03:30PM, Thursday 23 December 2021
Slough Borough Council has approved a key climate change document as it aims to become carbon neutral by the year 2040.
The paper – called the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan - provides analysis of how Slough will meet this commitment and how the town will adapt to the risks posed by climate change.
Aims include reducing emissions from the council’s own estate and operations, as well as promoting sustainable transport, increasing recycling and reducing waste.
Monday’s cabinet meeting heard that the council is responsible for just over one per cent of the total emissions in the borough, but that it is also in a position of ‘influence’ which can help drive change.
Cabinet member for council assets and performance Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) told the meeting that the aims within the strategy and action plan were realistic ones.
“As a society I do not think we are going to get emissions down by some hippie revolution all sitting in the dark eating lentils for breakfast,” he said. “We are going to do it by utilising the things we are good at: technology, change management, and education.
"If anybody is going to do it, I think we could."
Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) asked whether the climate paper was being interlinked with the council’s emerging local plan.
Principal environment officer Charles Campbell replied that his team has been working ‘extensively’ with the planning department.
"As we develop the strategy and action plan we have been working closely with planning policy for their views and perspectives on this," he said.
"Over 57 per cent of the emissions in the borough relate to the built environment. The local plan is perhaps the most important council policy in terms of ensuring we progress in terms of delivering our targets and that is why we have been engaging with the planning policy team extensively on this."
Deputy leader of the council, Cllr Pavitar Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough), was concerned that the wording within the action plan was not 'ambitious enough in terms of what we could achieve in the local plan'.
Mr Campbell replied by saying that he was always open to suggestions from councillors to help the actions 'progress further'.
Cllr Swindlehurst put forward two conditions to add to the recommendation before councillors.
He asked that the climate document be ‘integrated’ into other key council papers such as the local plan. , while the leader also requested for a progress update to be brought back to cabinet in the summer.
This passed unanimously.
Monday's meeting also heard a lengthy debate ensue over the council's use of external companies to help its services make savings.