Derbyshire council hits back after Lib Dem chief claims ‘authority isn’t taking climate change seriously’

Council chiefs have insisted they take climate change ‘very seriously’ – after coming under criticism over the issue.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 10:59 am

Councillor Ross Shipman, leader of the Liberal Democrats on North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC), said he learned during a meeting that the authority ‘isn’t even calculating its carbon emissions’.

Following Monday’s meeting, Coun Shipman told the Derbyshire Times: “The admission from cabinet member Coun Jeremy Kenyon that it’s too complex to calculate and therefore they don’t have this data already shows that the issue of reducing our carbon emissions as an authority is not being taken seriously.

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Councillor Ross Shipman, leader of the Liberal Democrats on North East Derbyshire District Council.
Councillor Ross Shipman, leader of the Liberal Democrats on North East Derbyshire District Council.

“You would have thought that following the council declaring a climate emergency in July 2019 and committing to reducing its carbon emissions, it would start tracking its output – but apparently not.

“We are left with no idea whether the council is reducing its carbon emissions and by how much.

“It’s not good enough.”

Coun Kenyon said: “At the recent full council meeting, Coun Shipman requested ‘to publish the total carbon emissions of the organisation on a quarterly basis’.

“I explained that calculating our total carbon emissions is a complex and time-consuming process, and doing it every quarter would take significant resource away from actually reducing our carbon emissions.

“The only part of any organisations emissions that is simple to measure quarterly is their electricity and fuel and similar things.

“However, it is extremely obvious that that is not the most significant part of an organisation such as a district council’s carbon footprint, let alone the emissions of the district as a whole, which we also consider it our duty to help reduce.

“Genuine action to address climate change has long since moved past the simplistic approach of reading meters.”

A spokesperson for Tory-led NEDDC also hit back.

They said “The council calculates its energy consumptions using nationally recognised Business Energy and Climate Change greenhouse gas conversion factors.

“NEDDC takes climate change incredibly seriously and reducing carbon emissions is part of day-to-day business, long-term ambitions and strategies.

“To date we have exceeded yearly targets to reach net zero emissions with over 1,000 tonnes of carbon savings delivered two years ahead of schedule.”

The spokesperson added: “The council has an ongoing multi-million pound programme of works to reduce our carbon emissions and that of our residents, working on initiatives such as installing external wall insulation to 324 non-traditional construction properties in the district to reduce their carbon emissions.

“The £1.5million refurbishment of Eckington leisure centre, commencing in August, will have a new range of energy-efficient equipment installed such as heat pump technologies running off carbon neutral electricity, cutting running costs of the facility and slashing the centre’s carbon emissions by 66 per cent.

“The council’s own electricity now comes from 100 per cent renewable energy and the authority runs a home improvement service to help residents tackle climate change, and the council works closely with partner organisations and parish councils to help them reduce their carbon footprint.”

For information on how you can help stop climate change, visit the Friends of the Earth website.

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