Buckinghamshire Council back-tracks on environment commitments

17 July 2020

The new council is getting off to a very bad start. A crucial motion to commit to carbon reduction, accepted as essential by all authorities, has been watered down so much as to be almost ineffective. Buckinghamshire Council has voted overwhelmingly to adopt a vaguely drawn up motion to 'evaluate reaching net zero for its own emissions no later than 2050 and possibly before this, potentially by 2030, subject to resources'. An objective to 'achieve net carbon zero for Buckinghamshire as a whole by 2050' was part of the motion. 

In the context of the unfolding environmental crisis, Green Councillor David Lyons, with support from opposition parties, had tabled an amendment setting a target date for net zero carbon of 2030 for the Council's activities. He was horrified at the lack of support from Conservative councillors, especially as the former Aylesbury Vale District Council had committed to such a target.  David was particularly critical of the words 'subject to resources'.  He fears that, with continuing difficult financial times ahead for all councils, this will make it too easy to abandon serious action to reduce carbon emissions and to pursue other equally important environmental programmes.  He pointed out that a shift to a greener economy is more important than ever to avoid environmental collapse and to create the jobs and businesses upon which the economy will depend in the future.  'What we don't want is to go back to our bad old ways of doing things with all the attendant pollution and waste', he said. 'I intend to question the council at every opportunity about their carbon emissions and their action plan for achieving net carbon zero'.