To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
Caroline Romijn referring to Motion 573 stated:
On behalf of “Sustainable Crediton” I welcome the Motion proposing that the Council should support the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill, and hope that this can be agreed speedily and without weeks or months of consideration and delay. It’s a critically important bill, if we are to make progress in tackling the climate crisis.
I understand that you plan to refer this motion to the Environment Policy Development Group instead of discussing it this evening and it will then come back to the full council for approval. Please can you tell us what the timescale on this will be, as it’s self-evidently a matter of urgency? Is it correct that the next full Council meeting is not until Wednesday 25th August, 8 weeks away? Will you at least be able to ensure that the full council debate on the Motion is held on that date?
The Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate Change responded stating that it was his intention to move that the motion be discussed at this meeting.
Hannah Thomas again referring to Motion 573 asked what actions had been taken in the last two years since the climate emergency had been declared.
The Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate Change responded stating that a lot had been done and included the following examples: information clearly available on the website, the proposed launch of a specific climate change website, the installation of electric charging points on council owned property, actions to reduce the carbon footprint, the employment of a specialist officer who had already started working on plans for the future. He requested that Ms Thomas follow the website, watch out for press releases and contact him directly if she wanted further information.
Honorary Alderman David Nation referring to Motion 573 stated:
Even locally we are experiencing dramatic changes in weather conditions resulting from our abuse of the planet and the resulting climate change and all over the world extreme events are increasingly leading to loss of life. I am delighted to see the indication this Motion provides that the controlling Conservative group is willing to work with others to begin to address the problems. Will the council please consider without delay the need to require developers to incorporate PV cells, heat pumps and other appropriate energy saving features in all new dwellings to benefit householders’ pockets as well as the environment?
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration in response stated: that work had commenced on the new Local Plan for Mid Devon which included policies referring to the impact of climate change including specific policies for development which required the move towards net zero carbon. While it was expected that the new Local Plan would not be adopted until 2025, the Council had approved the preparation of an interim policy statement on planning for the climate emergency. The Government had confirmed that building regulations would be updated whereby all new homes must produce 31% lower carbon emissions compared to current levels which was the first part of the future homes standard, which proposed that new homes would have carbon emissions 75-80% lower than those built to current building regulations. The full standard was due to be met in 2025 by the use of fabric efficiency, heat pumps, solar panels and other technologies.
Honorary Alderman David Nation referring to Motion 574 stated: Will the mover of this Motion please advise what problems have arisen from the present rules that have prompted the need to consider changing them? Does he recognise that any changes that might be recommended which reduce the ability of all members to seek to have issues of importance to them debated at the appropriate committee, will further diminish the power and influence of individual members even beyond the limitations imposed by the present Cabinet structure? Which many of you know I don’t agree with.
The Cabinet Member for Finance responded stating that he would defer his answer until the item was discussed.