, the Conservatives voted against all of these proposals, including a compromise offer to refer some of them to the Council’s Environment Panel for further scrutiny.

Cllr. Jonathan Brown, Liberal Democrats Environment Spokesperson explained: “Chichester District Council’s Climate Action Plan is ambitious but with no funding identified for specific projects it risks making only limited progress. We hear plenty of warm words from this administration, but no commitment to action. The Conservatives put forward no alternative proposals. There was nothing constructive. I offered a compromise on the more complicated and contentious parts of my amendment. I hoped that the Conservatives would put party politics to one side and unite around the most urgent parts of my amendment. I hoped they would act on the emergency they claim to understand. It is unacceptable that this Council’s budget makes no serious efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

As we have seen before, Conservative members lined up to say how strongly they agreed in principle with the need for action. But as before, they were quick to find excuses to vote against significant proposals made by opposition parties.

Jonathan added “This administration has a pattern of refusing to publicly acknowledge good ideas if they come from opposition members, though it is happy to take the credit for them if they can be channelled via panels that meet in secret and a Cabinet which contains no opposition voices.

In detail, Cllr. Jonathan Brown’s amendment called for the employment of additional officer support to deliver two key projects: the decarbonisation of Council properties and detailed design work necessary for schemes within the new Local Cycling and Walking Plan (LCWIP) to be taken forward. It also made provision for a Homes Decarbonisation & Skills Fund that would be used to smooth gaps in central government funding and provide a predictable stream of work to local home retrofitting businesses. Finally, it made the case for an increased Climate Change Communications & Coordination Budget. This will be needed to make a success of the Council’s agreed strategy and to win public support for the changes that we will be required to make in future.

It is to be hoped that they will once again copy our plans. They eventually employed a Climate Emergency Officer, as called for by a previous Lib Dem budget amendment, though they were encouraged to do so after losing their majority at the 2019 election. Of course, they made no mention of it being a Lib Dem idea when they did so. It is more important that good ideas are implemented than who takes the credit for them, but it is a shame the environment is treated in this partisan manner.

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight – in public and in private – for meaningful, responsible and rapid action to preserve our local environment, to make our local economy ready for the changes that we know we need to make and to do our duty in the international fight to slow and reverse catastrophic climate change.

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