15 January 2020
Surrey County Council should create a dedicated staff team to make sure it delivers on its commitment to reducing its carbon emissions, say Surrey Greens.
The Federation of Surrey Green Parties has published a ‘Climate Delivery Plan’ to assist the County Council as it finalises its budget for the 2020/21 financial year.
Cllr Jonathan Essex, Green County Councillor for Redhill East, said: “Surrey needs to raise its ambition. Rather than getting its own house in order in ten years, with an overall net-zero carbon target of 2050 – which is far too late – we need to get the public sector to net-zero in five years and the rest of Surrey in ten.”
Green Cllr Steve Williams, who is Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability on Waverley Borough Council, said: “Surrey County Council has recognised the climate emergency – now they need to act on it. We propose the formation of a ‘Net Zero Finance, Procurement and Infrastructure’ Team to draw up and implement a detailed Climate Action Plan.”
The Greens propose a total of at least 20 new staff, at an estimated cost of £800,000.
The new officer team is one of three key recommendations in the Greens’ Climate Delivery Plan, along with tasking senior officers to reduce the carbon from every activity across all departments of the council, and developing a Climate Contract between Government, local authorities and private and public sector partners to secure the funds needed to deliver climate goals.
The Greens point out that as 46% of Surrey’s emissions come from the transport sector and 28% from housing, the biggest gains will be won by prioritising the decarbonisation of transport, properties and planning across the county.
Cllr Williams said: “Only a radical, integrated approach can meaningfully address the climate emergency to the timescale required. Surrey County Council must lead the way by achieving net-zero carbon emissions in its own operations in the next five years. And it should develop partnerships to help Surrey’s Borough and District councils achieve their own net zero targets too.”
“Action now, at sufficient scale and pace, will future-proof Surrey’s thriving economy and bring benefits at all levels. Greens across Surrey – as well as climate campaigners and residents – will be watching and demanding real action.”
Further information and to arrange interviews: Sarah Finch 07870 823485
Notes to Editors
An outline of the Council’s proposed budget is here: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/finance-and-performance/surrey-county-council-budget-202021