At last night’s Isle of Wight council meeting members voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency.
The debate was long and drawn out (catch up here) with several amendments being debated. The final vote was for an amendment by Cllr Hastings (Con) to Cllr Lilley’s (Ind Green) motion, declaring a climate emergency.
23 councillors voted in favour of the motion, six voted against it and five abstained. Details of named vote below.
Cllr Hastings’ amended motion read:
To move that in the light of scientific reports relating to the world’s climate, the Isle of Wight Council, in keeping with its longstanding tradition, will continue to take all reasonable steps to minimise its environmental impact and to maintain the beauty of our Island And on that basis that this council resolves to:
1. Declare and acknowledge a ‘Climate Emergency’
2. Aim to achieve net zero carbon emissions on the Island by 2030.
3. Require the Chair of Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration in liaison with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Heritage to establish a Task & Finish Group to report back to the committee within six months with a costed action plan, recommending how the Council could work with partners and central government to ensure that the Islands net carbon emissions can be reduced to zero by 2030.
4. Present an update in the IW Council quarterly performance reports on progress towards achieving net zero carbon emissions in line with the IW councils support for our UNESCO Biosphere status.
5. Develop and implement a community engagement plan via the IW Council’s Environment and Sustainability Forum (formerly community plastic forum) to mobilise environmental action groups, Parish Councils, biodiversity experts and residents in support of delivery of the action plan.
6. Liaise with other local authorities that have declared a Climate Emergency, through the Local Government Association, to lobby Government for additional powers and funding to help local authorities respond to the climate emergency
XRIW: Concerned not a unanimous vote
Following the vote, a representative from Extinction Rebellion IW (XRIW) told OnTheWight,
“Extinction rebellion warmly welcome the declaration of a climate emergency on the Isle of Wight, we look forward to seeing the council prepare plans for radically reducing the carbon footprint of the island in line with scientific recommendations.
“However, we are concerned that the motion was not passed unanimously as has been the case in most councils and was passed without the support of the leader of the council.
“We hope that this does not impact on the democratically mandated steps outlined in the text of the motion.
Lowthion: Poor quality of the debate
Spokesperson for the IW Green Party, Vix Lowthion, told OnTheWight,
“Whilst it is welcome that the IW Council has declared a Climate Emergency, the fact remains that this was via a diluted motion. The crucial 2030 target for net zero carbon emissions is now to be a mere ‘aim’ rather than a commitment.
“Too many councillors are truly ignorant of the state our planet is in and the critical measures we must to take to deal with the climate crisis: saving both money and the planet for future generations.
“It is vital that those voters on the Isle of Wight who want to protect our island must elect more Greens – who truly grasp severity of the issue.”
Councillors who voted in favour, against or abstained on the climate emergency vote:
Cllrs Adrian Axford, Vanessa Churchman, Steve Hastings, Steven Hendry, John Hobart, Clare Mosdell, Matthew Price, Chris Quirk, Debbie Andre, Rodney Downer, Paul Fuller, John Howe, John Medland, Lora Peacey-Wilcox, Ian Stephens, Julie Jones-Evans, Karl Love, Michael Lilley, Geoff Brodie, Reg Barry, Andrew Garratt, Shirley Smart, George Cameron
Cllrs Barry Abraham, Stuart Hutchinson, Gary Peace, Ian Ward, Dave Stewart, Chris Whitehouse
Cllrs Michael Beston, Paul Brading, John Nicholson, Tig Outlaw, Brian Tyndall, Graham Perks
Image: Extinction Rebellion outside County Hall prior to Climate Emergency vote © Vix Lowthion