The Conservatives, who dominate East Riding of Yorkshire Council, used their power to force through a wrecking amendment to the Yorkshire Party’s initiative on the climate crisis.
The importance of the global environmental crisis was raised by Yorkshire Party Councillor Andy Walker, who demanded that Council took action locally.
Andy, the Party’s Environment Spokesperson, drew cross-party support for his resolution to demand East Riding of Yorkshire Council recognised and addressed the global climate emergency.
But the Tories’ amendment removed any reference to climate emergency and replaced the phrase “acknowledge that business-as-usual is not an option”, with “business-as-usual is working well”.
Andy said later: “This crass display of self-congratulation was brought by Councillor Chris Matthews, of Bridlington North,. Luckily we demanded a recorded vote which, I think, will show that every single one of the 48 Tory councillors voted for this dreadful amendment.
“Certainly all the Bridlington Conservatives did – a point our by-election candidate Paul Walker will make on every doorstep, in the run-up to the July 11 poll.
“Not a good day for the planet – I learned a lot and perhaps we can make the most of the Conservatives’ dinosaur image,” said Andy.
Yorkshire Party Leader Chris Whitwood said: “The Conservative councillors on East Riding Council have shown a wilful disregard not just to the global climate emergency affecting our entire planet but also to the direct harm that air pollution does to public health right here in Yorkshire.
“If we are to make a real difference, we need to have bold aims. Making ERYC carbon neutral by 2030 was just such an aim.
“I would like to echo the words of Andy Walker who said that there was a time for fossil fuels but that was last century not this.
“The fact that Conservative councillors are now applauding themselves for wrecking this cross-party and publicly supported resolution shows shameful arrogance towards the threats of climate change and complacency with regard to listening to the people they represent.”
Read how The Yorkshire Post reported the debate – Tories on Yorkshire council accused of “wrecking” motion to declare a climate emergency
Andy’s resolution was seconded by Lid Dem Councillor Linda Johnson, and drew other support.
The full resolution asked the Council to:
- Declare a Climate Emergency and publicise this to the people of the East Riding of Yorkshire to raise awareness and support the public to take effective action.
- Acknowledge that ‘business as usual’ in the face of this emergency is not an option.
- Request that Cabinet initiate a full Environmental Audit of East Riding of Yorkshire Council to measure its carbon footprint, identify hotspots and commit to being carbon neutral by the year 2030.
- To set up a Councillor Working Party including the appropriate Cabinet Lead with a remit to:
- Commission and oversee the Environmental Audit
- Identify practical measures to reduce emissions and the Council’s carbon footprint
- Encourage action in the wider community, businesses and other key organisations e.g. NHS and Educational Institutions
- Report to full Council within six months with an action plan to address the Emergency and incorporating proposals on the investment implications of this proposed activity
- The Council to consider Environmental Impact as part of every new policy
- The Council to seek to collaborate with other Local and Regional Authorities on emission reduction projects.
- The Leader of the Council to write to the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry requesting that national policy is urgently developed to reflect the seriousness of the current emergency and to release funds to local authorities that would allow them to take the necessary measures at local level.