No local actions have reduced emissions to date: Progressive Group calls on Labour-led Council to step up efforts to tackle climate change

The Progressive Group of councillors say the Council risks misleading the public into thinking more significant action is being taken than actually is on tackling carbon emissions in Exeter. They have written to the portfolio holder for climate change, Cllr Duncan Wood, calling for a concerted city wide effort, including communicating accurate information to local residents and businesses.[1]

They say that the Council declared a ‘climate emergency’ for Exeter in 2019 but by focusing only on action to address the Council's own operational activities, Labour will fail to achieve the agreed goal for the city to be Net Zero by 2030.

Green Councillor Diana Moore said:

“The publication of the Exeter Greenhouse Gas Inventory in 2019 set out the areas that need attention - such as insulating homes and businesses, protecting and investing in green spaces and reducing transport emissions. This report should have served as a stark wake up call as it made clear that no policies, nor actions taken by the Council, authorities or others in Exeter over the last ten years have resulted in greenhouse gas reductions. Only national action to decarbonise the national energy grid has led to carbon emissions reductions.

Both residents and businesses should know what City wide action has been taken since 2019 and what is planned in future so they can contribute to this effort and make investment decisions."

Green councillor Cllr Tess Read said:

“It was generally accepted that, as the Net Zero 2030 plan for the city was prepared just before lockdown, that it was ‘just a start’. Climate change raises real risks for the city, such as flooding, overheating and the impact on nature, which need to be widely understood. Everyone needs to be better informed and understand how we respond and adapt to the impact of climate change."

Liberal Democrat councillor Cllr Michael Mitchell said:

“We need to see honest and transparent information about all the City's work on climate change to explain and involve the public and business in what's going on. The Council declared the Climate emergency on behalf of the City, so it should ensure this important work is clearly and openly coordinated.”

Notes:

[1]  See full letter