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Agenda item


To consider an update on the approach taken as a result of the Council’s Climate Emergency declaration.


Mr Scott Butterfield, Strategy, Policy and Research Manager and Mr Andrew Duckett, Service Manager Energy and Sustainability, presented a report on the work undertaken in response to the Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency. Mr Butterfield informed Members that the declaration had set out various ambitions for Blackpool including being net-zero carbon and achieving 100% clean energy across Council services by 2030. In response, the Council had identified four major themes to achieve the declaration;


-          Emissions Reduction

-          Town Engagement

-          Culture Change

-          Wider Influence


These themes were being used to develop an Action Plan, with consideration of climate emergency issues also being built into the Council’s future strategies and policies.


Mr Duckett informed Members of the Committee that the Council had adopted a science based approach to determine how best to achieve the targets set out in the declaration. Action that would be undertaken included updating the sustainability strategy, reducing emissions generated by the Council, reducing waste, improving energy efficiency and moving to renewable energy systems.


The Committee queried if the targets outlined in the declaration were achievable. Mr Butterfield responded that work was underway to identify actions that needed to be undertaken to achieve the 2030 target. Part of this would include supporting a proposed young person assembly on climate change where views would be sought regarding what the priorities for Blackpool should be. Mr Butterfield undertook to provide the action plan to Members of the Committee once it had been finalised in consultation with senior officers. Officers would also be seeking to determine what funding streams were available to support achieving the targets outlined in the declaration. Councillor Fred Jackson, Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport and Climate Change, added that good progress had been achieved since the declaration had been made and that it was important to emphasise that everyone had a role to play in addressing climate change.


Members noted that the declaration had stated a Citizen’s Assembly should have been held in 2019 to identify priorities for addressing climate change in Blackpool. As one had not taken place, it was queried why this was the case. Councillor Jackson responded that the Council had felt that the timing had not been right to hold an assembly in 2019. Mr Butterfield added that other events, such as the December 2019 General Election, would have prevented an assembly being held in 2019. He added that the approximate cost of an assembly, based on how other local authorities had organised similar events, would be a minimum of £35k and that it would be important for the Council to identify the actions it should undertake before holding an assembly. Therefore no timetable for holding a Citizens Assembly had been determined. Mr Butterfield stated that the conclusions of the proposed Young Person’s Citizen’s Assembly would represent a good starting point for consideration of the issues by the wider public.


It was noted that the Sustainability Strategy contained a reference to using shale gas as part of considerations to move to clean energy. The Committee therefore asked why gas was considered sustainable. Mr Duckett replied that the Council was not looking at using shale gas to address its future energy needs and that the reference had been included so that all options would be considered. Mr Butterfield stated that the strategy was approved in 2018 and would need updating to account for the Council’s opposition to fracking.


Members asked what methods of energy generation the Council would likely use for its future energy needs, including options for wind power such as that used at the Solaris Centre. In response Mr Duckett stated that the urban nature of Blackpool and the lack of space made identifying sources of energy generation difficult but that the Council was looking at a variety of possibilities. He added that whatever scheme was chosen it would have to be commercially viable.


The Committee agreed that a copy of the Climate Emergency Action Plan be brought to the next meeting of the Tourism, Economy and Communities Scrutiny Committee once it had been developed.

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