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Questions raied in Liverpool. Now Hastings is being exercised by climate change (photo: Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons).

Question raised in Liverpool – now Hastings is worrying about climate change (photo: Matěj Baťha/Wikimedia Commons).

Climate emergency motion is “meaningless,” say Greens

Labour’s climate emergency motion, to be debated by the full council at its meeting on Wednesday 13 February, is “meaningless,” according to the Greens, who last month announced their support for the adoption of such a policy by Hastings Borough Council. They are now urging all those who want to see urgent action at local level to attend the meeting at Muriel Matters House. Nick Terdre reports.

Labour’s motion declaring a climate emergency in Hastings “while it is a start is missing any definite commitment to making Hastings carbon neutral by 2030 or any measurable goals,” according to a statement from local Green Party secretary Julia Hilton. “Without any targets or measurable commitments the motion is meaningless,” she wrote.

She says they “asked for the council to report back within six months with definite actions and also to start setting a carbon budget alongside the financial budget.”

Neither of these measures is included in the motion, which will be debated at a meeting of the full council on Wednesday 13th, starting at 6pm. The Greens are calling on those who support “radical action” to turn up outside Muriel Matters House at 5.45pm and demonstrate in favour of a commitment from the council to become carbon neutral by 2030.

The notion that a climate emergency needs to be declared clearly chimes with many in town – an open letter from the Greens calling for it has been signed by over 950 individuals and 70 organisations.

The motion, to be proposed by council leader Peter Chowney and seconded by Cllr Maya Evans, sets out 13 specific measures aiming to “make Hastings carbon neutral by 2030, or by 2050 at the latest,” including developing a procurement policy to reduce carbon emissions, pressing ahead with a “programme of sustainable energy generation on council-owned and other land and buildings,” introducing requirements that new buildings should meet the “most rigorous possible energy efficiency standards” and continuing the “development of an off-road walking and cycling network” as specified in the Local Plan.

To oversee the implementation of the policy a climate change working group is proposed to be set up under the aegis of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a councillor appointed as climate change champion. There is also a commitment to “work with voluntary, statutory and community organisations in the borough” to achieve these aims.

While acknowledging that action to combat climate change is primarily a matter for government, the preamble to the motion states that local authorities can take steps to “limit our own use of fossil carbon and encourage others to do the same.”

However it does not mention any involvement of the Green Party, which was instrumental in pushing urgent action on the climate to the top of the agenda. Late last year Hilton got together with Labour councillors Evans and Heather Bishop to suggest such a move at a meeting prompted by a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stating that unless urgent measures were taken over the next 12  years to counter global warming, it would not be possible to limit the increase in global warming to the 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels considered necessary to avoid devastating effects for people, animals and the planet.

Those who have registered questions about the council’s intentions will have them answered at the full council meeting, and will also have a chance to ask follow-up questions.



Posted 16:50 Tuesday, Feb 12, 2019 In: The HOT Planet


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  1. Tim Barton

    Last note: when the minutes are available, check Maya’s very strong statement. I, personally, agree with every word 😉

    Comment by Tim Barton — Monday, Feb 18, 2019 @ 11:51

  2. Tim Barton

    The motion does not reference the Green Party or Julia, however the council meeting minutes will, as their role was definitely acknowledged.

    As to targets, ‘zero-carbon by 2030’ is a valid goal, but, yes, it should have had a range of more specific ones offered. However, this is a moving scenario, with lots of negotiation & input needed (and, according to the motion, welcome), so certain specific real targets are both 1] unrealistic at this stage (in part due to serious funding cuts on local authorities by central government) & 2] quite possible with inclusive planning – at least implicitly in the motion, which says ‘work with voluntary, statutory and community organisations in the borough’.

    My verdict? ‘Could do better’, but a hell of a lot of positive elements to build on.

    Comment by Tim Barton — Monday, Feb 18, 2019 @ 11:47

  3. ken davis

    Whilst it is great that the local labour party have finally recognised the impact on normal peoples lives of global warming, they have yet to recognise how to do something constructive about it. For example they could start to work constructively and collaboratively with local people on sustainable housing projects rather than with foreign and outside the area consultants and contractors at great cost to HBC charge payers. They could also make some operational and policy improvements to the planning department and the local plan which recognises and supports more sustainable development instead of placing unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles in the way of local efforts.

    Comment by ken davis — Saturday, Feb 16, 2019 @ 08:54

  4. Ms.Doubtfire

    This has to be another case of the Mad Hatters Tea Party – this council holding a debate (or whatever they want to call it) about saving the environment? If this council and its advisors (paid officers) wish to really make a serious attempt to generate plans for making Hastings a greener place, they must immediately ditch any plans they may have on the table for the installation of ground based solar panels in OUR Country Park. They also need to reveal the real causes of the landslip in the Country park which has caused untold damage to this special area.
    Do much ecological damage has been caused to this town through bad planning, the felling of ancient trees and destruction of protected wildlife all for the purpose of building roads which are neither use nor ornament – the destruction of the historical Hollington valley has to be the most shameful event of the past two years…and still this unnecessary structure remains unfinished. Shocking indictment of this councils irresponsible behaviour. No doubt there is more to come. But we wont hear about it until it is too late.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Friday, Feb 15, 2019 @ 09:38

  5. Rachel Lever

    Is this a case of playing politics or is your headline stirring up a “controversy” that at the most is about form, not substance?

    Comment by Rachel Lever — Thursday, Feb 14, 2019 @ 12:58

  6. Richard

    It’s telling that the local Green party, who have done so much to try to encourage HBC to pursue a green agenda over the last few years, seem finally to have concluded that HBC’s commitment to this cause is more about words than action. Trying to greenwash money-making schemes such as the Country Park solar array is the height of cynicism from our local leadership. It would be a refreshing change if we could see HBC work imaginatively and collaboratively with local groups to generate radical plans to make our town a greener place – plans that could command broad and genuine community support. Please HBC… aim a bit higher!

    Comment by Richard — Thursday, Feb 14, 2019 @ 10:35

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