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County Council declares a climate change emergency

Staffordshire County Council has declared a ‘climate emergency’ on a day that saw record-breaking high temperatures across the UK.

In a meeting of the County Council today (Thursday), councillors vowed to refresh the Council’s climate change strategy, continue their support to local councils in tackling climate change, and committed to providing a strong, unified voice on behalf of councils when lobbying the Government.

County Councillor Conor Wileman, Cabinet Support Member for Environmental Future, put forward the motion.

He said:

“Declaring an emergency on climate change is an important first step; what we need to do now is set ambitious but achievable targets to protect our environment and reduce carbon emissions. The council has already over recent years reduced its carbon footprint significantly but we recognise that much more must be done. We will work closely with our district and borough partners and continue to lobby the Government to address this climate emergency and consider the implementation of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“We will act quickly to set stretching targets for Staffordshire following the Government’s commitment to net zero carbon emission by 2050 and bring forward our proposals to meet these targets this year.”

The declaration, which has cross-party support, comes a month after the county council launched its air quality initiative, which aims to improve air quality in the county.

Work so far includes developing travel plans with businesses to reduce the number of single workers commuting, improving air quality around schools and looking at the future demand for electric car charging points in Staffordshire.

Running until the summer of 2020, the project aims for a 10 per cent reduction in local contributions on air pollution emissions and concentrations, and the county council is working with Staffordshire’s eight districts and boroughs, as well as Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Highways England.

Helen Fisher, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Transport and Highways, said:

“Exposure to air pollution is costing lives and damaging the health of others, with children and older people particularly susceptible.

“This is a problem for everyone in our society and we are going to have to work together to make a difference.”

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