Northamptonshire climate action group welcomes council's UK100 decision

The climate group said that 'transparency' will help constituents know how do their bit
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Climate Action - West Northants (CA-WN) has voiced its support for West Northamptonshire Council's (WNC) decision to join the UK100, which was decided in its full council meeting earlier this month.

The UK100, which bills itself as 'a network for UK local authorities focused solely on climate, clean air and clean energy action', supports councils in what they call a 'global problem with local solutions.'

The decision came just a month after protests took place in Northampton, inspired by the COP26 event in Glasgow.

Increasing use of renewable energy could be key to reducing emissionsIncreasing use of renewable energy could be key to reducing emissions
Increasing use of renewable energy could be key to reducing emissions

Jane Wood, chair of Climate Action – West Northamptonshire, said: “This is such an important step for West Northamptonshire and I congratulate the council on this decision. Of course, as we have seen on a global scale, making climate action commitments is just the start.

"Putting those commitments into practice is the real test and Climate Action–West Northamptonshire is keen to know more about what the council is planning to do and (critically) when. climate change is a real and present threat to the health and security of our region and everyone living here, and we need to act now.

"The climate strategy and consultation the council is planning to launch in January needs to be immediately followed by substantive action.”

Upon joining, West Northamptonshire Council will agree to the UK100 membership pledge.

It states, among other things, that the council will be 'making substantial progress within the next decade to deliver Net Zero’ and do ‘everything within its power and influence’ to cut WNC’s own greenhouse gas emissions and support emissions reduction in the wider community.

The CA-WN chairwoman added: “I do feel the council could do more to proactively inform residents and businesses across the area of the planned consultation on climate strategy.

"Implementing actions quickly and effectively will be much easier if WNC’s plans are widely understood and supported, and to achieve that communication and engagement will be key.

"Consequently our behaviour, as individuals and as a society, has to change. It’s great that WNC is positioning itself to lead our area through those changes, but I want to see them do more to inform and engage residents.”

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, Leader of the Council, Leader of the Conservative Group and Cabinet Member for Strategy, said the complexity of the issue, and number of people affected, requires the Council to make the plan 'as right as we can' before launching their strategy.

He said: "Climate change and environmental issues is a vital part of WNC’s work and focus towards wider sustainability, but the Sustainability Strategy we’re putting together will also look at economic and social sustainability as being important.

"The three are interconnected and we now feel that if we’re to be effective on sustainability then they cannot be looked at in isolation. All three elements are also given prominence in the 17 UN Sustainability Goals agreed in 2015 at COP21 and evaluated more recently during COP26.

"Work within the environmental pillar is the most progressed here, however economic and social sustainability are of course areas in which the council is also already undertaking significant work, through initiatives including our economic regeneration plans and Anti-Poverty Strategy.

"We just need to take the time to get this right, as it’s so important.

"The sustainability of our West Northants area is the collective responsibility of every resident, business, group, sector and so on, all pulling towards the same direction, and needs to become something that everybody feels a commitment to, and also that remains alive beyond council electoral cycles."

Once launched, the Council plans to consult on their strategy in January.