Brighton & Hove City Council last night voted to cut its CO2 emissions by ten per cent in the next year , after a Notice of Motion presented by Green Cllr Alex Phillips received unanimous, cross-party support.
In her maiden speech as a councillor, the newly elected Goldsmid Cllr proposed that the council join the 10:10 campaign – thereby committing to reducing carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2010.
Speaking after the Hove Town Hall meeting, Alex said:
“I’m delighted the Tories have had a change of heart and agreed to sign up to this important campaign.
“Currently, the council is failing badly when it comes to lowering our carbon emissions – but doing more can seem like an uphill battle, with distant, hard to reach goals.
“Signing up to the 10:10 campaign means breaking down the task we face into much more manageable chunks."
Unfortunately, the cross-party support disappeared though when fellow Green councillor Paul Steedman proposed setting annual targets for further year-on-year cuts after 2010.
He had proposed annual cuts sufficient to reach the targets of a 42% cut in CO2 emissions by 2020 as recommended by the Government's advisory Committee on Climate Change, and cuts of 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2050 - but both Tory and Labour councillors rejected his proposals.
It's great to see this first step - that Tory and Labour councillors are prepared to take real action on cutting the Council's carbon emissions is good news.
But both Labour and the Tories need to move beyond the sound-bites and the 'easy wins', and start being really radical and ambitious, if we are going to have even a chance of making a difference on climate change.
Obviously, one council alone can't make a lot of difference: but this is yet another case when the Council could show real leadership in a way that drives others' behaviour and does have a real impact.
One day Labour and the Tories will understand the challenge we face - I just hope it's not too late when they do.