West Berkshire Liberal Democrats’ response to West Berkshire Council’s Draft Environmental Strategy

This statement was provided by the West Berkshire Council Liberal Democrat Group and has been reproduced here verbatim.

Introduction

Below is the feedback from the West Berkshire Liberal Democrat group concerning the Draft Environmental strategy created by West Berkshire Council. We welcome its publication and wish to acknowledge the work done by officers, which is much appreciated.

Background

The declared climate emergency was seconded by the Lib Dems and proposed by the Conservatives. The Lib Dems helped collect signatures for the original petition, which was presented by the Greens. The final motion received unanimous approval at the council, meaning all parties agreed that something needed to be done and soon.

One of the first outputs from the declaration was to establish the cross-party EAG (Environmental Advisory Group), which we fully participate in and have been submitting regular feedback too. The Lib Dems have been regular contributors to the EAG with practical near term plans and solutions to move past the strategy to actual delivery.

Overview

Unfortunately, Cllr Steve Ardagh-Walter chose to use his opening statement in the draft strategy to politicise what we had hoped would be something non-political. His claim that “The Council, over successive administrations, has a strong record of responding to green issues.” should be removed from the final document as we cannot concur with this statement.

We do agree with the strategy statement “This will mean being bolder, and prioritising investment in environmental projects to a much greater extent than we have to date.” Found on page 4 on the strategy document. However, we failed to find either the ambition, detail, targets or proposed analytics that will ensure delivery and allow the 2030 target to be met.

A great deal of effort has gone into the strategy by officers (all of which is commended and appreciated). It is the Executive via the Environmental Advisory Board that is controlling the final output and setting the tone.

The response

Please click here to read the full text of the document from the West Berkshire Council Liberal Democrat Group.

Please note that this is a response by the West Berkshire Lib Dems. The Lib Dems on Town and parish councils, such as Newbury and Thatcham, are finalising their own responses. These are more detailed and focus on measures that are applicable to their communities.

You may also be interested in…

The response from the West Berkshire Green Party to the draft strategy.
Penny Post’s article on the subject with some thoughts on the document.
West Berkshire Council’s post on the subject including links to the draft strategy.

The consultation closes on Friday 21 February 2020 – please click here to take part.

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