Adur and Worthing councillors told to prove climate emergency not just ‘empty words’

The Labour party has called on Adur councillors to prove their declaration of a climate emergency was more than ‘empty words’.

At a Joint Strategic Committee meeting on Tuesday (July 9), councillors pledged to set out a plan to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Councillor Catherine Arnold made a new bench and planter next to the old post office in Brunswick Road. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

Councillor Catherine Arnold made a new bench and planter next to the old post office in Brunswick Road. Photo by Derek Martin Photography.

Labour councillors said they submitted a resolution calling for action in April and plan to table it again at Adur District Council’s full council meeting on Thursday (July 18).

Cat Arnold, of Shoreham’s St Mary’s ward, will move the resolution.

“I’m delighted the Conservative councillors have recognised that there is a climate emergency,” she said.

“But it’s simply a list of items relating to getting their own house in order. They have suggested nothing new, nor innovative, that will shift or benefit public behaviour.

“We offered to work cross-party on this, but were blocked out of discussions. We hope it is not just empty words, because locally and nationally people deserve more.”

Labour’s resolution calls for every council report plan, planning application and review to show how it reduces climate change.

It also demanded increased solar energy use, more support for electric and hybrid vehicles, grant applications for cleaner public vehicles, expanded cycle networks, better sustainability standards across housing projects and low emission zones.

At 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 they have reduced by 30 per cent since 2012.

Projects have included installing LED lighting at car parks, putting solar panels on council premises, encouraging staff to travel by means other than cars, and introducing more electric vehicle charging points.

Read more about Tuesday’s meeting here: Climate emergency declared by Adur and Worthing councils as ‘clock is ticking’

Labour Leader Les Alden, who will be seconding the motion, said more needed to be done. He said: “The council has done some good things on the environment, but you are not going to roll back a climate emergency simply by putting LED lights in two car parks and getting more council staff to use the bus. Those things make sense, but we need more urgency for the sake of the planet, of our children and grandchildren.”

The party will support a demonstration outside Thursday’s Shoreham Centre meeting at 6pm, with groups including Shoreham-by-Cycle, Green Party, Adur Residents’ Environmental Action, Worthing Climate Network, and Extinction Rebellion, as well as local residents.