Worksop scientist calls on Bassetlaw District Council to declare a climate emergency

A leading Worksop climate scientist has called on Bassetlaw District Council and businesses to do more in the fight against climate change.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 am

Dr Steffi Harangozo, who worked with the British Antarctic Survey for 17 years, has called on Bassetlaw District Council as one of the remaining 20 per cent of district councils that has not declared a climate emergency.

The plea comes after UN leaders met in Glasgow for COP26, one for the biggest ever world meetings on how to tackle climate change.

Bassetlaw District Council said it has made a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality within the local authority itself and has made achieving carbon neutrality ‘front and central” to its corporate plan, but bosses say it needs additional Government funding and resources to do more and have wider engagement with the public.

Bassetlaw District Council has called for government funding to do more to tackle climate change.

Dr Harangozo, now a building energy assessor, said this response failed to answer why other councils are doing a “huge amount of work in their communities, working with businesses, and declaring climate emergencies, regardless of their finances and political persuasion.”

Around 300 councils have declared a climate emergency, which acknowledges that each local authority needs to act on the causes and impacts of climate change.

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She suggested the council use money collected from business rates from solar farms and set up a dedicated climate fund that support community and business carbon reduction initiatives.

She suggested they could also encourage businesses and landlords to improve insulation and upgrade to LED lighting by giving discounts on business rates if they make their premises, and vehicles, more green.

She said: “Bassetlaw District Council is the only organisation that can bring our district together to develop a shared climate emergency plan for everyone in the district.

“We all deserve and have a right to expect that leadership from them.”

In June, district councillor Helen Tamblyn-Saville proposed a motion calling for the council to declare a climate emergency, but it was voted down.

She said: “The changing climate affects everyone and we all have a responsibility to try to make changes.

“While we absolutely need the government to commit more to tackling the crisis.

"Councils throughout the country, including Nottinghamshire councils, have declared climate emergencies to formally recognise the urgency of the situation.

“That declaration would have shown a commitment to Bassetlaw residents that we take the changing climate seriously.

“Of course actions are stronger than words, but a declaration helps to keep us accountable for our actions. The green agenda should always be considered when decision making.”

Addressing the council opposing the climate emergency declaration, Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “There’s nothing wrong with having a sensible debate on what we can all do to help protect our environment and how we can find ways to fund and deliver this, but turning a blind eye to climate change and denying there is a problem doesn’t help anybody.

“Councils already receive significant funding for environmental schemes, so it’s not so much about throwing money at the issue as it is about changing the way we also go about our business and cutting out waste.

“I am pleased to see that other local authorities are now taking a lead on this hugely important issue, because that’s where we need to start.

"I know a lot of people were disappointed that we didn’t do the same thing in Bassetlaw.

“Our local environment is precious and we should be doing everything we can to preserve it.”