Decision Maker: Executive, Council
Decision status: Recommmend Forward to Council
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Climate Change Manager presented the annual review of the Carbon Reduction Strategy.
Members were advised that when the Carbon Reduction Strategy was approved by Members in autumn 2022, it had been agreed that there should be an annual review of the strategy and the Council’s progress with achieving carbon reduction targets. Following the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency, the authority was aiming to achieve net zero by 2040. The aims and objectives detailed in the strategy would enable the Council to address this objective.
In terms of the targets detailed in the report, seven had already commenced or been completed whilst four remained to be started. In particular, there had been a significant amount of work undertaken in respect of Local Authority Delivery Phase 3 (LAD 3), to retrofit properties in the private sector for low income households. The Town Hall improvement works that had already been undertaken as well as a reduction of 41 per cent in car mileage for staff employed by Redditch Borough Council had also had a significant impact on the progress that had been achieved to date.
During consideration of this item, reference was made to a recommendation on this subject that had been proposed at a meeting of the Performance Scrutiny Working Group held in January 2024 and endorsed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at a meeting held on 1st February 2024. The recommendation from Overview and Scrutiny proposed the following:
“That tree and hedgerow planting be added to the list of performance measures in the Carbon Reduction Strategy.”
The recommendation was proposed by Councillor Bill Hartnett and seconded by Councillor Joe Baker.
Members subsequently debated the recommendation from Overview and Scrutiny in detail and in doing so commented on the following:
· The rationale underpinning the recommendation.
· The extent to which it would be feasible to include a measure focusing on the number of trees and hedgerows planted in the Borough.
· The focus of the Carbon Reduction Strategy and action plan on action that could be taken by the Council and the fact that the Council could not control or accurately measure tree planting in the private sector.
· The potential for tree and hedgerow planting to be applied as a condition when the Council granted planning consent to developers.
· The fact that the Council had no control over the location in which trees would be planted by developers.
· The need for the Council to rely on developers to volunteer information about the trees and hedgerows planted in the Borough. Members noted that not all developers would share this information.
· The problem of Ash Die Back and the number and range of tree species that were being planted in Redditch to replace trees in the Borough that had that disease.
· The potential for the Council to demonstrate that it was leading by example, should measures in respect of tree and hedgerow planting be included in the Carbon Reduction Strategy’s action plan.
· The positive impact that tree and hedgerow planting could have on biodiversity in the Borough.
· The significant number of trees that were already in situ within the Borough.
At the end of these discussions, Members noted that the Council could aim to roll into the process information about the numbers of trees and hedgerows planted on Council land as well as information on this subject supplied voluntarily by developers. However, as this would not be a mandatory requirement of developers, Members commented that this could not be made into a formal measure in the Carbon Reduction Strategy and action plan. On this basis, the recommendation was withdrawn.
Consideration was also given to the measure in the strategy focusing on cutting the Council’s paper waste by offering papers electronically. Concerns were raised about this measure, with some Members commenting that many Councillors preferred to be able to refer to Committee agenda packs in paper form only and concerns were raised that restrictions on access to paper copies of agenda packs could be discriminatory. However, it was noted that the choice remained available to Members to continue to receive paper copies of agenda packs and Members were asked to note that this measure applied generally to all Council services, not just to Council and Committee meetings.
1) Council endorse the findings of this annual review of the Carbon Reduction Strategy; and
2) Council accept the proposal to align Carbon Reduction Strategy measures to the Climate Action Scorecard into an accessible performance dashboard.
Report author: Judith Willis
Publication date: 12/02/2024
Date of decision: 06/02/2024
Decided at meeting: 06/02/2024 - Executive
Effective from: 17/02/2024