'Pathetic' borough council climate action planned slammed by councillor

  Posted: 04.12.20 at 10:51 by David Lawrence - Local Democracy Reporter

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An action plan drawn up by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council to help combat the climate emergency has been dubbed as pathetic, undercooked and lacking teeth.

A cross-party working group was set-up at the start of the year to advise on the actions and timescales required to make the council’s activities carbon neutral by 2030.

Five meetings have been held – either face-to-face or virtual – and the group presented their action plan to this week’s full council meeting for approval.

Among the proposals are ones to lower the temperature in the borough swimming pools, introduce more recycling bins into the Town Hall and plant around 100 trees each year.

But Cllr Keith Kondakor (Green, Weddington), a member of the working group, said the plan did not go far enough.

“I was very happy we voted for a climate emergency declaration and bitterly disappointed what the outcome was,” he explained.

“This plan is like chucking a cup of water on a forest fire. It is totally inadequate and nowhere near what other councils in Warwickshire are doing. It is lacking any teeth or any substance.

“If we take the issue of planting trees then this council has been systematically chopping trees down at our housing complexes, particularly at Weddington at the moment where we lost a beautiful oak tree a couple of weeks ago.

"The ambition to plant 100 trees is totally worthless, we need to be planting tens of thousands of trees and this council is not even replacing the trees lost to housing.

“This is a really pathetic attempt. All the basic stuff of making this a walkable, sustainable green borough isn’t happening. We have an emergency and we have to treat it like an emergency.”

There was also opposition from the Conservative group, most of whom abstained from the vote.

Group leader Cllr Kris Wilson (Con, Whitestone) said: “There are many laudable issues within this proposed action plan but unfortunately it is lacking in some of the basics and fundamentals that you would expect to see in an action plan that we have designated – quite rightly – as an emergency.

“Nowhere in this document does it say how many tonnes of CO2 each year this council is responsible for. If we don’t know the baseline how do we know that whatever measures we put into place are successful? There have been no targets put in place.

“This report is undercooked. It is lacklustre in many respects and fails to actually address a number of the fundamental issues we need to look at.”

The committee voted to approve the action plan and elected Cllr Chris Watkins (Lab, Kingswood) as the council’s representative on Warwickshire’s Climate Action Group.

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