Monday 20th January 2020
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23/07/2019 - Council to take urgent action to tackle Climate Change

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Luton Council’s Executive last night made a public commitment to carry out more urgent work to tackle climate change and to do so at a faster pace than targets set by the UK Government.

While the council’s number one priority remains eradicating poverty within the town by 2040, all 10 Executive Members unanimously agreed that there is much more the council can and should be doing to tackle the global issue.

The council will now immediately seek independent scientific expert advice to help set an ambitious target for all council operations being carbon neutral and another target for the council’s wider partners achieving the same. Both commitments will be set before the Government’s target of 2050.

It was also agreed that the council will establish a cross-party Climate Change Sub-Group of its Executive to drive Climate Change activity within the council and across the town, and will provide an updated report and work programme in October 2019, including setting out how the community, stakeholders and experts will be involved.

A further report will then be brought back in January 2020 setting out a more detailed plan of how zero net carbon will be achieved.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for the Environment, said: “Climate change is a real issue that affects every single one of us and time is running out to prevent a global catastrophe. That is why we are not only going to set an ambitious target to make the council carbon neutral, but we are going to work across political parties and as leaders of the town to ensure all of our partners do the same.

“We have already achieved a lot over the last few years to reduce our carbon footprint such as energy efficiency measures being introduced across council buildings and housing estate, launching an electric car club with many more charging points being installed and ongoing promotion of walking and cycling across the town. We’ve also created three air quality action zones on the motorway and town centre and introduced various highway scheme s to improve traffic flow.

“We also need to make it clear that we will achieve this without losing sight of our absolute commitment of continuing to grow our economy and creating jobs and opportunities for our local people as part of our anti-poverty ambitions.

“With the airport being the town’s biggest and most important asset in driving economic growth and prosperity, we are fully aware of the adverse effects of airport operations which is why our airport company has recently invested in an aviation-leading air quality testing station and why we’ve asked them to produce a sustainability strategy as part of future growth proposals.

“We all need to be in this together and success will rely on engagement with our communities, especially young people, and also with other with other local authorities so we can collectively lobby government for funds to address Climate Change at a local and regional level.”​
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