Council Watch July 2022

CA-WN watching West Northants Council for us all

Since the last issue of this newsletter there have been two meetings of the full council. The ‘annual meeting’ (similar to an AGM) in May was a largely procedural affair which set roles for the next 12 months.  The ‘normal’ bi-monthly meeting on 30 June as always had a very full agenda but no items or motions directly related to the climate emergency or sustainability.  There’s little new information to be gathered on the climate front from the WNC website either, so CA-WN is grateful to WNC’s Sustainability Manager Martin Wilson for attending our Steering Committee to give a progress update.  We had a really informative conversation, and see this as a good indicator of the council’s willingness to engage with external stakeholders.

This is a summary of the update Martin gave us.

  • The cross-party Sustainability Working Group consisting of 7 councillors plus council officers is now established and has developed a workplan based around 12 themes.  The next step is to hold meetings with service areas within the council to agree actions.  The actions once agreed will be formally managed with regular progress reports to WNC Cabinet.
  • Two councillors from the working group have been put forward for the UK100 leadership academy training in July (UK100 is the network overseeing delivery of the Net Zero Pledge).
  • Collection of emissions data for WNC as an organisation is underway.  This will establish a baseline figure and enable prioritisation of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases.
  • Review of the Sustainable West Northants website is underway to improve how it is used.
  • There are discussions with NCALC (Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils) about how to engage with town and parish councils.

At CA-WN we see it as our responsibility to both support the council to take action on climate change, and to hold them to account for actions and promises not delivered.  This responsibility is shared with every resident of our area – we know time is always an issue, but please do try to engage with your democratic representatives and let them know your views.

WNC’s leader Jonathan Nunn is speaking at the Grow Green Together conference CA-WN is co-hosting with Northants ACRE and the University of Northampton on Monday 12 September.  Please do come along if you want to hear more about the council’s plans to achieve net zero, and have the opportunity to ask questions.

The 12 WNC Workplan Themes

  • Planning and land use
  • Transport
  • Building, housing and infrastructure
  • Commercial and industrial
  • Energy generation and heating
  • Natural environment and biodiversity
  • Agriculture and food
  • Waste
  • Carbon sequestration and capture
  • Education and youth
  • Public health
  • Community, engagement and placemaking