We all have a part to play in addressing the climate crisis.
The Climate Emergency Coalition was formed to convince The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to declare an Environment and Climate Emergency and support them to put in place a plan to reduce carbon emissions in the Borough to net zero by 2030.
In June 2019 the councillors of RBWM declared an Environment and Climate Emergency. Their aim is to achieve carbon net zero by 2050 or before.
We are a non-partisan group of volunteers supporting individual residents, local groups and businesses, and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead to work together to address the Environment and Climate Emergency
RBWM Draft Climate Strategy May 2020
The Council’s draft climate strategy has now been published for consideration by Cabinet.
In June 2019, as part of the Council’s Environment and Climate Emergency Declaration, the Council committed to “formulate, consult and agree on a net Zero Carbon Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead by 2050 Strategy in consultation with local stakeholders and partners, with a draft strategy to be brought before Full Council within 12 months“.
With the clock ticking, a number of residents’ groups (also called ‘stakeholders’) received a copy of the draft Climate Strategy on the evening of 12 May, with a request for comment by the end of that week, with a view to allowing the officers (RBWM staff) to consider these comments before submission of the draft strategy to the RBWM Cabinet (the senior group of elected Councillors).
The stakeholders who were able to comment on the draft included Wild Maidenhead (who led a response from the wildlife groups across the entire Borough), Plastic Free Windsor, also representing Plastic Free Maidenhead, and the remaining Climate Emergency Coalition member groups.
Collectively we provided a set of robust but constructive responses which were built upon the knowledge and experience of our members. To date we have not received any acknowledgement or further correspondence, but the strategy is now included publicly in the forthcoming Cabinet papers. All the lead stakeholder groups have reviewed the strategy.
Our views on the draft plan
We are pleased that some of our collective comments are included in the plan, in particular:
- the inclusion of ‘reduce’ as an action in the Circular Economy action plan alongside ‘reuse’ and ‘recycle’
- a commitment to deliver borough-wide biodiversity action plans by June 2021
- increased prominence of the importance of addressing air pollution through adopting sustainable transport
- acknowledgement that net zero by 2050 is their minimum commitment and that they need to try to bring the net carbon date forward if possible
- drafting of the Council’s single-use plastic strategy has been delegated to Plastic Free Windsor and Plastic Free Maidenhead
We also acknowledge that the strategy includes a number of the key actions that need to be taken, such as:
- updating our local planning framework (through an Supplementary Planning Document) to require best practices for energy and water consumption of new developments
- delivering biodiversity net gain across the borough
- delivery of the cycling action plan routes
- reviewing how the Council can influence our attitudes and actions taken on waste
However, fundamental issues that we raised still need addressing:
- there is insufficient acknowledgement of the scale of the challenge to deal effectively with both the environmental and climate emergencies, through either the focus of the strategy or the scale and urgency of the actions that need to be taken
- there is also no mention in the strategy about the risk of failure
- there is no mention of the cost/impact on residents if we don’t deliver net zero on or before 2050.
In particular, the strategy:
- adopts a straight-line trajectory to net-zero in 2050 (although it commits to revisit this by the end of the calendar year) which doesn’t convey the urgency of change required or appear to understand that it is our carbon budget which is limited and should set the timescale for reductions rather than the end date
- includes many ‘success measures’ which do not set a meaningful, measurable target and there is no indication of the magnitude of carbon reductions each action will deliver and hence prioritisation required
- fails to mention adaptation and resilience measures that need to be taken and how these will be addressed
What you can do
1. You can read the strategy for yourself (see link below).https://rbwm.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g7511/Public%20reports%20pack%2028th-May-2020%2018.15%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10
2. You can attend Cabinet online on youtube (see link below) at 6.15pm on 28 May, letting the panel administrator, David Cook, know you will be attending by calling 01628 796560.
3. You can watch out for what happens after the Cabinet session – we understand that the strategy will go to full Council on 23 June, which you would also be able to attend online.
4. During the proposed public consultation, you will be able to provide your feedback.
If you would like to understand more about the Environment and Climate Emergency or view the evidence from a leading climate organisation the link below may be useful:
The Committee on Climate Change report: “Net Zero -The UKs contribution to stopping global warming“