Portsmouth City Council promise extra money and resources to tackle climate change

The Portsmouth City Council leader said they were happy to “work with anybody and everybody on this”.

green smilies

Given last night’s vote on the Isle of Wight, what our neighbours across the water are doing should be of interest. Ed

Extra money and resources will be put towards tackling climate change in Portsmouth after existing efforts were branded ‘limp’ and ‘disappointing.’

Critics requested more be done to ensure Portsmouth is carbon neutral by 2030, including designating a specific climate change council officer and doubling the budget for the council’s climate change board.

Councillors happy to implement ideas
Members of activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Portsmouth’s Labour Party made their suggestions during a cabinet meeting held yesterday (Wednesday) and were told councillors would be ‘happy’ to implement ideas.

XR: An unambitious start
Nick Sebley, from the Portsmouth branch of XR, explained the report that followed the climate emergency declaration made in March did not meet his expectations.

He said,

“When we read the report we were disappointed. It felt like it was an unambitious start.”

New board
Mr Sebley, who said he was speaking to protect the future of his six-month old daughter, put forward six points to be carried out by the council’s newly formed climate change board.

He added:

“We ask that the terms of reference for the climate change board be arrived at through negotiation with those who originally wrote the climate emergency motion and stakeholders – the Labour group, Extinction Rebellion and Friends of the Earth.”

He also asked that a budget of £40,000 be set for the board, up from the £20,000 which has been allocated.

Smyth: Limp progress
Labour councillor Judith Smyth agreed. She said:

“We are months into the programme and don’t seem to have made much progress.

“It’s incredibly limp, it doesn’t seem to have done what we had hoped by now.”

She also made recommendations such as implementing a plan to improve public transport by next year and talking to other authorities about their strategies.

The report put forward to cabinet included several measures that were prompted by the declaration of a climate emergency. These included an update from the council leader due in September about how carbon neutrality would be reached and to develop a community engagement plan.

Vernon-Jackson: Happy to work with anybody and everybody on this
Speaking about suggestions made council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said:

“I think we would be happy with all of those. We’re happy to work with anybody and everybody on this.”

All ideas will be considered by the council’s climate change board.

This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Sean B Jack under CC BY 2.0

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