Fringe Box



Letter: The Council Has Nothing to Hide On Climate Change Policy

Published on: 25 Nov, 2019
Updated on: 25 Nov, 2019

Climate strike march September 2019 – Photo, Mandy Millyard

From: Gordon Jackson

Independent borough councillor for Pirbright and chairman, Climate Change and Innovation Board

I wish to clarify some areas in your recent article: GBC Climate Change Strategy Board Will Not Meet In Public, on the Climate Change and Innovation Board (“CCIB”).

GBC is committed to tackling climate change and leading by example. Since 2007, more than £8 million has been invested on energy-saving projects, including insulation, boiler replacements, LED lighting in all car parks, air-source heat pumps and solar PV panels.

I would like to reassure your readers that the council is not “putting all its eggs in the Innovation basket”, as mentioned in the article. The key priorities of the CCIB are:

  • Buildings and planning;
  • Transport;
  • Trees and green spaces;
  • Waste;
  • Energy; and
  • Procurement.

As you are aware, from the Terms of Reference supplied to you, there is a great deal of detail under each of these broad headings and the role of the CCIB is to sift through this detail and develop proposals for public scrutiny and consideration by councillors at the Innovation Placemaking and Executive Advisory Board, the Executive and Full Council as appropriate.

All of these bodies are open to the public and are broadcast on the web.

The council is also working on a new communications programme, and arrangements to engage all residents and other interested parties will be announced shortly.

The council has absolutely nothing to hide and we have made very clear we wish to influence and share information and encourage all individuals, businesses and organisations to take responsibility for their own actions.

I also believe Innovation does have a part to play and we are lucky to be able to work with the University of Surrey and other organisations in the borough, who are at the forefront of important areas of research.

As examples, clean energy production, carbon capture/utilisation and bioenergy are priority areas among the research interests of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the university.

Last year, the team won an award from Innovate Guildford for their ground-breaking work on the more efficient production of hydrogen, which could have a major impact in hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability at the university, now in its 25th year, continues to exert a major influence on the development of industrial ecology, systems analysis for sustainability and on policy-makers and civil society in meeting the challenges in living sustainably and well.

Professor Graham Miller, far from being “innovation-focussed” as suggested by the Extinction Rebellion spokesman in your article, holds a chair in Sustainability in Business at the university, having spent more than 20 years researching and teaching about sustainability.

He has been an expert adviser to the World Economic Forum on Sustainability and is on the editorial board of the lead academic journal for this subject, Sustainability.  He is also the chair of the university’s Sustainability Group and we are extremely fortunate that he has agreed to provide his expertise to the CCIB.

The climate emergency should unite us all in taking individual responsibility to reduce our emissions and I very much hope the Guildford Dragon will join with us in using its influence to inform the debate and to promote examples of good practice.

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Responses to Letter: The Council Has Nothing to Hide On Climate Change Policy

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    November 25, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I think Cllr Jackson is missing the point. We want public discussion, not more instruction and dictation, as has been the GBC way under previous regimes.

    As one of the few owners of a home with solar hot water and solar electric with air filtration/exchange in the borough. I feel his response lacks clarity of purpose.

    When I see campaigners walking and solar panels mandatory on all homes going through the planning process then, and only then, will I believe councillors and the council are really acting to reduce climate change.

  2. Julian Cranwell Reply

    November 26, 2019 at 11:28 am

    The council has everything to hide on its approach to the climate emergency, which presumably why neither the press nor the public is welcome to observe their deliberations.

    Simply declaring an emergency, and getting rid of a few plastic cups and straws at Millmead will do almost nothing, while they continue with their plan to build all over the greenbelt.

    We need to keep the green belt intact, to mitigate the effects of climate change, which now appears to be both Tory and Lib Dem national policy. Why do they continue to persist with this ruinous plan?

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