Council Watch - December 2023

Council Watch - December 2023

In November 2023 West Northamptonshire Council gave us something to celebrate. They approved two Climate Strategies – for Estate and for Construction & Maintenance.

The strategies are detailed, thorough and set out comprehensive plans for reducing carbon emissions from WNC’s own land and buildings (‘estate’), land and buildings used for providing WNC services (‘shadow estate’), and from their construction activities.

The scope of both strategies focuses on cutting emissions and delivering net zero, so there are no actions under the heading of adaptation. This would include preparing for increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and flooding. That isn’t necessarily a criticism of these strategies, however we’ve noted before that there isn’t much evidence from WNC of adaptation planning, and these strategies don’t fill that gap.

We’d recommend reading the strategies if you have an interest in these areas – you can find them in the Cabinet Reports pack (page 325 onwards)1. Both strategies include high level action plans; CA-WN will be following delivery of these with interest.

At the same meeting the WNC Cabinet approved a new Resources & Waste Strategy. Though this was not specifically a climate strategy, reduction and effective management of waste will make a key contribution to a cleaner future for our area.

Still on the subject of strategies, WNC have just opened a public consultation2 on their long-awaited Tree Strategy. Please respond if you possibly can – we will aim to issue some notes on this soon. The consultation closes on 1 January 2024.

Finally, the 1000 Voices campaign organised demonstrations outside the Guildhall before the full council meetings on 30 November and 28 September. They are asking West Northants Council to take meaningful action to address poor air quality in our area, and until this happens will continue their (peaceful, well-organised) protests.

102 pairs of shoes are a sad reminder that toxic air is linked to 102 deaths each year - Photo credit: Umbrella Fair

The issue of air quality is very directly linked to climate change, since the primary cause of both is pollution from carbon and the other substances continually pumped into the air by human activities. If demonstrating is not for you, but you like the idea of having clean air, you can still sign up to the campaign3. Or you could contact your local WNC councillor4 to let them know you think air quality is an important issue that needs action now.