Question from: County Councillor Jackie Charlton Subject: Climate Emergency costs
Can the Portfolio Holder please outline for me the associated costs alluded to you and other council members on 30 July 2020 in respect of the Climate Emergency and Local Electricity Bill Motion? The five areas covered by the motion are outlined below for you to address and comment on. Next to each one here is my comment which was carefully considered before the Motion was delivered.
1. Join with other councils across Wales in declaring a Climate Emergency (No cost)
2. Support the implementation of Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales (March 2019) to make Powys County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030. (Strategic statement already agreed by Welsh Government in 2019 and could realise substantial savings)
3. Assign Roles within the cabinet to lead on Climate Change mitigation and to actively engage with all members and stakeholders by: A. setting up a cross-party working group and, B. establishing a Powys-wide multi-stakeholder group, to develop a baseline picture @2020 and bring forward a strategy and action plan @2021 for a truly sustainable Powys. (No cost working group already established, stakeholders are all volunteers and bring with them a wealth of expertise, quasi lead role in cabinet but no cost should this be changed.)
4. Support our MPs to ensure the Local Electricity Bill succeeds in an Adjournment Debate to encourage and enable the local supply of electricity and facilitate more resilient Powys communities. (No cost but could bring in substantial economic benefits to the Powys population)
5. Ask Welsh and UK Governments to provide the necessary support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions and transition to a green Powys economy. (No cost already agreed by Welsh Government, as suggested at the meeting on 30 July 2020)
Response by the Portfolio Holder:
The costs of making Powys a net zero carbon local authority by 2030 are currently unknown. Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales (March 2019) sets out Welsh Government’s ambition for a carbon neutral public sector by 2030 however to date no guidance or dedicated financial resources have been made available to help achieve this.
Further work is needed to scope out the implications and costs associated with the Council meeting this aim. A low carbon action plan will be prepared to provide a framework and baseline position from which interventions can be developed and progress can be monitored. You will appreciate the significant financial challenges facing the Council and a clear understanding and consideration of the cost implications, potential return on investment and funding sources will be an essential part of this process. The work will include an evaluation of potential options, including cost-benefit analysis, to identify prioritised actions which are affordable, deliverable and will have a positive impact while making the most efficient use of resources.
Funding has recently been approved for the recruitment of a new Climate Change Officer post which is currently underway. It is intended that the preparation of the action plan will be co-ordinated by this officer working across services and will be overseen by the newly established Cross Party Working Group on Climate Change.