Fears Portsmouth council has not 'got the green agenda running through its business' spark fresh calls for action

INCREASING parking charges, encouraging greener public transport and working with other council are all ideas that could be discussed by Portsmouth councillors after fears were raised over lack of climate change action.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 4:21 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 5:46 pm

Labour politicians will ask their peers to consider a series of 'low cost actions' in a bid to accelerate carbon reduction during a full council meeting on Tuesday.

Group members claimed the Lib Dem administration has not ‘got the green agenda running through’ the heart of its work following the unanimous declaration of a climate emergency last year.

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Climate change emergency declared in Portsmouth

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Protesters at a die-in protest in the Guildhall square in 2019. (L-R) Sophie Cardinal, Rayner Piper, Darren Fry. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

City councillor Judith Smyth submitted her motion for debate next week. She said: 'The list I have put together is not expensive to implement.

I understand that we have been in austerity – but I am not sensing that the cabinet has got the green agenda running through its business as it should. We can't just carry on as normal without being green to the core.'

Other outline business plans in the motion include charging employers for off-street parking and then using that cash to fund green initiatives - a move that brings in around £9m in revenue to Nottingham City Council - and calling a cross party working group to make affordable recommendations for the 2020/21 budget.

But the council's environment boss, Cllr Dave Ashmore, said a lot of these ideas had already been considered. 'We have agreed unanimously there's a climate emergency and we are going to do whatever we can about it in Portsmouth,' he said.

'We have already approved our clean air strategy, which is now with the government for a decision.

'There are points in there about transport and getting bids going out for the rapid transport scheme which should make it easier and better for people in Portsmouth to get around.

'We have got a climate board set up which is chaired by a professor from the University of Portsmouth and has stakeholders from all over the city.'

One of Extinction Rebellion's co-ordinator's Nick Sebley agreed with Cllr Smyth. He added: 'I think there is a sense of frustration about the gulf between what the council says in relation to the climate emergency and the actions it has taken.

'Words are cheap, the only true measure of a council's sincerity on de-carbonisation is its policies.'

The motion will be debated on Tuesday, January 14.