The Green Party has urged Worthing councillors to go beyond ‘business as usual’ in declaring a climate emergency.
At a joint strategic committee meeting last Tuesday (July 9), councillors pledged to set out a plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
But Worthing’s Green Party has gained more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for more ambitious action, to be presented at a Worthing town hall demonstration on Tuesday (July 23).
It will be presented by Jo Paul, the party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Worthing, who said preventing climate change must be the top priority.
“Other concerns have to take a back seat,” she said.
“Exceptional measures have to be put into place. The collective wisdom and expertise of the community has to be pooled and action has to be taken on all fronts as soon as possible.
“It is unacceptable that later in the same meeting councillors were discussing how to expand parking and one even doubted whether the climate emergency was the most pressing issue facing residents.
“Business as usual needs to be unthinkable in this context.”
At last Tuesday’s committee meeting, officers said Adur and Worthing councils had already made significant progress, hiring a strategic sustainability manager in 2016 to drive down emissions, which have reduced by 30 per cent since 2012.
Projects have included installing LED lighting at car parks, solar panels on council premises, encouraging staff to use cars less for travelling, and adding more electric vehicle charging points.
The Green Party will ask the council to go further and institute a climate change commission to oversee changes, and a citizen’s assembly to engage the community.
Discussions around expanding parking and roadways should be replaced by sustainable transport options, the party argued.