Agenda item

The Challenge of Climate Change in Rochdale

An audit report regarding the Council’s ongoing response to the Climate Emergency is attached.

Minutes:

The Committee scrutinised an Internal Audit report into the issues surrounding the ongoing ‘climate emergency’ which the Council had declared on 17th July 2019. The report described how the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had published a report in 2018 which noted the impact of global warming of an increase of only 1.5C would have a catastrophic impact on climate change, for example, extreme heat, drought and flooding. If global warming continued at the current rate, this increase would expect to be reached between 2030 and 2052.

 

At the full Council meeting on 17th July 2019, Rochdale’s councillors approved a Climate Emergency Declaration. The main aim of the declaration was that the Council (and the wider borough of Rochdale) would aim to be carbon neutral by 2038. The Council recognises the scale of the challenge to be unprecedented, with 97.5% of emissions within the borough beyond the

Council’s direct control.

 

The government’s target was to be carbon neutral by 2050, but the Authority recognises the leadership role it has in the Borough and had set the target for 2038 which aligned with the target by the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

 

A report to Cabinet on 28 January 2020 by the Director of Neighbourhoods entitled ‘Response to Climate Emergency’ was approved. This report set out a framework for delivery, suggesting what actions and leadership was needed to work towards the ambitions of the Council’s declaration.

 

This work was in its early stages, moving from the declaration, through the delivery of investment, policy initiatives from the Government and alignment with the Greater Manchester (GM) Five Year Environment Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Council was to build actions from these initial plans in their drive towards achieving carbon neutrality by the target date of 2038.

 

The audit report entailed a brief high-level review to ensure that initial steps were being taken and that the foundations were in the process of being laid from which future work can be done.

 

At a more detailed level the scope established assurance with regard to: a Climate Emergency Officer post; a Climate Emergency Business Group; a Climate Emergency Working Group; a detailed Climate Emergency Working Plan; and that the Council’s Plan/Strategy is aligned with the Greater Manchester Five Year Environment Plan. Another initiative that was under review was a proposal was for Rochdale Borough Council to establish a scrutiny committee that was dedicated wholly to issues surrounding and relating to the Climate Emergency.

 

In an effort to address this issue, the Chair suggested that he meet with the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Council’s other two Overview and Scrutiny Committees (Corporate and Health, Schools and Care) to consider ways that the authority can effectively scrutinise the Council’s response to the Climate Emergency.

 

Resolved:

That the Committee’s clerk be requested to convene a meeting between the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Council’s three Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Sustainability and the Climate Change and Sustainability Project Manager, to examine effective ways in which the Authority can scrutinise its response to the Climate Emergency that was declared on 17th July 2019.

Supporting documents: