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Agenda item


To note the key activities and steps for 2021 in taking the climate emergency forward as Council and town to make Blackpool net-carbon neutral by 2030, and to give an overview of the Climate Assembly process.


The Committee considered an update on the key activities and steps for 2021 in taking the climate emergency forward as a Council and town to make Blackpool net-carbon neutral by 2030.


Ms Claire Hazelgrove, Organising and Political Engagement Director, Futuregov, and Mr Thomas Kohut, Principle Consultant, Futuregov, were welcomed to the meeting and provided an overview of the Climate Assembly and its planned next steps.


In order to determine the membership of the assembly, 8,000 residents had been contacted, from whom 300 had put themselves forward as potential representatives. Of those 40 had been selected to attend. These individuals had then been given assistance and training to ensure they could fully take part in the assembly process.


In parallel to the Climate Assembly a Youth Climate Assembly had been held to assist in capturing the views of young people in addressing the climate emergency in Blackpool. The youth assembly had focussed on energy, food, transport, green spaces and blue spaces.


Although the final recommendations of the Climate Assembly had yet to be confirmed the Committee was informed that the emerging issues included; making public transport and cycling the primary modes of transport in the town centre, exploring the potential of using Blackpool’s natural resources to generate energy, making housing more energy efficient, network building to ensure a unified approach to achieving carbon neutrality and supporting people to develop local climate emergency related projects.


Mr Scott Butterfield, Strategy, Projects and Research Manager informed the Committee that the emerging recommendations were considered to be helpful and that a further report on the outcomes of the assembly would be provided to a future meeting.


The Committee asked how the membership of the assembly had been determined from the 300 individuals who had put themselves forward. Ms Hazelgrove replied that the aim of the selection had been to ensure that the assembly reflected Blackpool’s population and demographics. Mr Butterfield added that they had also looked to include a wide selection of views on the Climate Emergency. He added that all those who had not been selected had been offered the opportunity to participate in a survey so that their views could be captured.


Members also noted that the assembly had used small “break-out” groups to discuss issues and asked if more details on these could be provided. Ms Hazelgrove answered that the use of smaller groups had been undertaken to allow everyone involved a chance to speak in a setting that was less intimidating than the full assembly and would facilitate discussion.


The Committee also asked how the representatives on the assembly had been supported, noting that some would not have had the same IT skills as others. In response, Ms Hazelgrove explained that where necessary devices had been provided and everyone involved had had the necessary training and support to ensure that they were comfortable with the technology being used.


Members welcomed the update and the information on the work of the Climate Assembly. It was considered however that more on the benefits to businesses  and on how people were being engaged could be included. It was also stressed that ongoing work was needed to ensure that the Council was held to account for the commitment it had made in the climate emergency declaration and actions going forward should be bold and ambitious.


The Committee also asked if any consideration had been given to ensuring air quality around schools and other education establishments. Mr Butterfield replied that air quality was a key issue and a pilot project was being developed in response to this, but Covid-19 had slowed progress. In addition, an Air Quality Strategy was being developed in relation to this issue. Ms Hazelgrove added that education was an important part of the assembly’s work and consideration was being given to how schools could be helped to understand and reduce their carbon footprints.


An action in the report stated that the Council would “explore” the use of LEDs for street lighting, the Committee queried this inclusion noting that Blackpool’s illuminations had used LEDs for a number of years and therefore the necessary knowledge should be available. Councillor Jim Hobson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment replied that a meeting would be taking place to discuss this issue but that a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) was in place for street lighting in Blackpool. Mr Andrew Duckett, Service Manager - Energy and Sustainability, Procurement and Projects added that the PFI issue was complex but that a business case for using LEDs was being looked into and that an update on progress could be provided to a future meeting.


The commitment in the Blackpool Tree Strategy to plant 2,000 trees in the town was queried, with Members asking where they would be planted. Councillor Hobson responded that consideration was being given to the where this would take place.


The Committee agreed:


1.      To receive a further report on the outcomes of the Climate Assembly to a future meeting.

2.      That an update on progress regarding the PFI for street lighting in Blackpool and use of LEDs be provided to a future meeting.

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