To receive an overview from the
Director of Operations on what the council have achieved to
The Group had before it *reports of the Group Manager for Corporate Property and Commercial Assets which provided Members with an overview of measures already introduced by the Council which support the intent behind the climate change declaration and the Group Manager for Business Transformation and Customer Engagement which considered the best way to facilitate public engagement in the climate change public policy agenda.
The Chairman explained that the Group wanted to understand what the Council had already done in terms of carbon reduction measures and they were keen to find ways to involve the public moving forward. He explained that MDDC officers were involved with the DCC taskforce and would be feeding into the project.
Members discussed ways of involving a public discussion on the subject at parish level and the provision of a template that Members could utilise at parish meetings to facilitate discussions.
The Group Manager for Business Transformation and Customer Engagement stated that the Council was very conscious that people wanted to be involved and that she would point both Members and the public to the DCC website to see what was being done at county level. She informed the Group that officers would be willing to facilitate public meetings if that was required and would take the details of the public at the meeting today in order to contact them and establish how this could work.
Members stated that MDDC had already implemented a strategy of energy efficiency that helped towards carbon reduction and needed to consider what could be done and how fast at local level so that public expectations could be managed. Members felt that the Council should get the information across to the public on what had been achieved so far.
The Chief Executive reminded the Group that when the declaration was made there was a commitment that the Council would provide details of its own carbon emissions (baseline) within 6 months. He explained that officers were working with the county council and other districts and that this first piece of work would be looking at the Councils own carbon emissions. There was a second part to the declaration regarding carbon emissions across the wider district area, and this was a county wide process being administered by DCC which would bring together a ‘Net Zero Task Force’ and would also include public participation through a Citizens Assembly. He stated that the Mid Devon strategy should be bringing together local requirements and feeding into what was happening at county level.
Conversations were held about the knowledge base within the local community groups which had evolved and that the council and the groups should be working together to come up with solutions for the district. Members felt that climate change was an issue that members of the public were engaged in and just wanted to be heard and to help make a difference.
Members discussed local press reports which suggested that MDDC would encourage residents to ditch their cars and agreed that, despite reports in the press, the Council’s policy and strategy with regard to the climate change declaration had not yet been formulated.
The Chairman explained that he was mindful that officers required a steer from the Group on what they required to formulate a policy and strategy and the Group discussed the setting up of a working group to define this. Members AGREED that the formulation of the working group should be deferred until the DCC taskforce was operational and there was more information on the scope of the taskforce.
The Group then discussed the Chairman’s proposal that a recommendation be made to Cabinet that a single Cabinet Member be responsible for the climate change declaration and the Group AGREED to defer any decision on this until the September meeting.
RESOLVED that the update report on the climate emergency declaration and the climate change and public engagement report be NOTED.
(Proposed by Cllr L Cruwys and Cllr R Radford)
Note: *Reports previously circulated and attached to the minutes.