East Suffolk Council to open environment task force to all members
PUBLISHED: 12:25 23 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:25 23 August 2019
A task force being set up to make a Suffolk council carbon neutral by 2030 is to be opened up to all members.
East Suffolk Council last month agreed a motion to declare a climate emergency, and vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030.
A task force is now being set-up to steer the process, but plans have been voiced for the whole council to feed into it.
Conservative councillor James Mallinder, cabinet member for environment said: "The first item on the agenda will be creating a task group where we will be looking at and analysing our policies that exist at the moment.
"We have inherited strong policies from Waveney and Suffolk Coastal and want to see if they are fit for purpose, look for gaps in our agenda, and make sure we start making sure the environment is the number one priority.
"What we are doing slightly different to other councils is making sure this task group is open to all council members.
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"It's important everybody is engaged in this process, so we will use this as a bit of a think tank where we invite outside speakers to come and speak to us, run workshops where we look at particular topics, and these will be drafted up with engagement with the cabinet."
Mr Mallinder said the group would not only look at new policies that can reduce carbon emissions, but also assess existing policies, and would consider all areas of council business.
Both Mr Mallinder and Peter Byatt, leader of the opposition Labour group, said it was important for it not to become a political issue, with Mr Byatt welcoming the approach to allow all councillors to feed into the task group.
"I certainly welcome it, and I think it is about what we do with that information [fed into the group]," he said.
"We have to see results from what is fed into it. It needs to bed itself in, ask the right questions and put feelers out to the community."
Among key areas expected to be looked at will be planning policies for developers coming forward, such as encouraging solar panels, waste collection and wildlife corridors.
Suffolk County Council declared a climate emergency earlier this year, with Ipswich, East Suffolk, and Mid Suffolk following suit soon over the summer.
Babergh District Council has acknowledged a state of climate emergency but went one step short of formally declaring the situation, while West Suffolk has a motion in the pipeline.