Disappointment as Brentwood Council vote down Climate Emergency declaration

29 July 2021

Brentwood Borough Council meeting

Brentwood and Chelmsford Green Party are naturally disappointed but not surprised by the response of the ruling group on Brentwood Council, who refused to Declare a Climate Emergency at last night’s meeting. 

A Labour Party motion, which we supported, put forward by Cllr Dr Tim Barrett and seconded by Cllr Gareth Barrett, detailed the current climate science and need for urgent action, pointing out that: “Councils and Parliaments around the world are responding by declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ and committing resources to address this emergency.”

However, although Liberal Democrat councillors voted in favour of it, the Conservative administration voted against, and the motion failed. 

“Sadly it seems that Conservative councillors still fail to appreciate both the seriousness and immediacy of the climate crisis facing the planet,” said Brentwood Greens campaigner Paul Jeater.

Other resolutions did pass, committing the Council to do the following:

  • pledge to do everything within the Council's power to make Brentwood Borough Council area carbon neutral by 2040
  • seek the provision to provide the powers and resources to make the 2040 target possible
  • work with other authorities (both within the UK and internationally) to determine and implement best practice methods to limit Global Warming to less than 1.5°C
  • continue to work with partners across the borough and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans

The original motion put forward by Cllr Tim Barrett had called for a carbon neutral date of 2030. An amendment was proposed by Council Leader Cllr Chris Hossack of 2050, as he described a 2030 carbon neutral concept as being "accepted as unworkable”.

Cllr Gareth Barrett pointed out that the Association of South Essex Local Authorities (ASELA) Growth and Recovery Prospectus, which the administration had already signed up to, contains the “aim to be carbon zero by 2040” - and so a further amended date of 2040 was put forward and voted through. 

Cllr Hossack said of the motion to declare a climate emergency: "I personally don't believe in vacuous empty statements about emergencies - I'd rather get on with stuff"

Added Paul Jeater: “Unfortunately their targets of either 2040 or 2050 will be too late. It is the equivalent of phoning the fire brigade after your house has burned down. 

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency and unfortunately the current administration are just tampering arounds the edges of the problem.

“It was encouraging to see Liberal Democrat councillors supporting the Labour councillors’ motion last night. Hopefully this will be the springboard for further joint action and the creation of a Borough-wide Brentwood Climate Action Group.”

A Climate Emergency Working Group already exists in the Borough in Ingatestone & Fryerning, comprising of Parish Councillors and local residents.

You can watch back that section of the Council meeting on Brentwood Borough Council’s YouTube channel - starting from 18:45.