What are Warwickshire’s Local Councils doing . . .
about Climate Change?
This page gives information on the climate emergency declarations and subsequent action by local councils in Warwickshire. It also provides links to Council websites giving the dates of meetings at which the public can attend or intervene.
A survey by the campaigning group Climate Emergency UK published in January 2022 ranks Warwickshire’s councils’ Climate Action plans shockingly low. On Climate Emergency UK’s scoring system, the County Council scores 26%, Warwick District Council 53%, and Stratford upon Avon District Council 35%. North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, and Rugby Borough Council all score 0% — they are among the one in five councils which have no climate action plan. By contrast, the West Midlands Combined Authority scored 89%, second only to Somerset West and Taunton’s 91%. This Guardian article gives an overview of the survey ands its results.
An earlier Wikipedia page lists which local councils in the UK have declared a Climate Emergency. In Warwickshire, besides the County Council, there are five district and borough councils: North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford upon Avon and Warwick. All have declared a Climate Emergency. The Green MEP Ellie Chowns ranked the West Midlands county, district and borough councils on the strengths of their climate emergency declarations and plans in 2019. The ranking is available here; among counties, Warwickshire came joint 8th out of 14; among districts and boroughs, North Warwickshire and Nuneaton and Bedworth came joint 16th (and thus last), Rugby and Stratford on Avon were joint 11th, and Warwick came joint 3rd.
A very useful document for assessing and guiding the performance of local councils is the Friends of the Earth Checklist.
We would welcome updates to the information posted here. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Warwickshire County Council
WCC declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019. It is committed to promoting low-carbon transport across the county, and is planning a number of other measures to aid the climate. It has not yet committed to a net zero date earlier than the nationally declared one of 2050. To follow on from its declaration, WCC ran a Consultation on its Local Transport Plan, ending on March 18th 2021, which included a questionnaire for members of the public to express their views.
See Warwickshire Climate Alliance’s Response to the County Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan, released October 12th 2021.
WCC Cabinet meets monthly, and the dates, agendas and minutes are available here. Meetings are open to members of the public, who may speak for up to three minutes at the start of the meeting, but only on agenda items. The same applies to meetings of the full council, whose dates, agendas and minutes are available here. The council normally asks members of the public to give at least two days notice of their intention to speak at a meeting.
The County Council also operates four Overview and Scrutiny committees (Adult Social Care and Health, Children and Young People, Communities, and Resources and Fire and Rescue) at which members of the public can speak on any issue relating to the remit of that committee.
There are Community Forums run by County and District Councillors in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Stratford and Warwick. For links, click on Warwickshire Community Forums. It seems that currently, perhaps because of the pandemic, some of these pages are not being maintained. But all give contact details for the councillors responsible.
The WCC Democratic Services Team Leader, Paul Williams, is extremely helpful. He can advise about the procedure for speaking at one of the meetings. Contact him via Tel: 01926 418196 and Email: email@example.com
Warwickshire County Council has created the Green Shoots Fund, to award small scale Community Climate Change grants and fund local low-carbon initiatives. The current round opened on February 2nd 2021 and closes on May 17th 2021.
They are currently consulting the public on a local transport plan. Take part by completing WCC’s online survey before it closes on March 18th. The survey gives plenty of opportunity to express your concern about climate change, and support for measures to encourage cycling, walking and public transport.
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
NBBC declared a Climate Emergency on December 4th 2019. Details of the resolution can be found in the minutes of the council meeting, available online. The council set up a working group to seek ways of making NBBC’s activities carbon neutral by 2030. This reported in December 2020. See a Green Party Councillor’s comment on the council’s report, from Bedworth Nub News. Information about all council meetings is available here. None of them appear to be concerned specifically with climate change.
Rugby Borough Council
RBC declared a climate emergency and set up a Climate Emergency Working Group in July 2019, with the stated aim of making the council’s activities carbon neutral by 2030. The minutes and agendas of its meetings are available here.
Stratford on Avon District Council
By 35 out of 36 votes, SDC passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency on July 15 2019, and set up a working group which reported in January 2020. They now have a Climate Change Panel which meets monthly. The meetings are open to the public, on video link at present, of course. Their calendar of meetings, and the agendas and minutes of past meetings, are available here.
Warwick District Council
WDC Declared a Climate Emergency in late 2019, and in February 2020 the elected councillors unanimously adopted an action programme, which includes a commitment to reduce the council’s carbon footprint to net zero by 2025, and the district’s by 2030. This is twenty years earlier than the UK government’s target.
WDC ran a People’s Climate Change Inquiry, a kind of People’s Assembly (as called for, for example, by Extinction Rebellion), but on a slightly smaller scale, with just 30 participants — hence the different name. The Inquiry was managed by two professionals in this field, from an organisation called Shared Future, helped by an Oversight Panel recruited locally from council officials, recognised experts in the topics of concern and campaigners. Participants in the Inquiry were selected by a process called sortition (or stratified sortition). Letters of invitation are sent to a large number of randomly chosen individuals. Those who respond positively are grouped according to standard demographic indicators (area, age, gender, income level, ethnicity, degree of concern about climate change) and a random selection is made from each group, with the number of people from each group adjusted so that the final selection reflects the demographics of the district.
The Inquiry sought to answer the question “What do we need to do in Warwick District to help address climate change by 2030?” It first met (online) on November 12th 2019, and completed its deliberations in January of 2020. Recordings of all of them are available here. It issued its recommendations in February.
Following on from the Peoples’ Inquiry, it has recently (January 2022) issued its Climate Emergency Action Programme, and in February 2022, one year on from the release of the recommendations, it invited people who had been involved in the inquiry to a zoom meeting and gave a power point presentation with this account of its achievements since then. WDC’s Climate Change webpages contain more information about its plans and achievements, in impressive detail.
Town and Parish Councils
Kenilworth Town Council has a Climate Emergency Working Group with its own website. It produces a regular newsletter listing upcoming events and council actions which will affect residents, such as road closures.