Green councillor's calls to protect 'vulnerable' South Tyneside from climate change

South Tyneside Council could become the latest local authority to declare a ‘climate emergency’ as part of a national drive to reduce carbon emissions.

Monday, 8th July 2019, 2:10 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 3:51 pm

In recent months, dozens of councils across the UK have passed motions calling on leaders to take urgent action over the consequences of climate change.

This follows a UN report which warned countries have until 2030 to take positive action amid warnings of a climate “catastrophe.”

Similar proposals will be discussed by South Tyneside councillors later this month on July 18.

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A motion, put forward by Green Party councillor David Francis, highlights the borough’s vulnerability to sea level rises and outlines targets to become ‘carbon neutral’.

This includes the council stamping out carbon emissions by 2025 with the rest of South Tyneside following by 2030, and a citizens assembly to place “community empowerment at the heart of all climate change policies.”

Coun Francis said: “More and more people across our borough are taking steps to tackle climate change, from reducing the number of flights they take to cutting down on meat consumption, and I hope we as a council are inspired by this commitment.

“Given increasing public awareness and concern about climate change, more people are demanding their councils and governments take the radical action that is so urgently needed.

“We owe it to our community, and to future generations to do the right thing, to lead by example and make a firm commitment to becoming carbon neutral.”

Coun Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, responded: “South Tyneside Council takes climate change very seriously and has worked tirelessly to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint through a number of interventions.

“We have invested in renewable technologies to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions, implemented transport schemes to reduce emissions and promote sustainable transport usage, invested millions in flood defences across the borough, increased recycling rates, invested in environmentally friendly measures across housing and council buildings, promoted sustainable regeneration and much more.

“However, we must not be complacent, there is always more that can be done and that is why we have already been working to see how we can build on our work to date.”