Director of Neighbourhoods to report
Further to the Council meeting held on 17th July 2019, where Members adopted a motion relating to Climate Change (minute 15(a) refers), the Director of Neighbourhoods gave a presentation updating Committee members on measures in place both in Rochdale, and the wider Greater Manchester region, to tackle this important issue.
The Committee was informed that on 8th October 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had published a report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission. The report warned that the risk of ‘catastrophic climate change’ including extreme heat, drought, flooding and climate-related poverty would significantly increase unless global warming could be kept to a maximum of 1.5°C. The report’s authors found that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate and say that urgent and unprecedented action is required to meet the target.
The Greater Manchester Mayor organised a Green Summit that was held in March 2019 at which a 5-Year Environment Plan was launched. The Plan’s ambitions requires urgent action from everyone in Greater Manchester – from businesses, the public sector, and local residents. The Plan set out how Greater Manchester’s local authorities and health sector would work to reduce environmental impact (of our buildings, vehicle fleets and procurement processes, in particular).there was a need to increase the efficiency of how businesses heat and power their buildings and produce goods/services, reducing the environmental impact of how their goods and staff travel, and installing renewable energy and heating technologies at their premises.
The key aspects of the Greater Manchester Plan included more efficient use of energy supplies – the source of power and heat buildings and transport; increasing local renewable electricity generation, de-carbonising how buildings are heated and increasing the diversity and flexibility of energy supplies. Another key aspect was travel and transport – to be achieved through increased use of public transport and active travel routes; phasing out fossil-fuelled private vehicles and replacing them with zero emission alternatives; tackling the most polluting vehicles on the roads; establishing a zero emissions bus fleet; de-carbonising freight transport and shifting to rail and water transport.
In terms of future action it was proposed that a draft strategy, setting how Rochdale Borough will contribute to the Greater Manchester five Year Environment Plan and achieve the target by 2028 would be presented to future meetings of this Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet. Closer links would be developed with partners and local businesses. It was proposed that a Working Group be established comprising Members of the Council and representatives of outside agencies. Also the development of a ‘climate emergency’ budget for the Borough setting out the level of investment needed to achieve established targets linking into discussions at Greater Manchester level around the Environment Plan.
The Committee notes and welcomes the Director of Neighbourhoods’ presentation and further notes his commitment for further action in relation to this matter.