On Monday 16th September at September’s full council meeting, Walsall Labour presented a notice of motion regarding calling a climate emergency in Walsall and to set a target for Walsall to become a net Zero Carbon authority by 2030. The motion was proposed by Walsall Labour Group Leader Councillor Aftab Nawaz, and supported by Walsall Labour Group Deputy Leader Councillor Khizar Hussain, Walsall Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Ian Shires, Councillor Rose Burley, Councillor Lee Jeavons, Councillor Angela Underhill, Councillor Naheed Gultasib and Councillor Richard Worrall.
The motion proposed that the council recognises the following:
- Climate Change is having a marked impact on the lives of the people of Walsall
and of the world.
- The impact of Climate Change is a real threat to the future of our World and there
is a responsibility on all of us to do all we can to reduce the negative impact from
our activities on the environment.
- As a Local Authority we have a negative impact on the environment through our
use of fossil fuels, energy wastage, inefficiencies in insulation of our buildings, the
reliance on diesel fuelled vehicles and machinery etc
If the motion was successful this council would therefore resolve to call a Climate Emergency – as a number of boroughs across the country have done so.
If the council accepts that there is a Climate Emergency, Walsall Council should resolve to develop strategies to reduce it’s Carbon Footprint and commit to making Walsall Council a net Zero Carbon authority by the year 2030.
The motion was debated by the councillors and the Walsall Conservatives agreed with the Walsall Labour notice of motion, but sought an amendment to push back the date for Walsall Council to be a net Zero Carbon authority from 2030 to 2050.
Walsall Conservative Leader and Council Leader Councillor Mike Bird said that he wanted to ensure there was a achievable plan in place and added that 2030 was an unrealistic target.
During the meeting, Rushall-Shelfield Labour councillor Richard Worrall said that Wolverhampton City Council had set a target date of 2028, while Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council had set the target date at 2030. Councillor Worrall also pointed out that the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) had itself set a target of 2041 to be at net Zero Carbon.
Walsall Labour Group Leader Councillor Aftab Nawaz said:
“You don’t declare an emergency and then put it off for 30 years.
“We should have ambitions for Walsall. Other councils have set 2030 and if they can achieve it and then we can achieve it.
Labour Councillor Lee Jeavons said:
“In 2050, I’ll be 81 and it will probably be my grandchildren then who we’ve passed the baton on to. That seems a bit unfair to me.”
Labour Councillor Ian Robertson said:
“It does make a mockery of the urgency of there being an emergency when you change the date to 2050.”
The Walsall Labour notice of motion was passed with a Walsall Conservative amendment changing to target date for Walsall Council to be a net Zero Carbon authority from 2030 to 2050.