A couple of months ago, the District Council was being seen to be moving rather slowly on climate change:
Since then, things have moved up a notch:
And at this week’s full council meeting, things really did move forward:
Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Clark reports in today’s Devon Live:
East Devon aims to be carbon neutral by 2040 following motion from 20-year-old councillor
Councillors on Wednesday night agreed to sign up and endorse the Devon Climate Change Emergency Declaration with a 2050 carbon neutral date, to work with Devon County Council and other partners to produce a Devon wide action plan on climate change and to embed tackling the climate emergency and reflect this as a priority in the new Council Plan.
But following an amendment from Cllr Luke Jeffery, who aged 20 is the youngest member of the council, East Devon District Council will adopt a target of 2040 to be carbon neutral and will commit to bringing the date forward whenever new circumstances arise.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Jeffery said: “The desire to not urgently set a date and stick to the thoroughly unambitious Devon wide declaration on the Climate Emergency undermines the good intentions.
“I and many others feel this is an essential part of tackling the Climate Emergency as it challenges us to take urgent action to reduce our net carbon emissions as quickly as possible. It is imperative that we aim to achieve carbon neutrality before the absolute 2050 deadline set out by the IPCC, as by doing so we can hope to decrease the impact of the Climate Emergency.
“Even if we fail to become carbon neutral so quickly, we will have already drastically decreased our net carbon emissions leaving us with a small shortfall to make up.
“As a young person this issue is of acute importance to me, and something I feel requires radical action to solve.
“Setting a more ambitious date than 2050 means that we can demonstrate to everyone that we are more serious about tackling climate change. Thousands of young people have gone on strike in support of this and they have to live through the transition of zero carbon living. We can tell young people they are being listened to and we are being more ambitious and want to take action.”
Councillors voted by 30 votes to 23 to agree to adopt a 2040 target for the council to be carbon neutral by.
They also agreed unanimously to work with Devon County Council and other partners to produce a Devon wide action plan on climate change and to support the acceleration of the proposals to achieve zero carbon development in the West End of the district.
Three further amendments that Cllr Jeffery had proposed – to embed tackling the climate emergency and reflect this as a priority in the new Council Plan, to engage with all relevant local and national stakeholders for so long as declaration in force in the district and to publicise the dangers that the climate emergency would pose to the district – also received unanimous support.
Speaking after the meeting, he added: “I am delighted East Devon District Council has voted to pass my amendment to commit the council to carbon neutrality by 2040. As a young person, tackling the Climate Emergency is a priority for me and my generation, and by approving this more ambitious date I believe that EDDC is showing it is committed to tackling it.”