STEPS towards declaring a climate emergency have been taken by Redditch Borough Council following pressure from newly-formed Redditch Climate Action Network (CAN).
But members of the environmental group gave a cautious welcome to the response they received at Monday’s full council meeting, calling a local councillor to be appointed as a climate change champion.
CAN co-ordinator Matthew Bennett said: “We are pleased the council appears to appreciate the seriousness of the crisis we face.
“But we need to see recognition of the urgency required to tackle the issue.
“We’re not trying to put the council under huge pressure, nor are we proposing a mission to Mars.”
At the meeting Mr Bennett gave a rousing speech asking the council to help reduce carbon emissions in the town to net zero.
Council leader Matt Dormer (Con, West) agreed saying climate change did need to be addressed and that it was entirely appropriate to declare a climate emergency.
He also committed to reducing carbon emissions and has instructed officers to draw up a ‘Sustainability Action Plan’ for the borough.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states with high confidence that a man-made carbon dioxide increase is causing rising global temperatures, the results of which we are already starting to witness,” he said,
“The IPCC report recognises however there are significant challenges which require action and co-operation at every level.
“Our council cannot rise to the challenge alone.”
According to Mr Bennett 85 other councils across the country have already declared a climate emergency, including Birmingham City Council.
Members of CAN will be looking closely at how other local authorities – districts and boroughs especially – tackle climate change.
“We want to see proof our council is taking ownership of its responsibilities to protect the lives its residents,” said Mr Bennett.
“Ideally we want an appointed member of the ruling group with responsibility to act as a champion for local policies and actions.
“We suggest the council utilises the resources available to them at county level when drawing up a Sustainability Action Plan.”
The activists also want the council to talk to local residents and organisations when drawing up its proposed actions.
CAN is currently compiling a list of proposals to relay to Redditch Borough Council at the July 22 full council meeting.
Members will be discussing the proposals as well as other other elements of the campaign at their next public meeting at the Redi Centre next Thursday July 4 from 7.30pm.