5 October 2023| | 3 min read
Council reaffirms commitment to tackling climate change
Newcastle remains committed to its bold environmental ambitions despite changes to national policies, councillors have declared.
At a meeting of the City Council on Wednesday (October 4), members backed a motion on climate change in response to changes to national environmental policies.
In approving the motion, members agreed to reaffirm the commitment to Net Zero in Newcastle by 2030, to tackle climate and biodiversity emergencies, and to work across political divides to achieve the council’s collective ambitions.
Speaking in support of the motion, Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Climate change is an existential threat to our planet and the action that we take as a country cannot only help reduce the effects of climate change but to also prepare us for the impacts that do take place. Climate change and climate resilience action is vital now.
“It will soon be too late to plan for the infrastructure impacts of more frequent extreme weather events, but to also prepare our society for the social and micro-economic outcomes of droughts in food-producing nations, and of shortages of raw materials for every day goods. Furthermore, for the increased risk of flash floods, heatwaves and high-force storms that comes with climate change in our own city.
“The Prime Minister’s action towards national net zero policy is a failure of government responsibility and an abdication of proper leadership. His actions will directly be attributable to our failure as a nation to properly prepare for climate change in future if carried to fruition. Only this week, the Prime Minister's U-turn comments on transport and traffic schemes have undermined us all, casting uncertainty and doubt where we need clarity and purpose.
“He has decided to play short-term political games with our children’s and our children’s children’s futures. This lack of foresight on one of the most pressing issues for our society will have direct impacts on our own ability to prepare as a council as funding opportunities and government support is diminished. It also means that any hopes of future powers to help address climate change locally are unlikely to be handed down under this government.”
Cllr Kemp added: “Our city’s and region’s future prosperity is in being a green superpower. In the North East we have the ambition to be world leading in green technology and innovation. As part of the work I did with other leaders in the region, we negotiated a new devolution deal which will put green and environmentally-conscious growth at the forefront of our ambition. Environmentally-sound economic policy will be a catalyst to supercharge the fortunes of the North East and the government is putting the brakes on it like they do any plan which may have a positive net outcome for the North.
“Climate change impacts the most disadvantaged in society hardest, the Prime Minster is once again proving that he is out of touch with the rest of society while he has the economic means to never feel the true impacts of this disastrous policy.”
Read the full motion approved by council here.
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