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Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan
- Meeting of Policy and Resources Committee, Wednesday 21st October, 2020 6.30 pm (Item 60.)
- View the background to item 60.
The Head of Policy, Communications and Governance introduced the report, following the Climate Change motion agreed by Full Council in April 2019. The Biodiversity and Climate Change Working Group (BDCCWG) had determined that with all reasonable actions, current technology and government policy it would not be possible to achieve a carbon neutral borough by 2030. It was proposed that the Council’s estate would be carbon neutral by 2030, with a net zero borough by 2050, which would align the Council with the targets of Kent County Council and the Government.
Grant funding would be used wherever possible to mitigate the projected £750k shortfall. The wider leadership team had been consulted during the action plan’s creation to ensure its feasibility, which was to be viewed as a live document and subject to change where necessary.
In response to questions, the Head of Policy, Communications and Governance confirmed that any decisions resulting from the action plan would be taken by the relevant Committee, with the future governance options for Biodiversity and Climate Change functions to be presented to the Democracy and General Purposes Committee. The Overview and Scrutiny Officer Biodiversity and Climate Change confirmed that the figures given for fly-tipping had been agreed with the relevant Head of Service dependant on the service’s need. The £529k estimated cost to increase trees in the borough had been calculated based on the number of trees per hectare, the number of hectares needed and the cost of buying the land and planting the trees.
Several Members expressed concerns that electric vehicles were not mentioned within the Strategy or Action Plan, due to the importance of motor vehicles in rural areas of the borough. It was felt that the ambition of a net zero borough by 2050 was unnecessary, given the ambition of a carbon neutral borough by 2030 if technology and national policy changes allowed.
1. The Council commits to the following:
a. A carbon neutral Council estate by 2030
b. An ambition of a carbon neutral Borough by 2030, if technology and national policy changes allow;
2. The Biodiversity and Climate Change Strategy be adopted, subject to the replacement of the first line within the ‘We Will’ section of Theme 1 of the Strategy, as shown in Appendix 1 to the report, with the text shown below:
‘Use the Local Plan to ensure it supports walking, cycling, public transport and the use of electric vehicles where the opportunity arises’
3. The Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan be adopted as a living document and be updated as needed to deliver the Strategy and targets, subject to the inclusion of the above wording to Action 1.2 under Theme 1, with the Overview and Scrutiny Officer Biodiversity and Climate Change given delegated powers to amend the ‘Outcome’ column as necessary;
4. The funding for the plan be delivered from the £1million previously identified for this purpose, recognising that it will need to;
a. Deliver further invest-to-save initiatives where possible that pay back to the pot for further Biodiversity and Climate Change investment; and
b. Prime projects to be in a position to secure ‘shovel ready’ funding and any other available sources of external funding; and
5. The Head of Policy, Communications and Governance be requested to bring a report to Democracy and General Purposes Committee outlining the Committee structure options for Biodiversity and Climate Change functions, including a dedicated Overview and Scrutiny Committee, or having Overview and Scrutiny functions embedded in the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee.
- Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan, item 60. PDF 101 KB View as HTML (60./1) 97 KB
- Appendix 1 Biodiversity and Climate Change Strategy, item 60. PDF 7 MB
- Appendix 2 Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan, item 60. PDF 138 KB View as HTML (60./3) 244 KB
- Appendix 3: Climate Change and Biodiversity Residents Survey 2020, item 60. PDF 522 KB