Bid to declare climate emergency in Kettering

Kettering Council could be the latest authority to put climate change at the heart of every decision it makes.

The council will discuss whether to declare a climate emergency in the borough at its next full meeting on July 24, following in the footsteps of Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council last month.

Climate change rallies have been held across the country. Image by Project Rewild.

Climate change rallies have been held across the country. Image by Project Rewild.

If the bid is passed the council will commit to a target of making the area carbon neutral by 2030 and nominate a climate change champion. They will also place 'climate change implications' on all council agendas, request reports detailing actions taken to achieve the objectives and call on the unitary authority set to succeed them to continue the work.

The motion is being moved by Cllr Jim Hakewill (Ind) and Cllr Anne Lee (Lab), who said it was time for Kettering Council to lead the way.

In a joint statement, they said: "Formally declaring a climate emergency will raise awareness of what we can all do as individuals and for the council to lead the way, building on past actions and creating new policies.

"We fully expect a unanimous vote to approve this motion which sets aside party politics in favour of our future.

Former Kettering mayor Jim Hakewill is one of two councillors moving the motion.

Former Kettering mayor Jim Hakewill is one of two councillors moving the motion.

"We can all do our bit. By doing what we can as a council this will become a positive story, a story of hope that we can turn the tide of climate change.

"We owe it to future generations to take action. Our young people don't expect anything less from us."

About 100 other authorities across the country, as well as the UK Government, have already made the declaration.

At last month's Northamptonshire County Council debate young residents told councillors they 'feared for their future', adding that there was only 11 years until the damage to the planet becomes irreversible.

Labour councillor Anne Lee has also backed it.

Labour councillor Anne Lee has also backed it.

Cllrs Hakewill and Lee added: “Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment.

"Without drastic action today adapting to the impacts of climate change in the future will be more difficult, costly and at worst too late for our children and grandchildren.

"A climate emergency has already been declared for 60 per cent of the UK’s population. Northamptonshire County Council declared a climate emergency on June 20 and now it is Kettering Council's turn.

"We want to show that we are listening to what scientists and, in particular, young people are telling us about climate change to date and in the future. Public Health Northamptonshire is telling us about the effect of poor air quality on public health. We must take up our responsibility and response to such warnings.

"The question is not whether we can afford to do it, but whether we can afford not to do it, in the interest of the generations coming after us."

In June the UK committed to cutting greenhouse gases to almost net zero by 2050.

It means emissions from homes, industry and transport will have to be completely avoided or, in some circumstances, offset by planting trees or sucking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.