In November 2020, our Labour Cabinet agreed a detailed action plan to ensure the council plays its part in tackling climate change, and in March the first meeting of our multi-agency Climate Change Commission took place.
The action plan includes proposals for significant reductions in the use of paper and plastics across the council; the creation of a Climate Action Working Group to lead on developing and implementing initiatives; the appointment of an accountable officer for overseeing and leading on climate change issues; and training for all councillors on the climate emergency.
The climate change commission is chaired by independent expert Stephen Sykes, Director of 2030 Hub, the world’s first UN Local2030 Hub which aims to raise awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals framework and share how it adds value to cities, businesses, social sectors and individuals.
Other members of the committee include Aston Fuller, General Manager of Glass Futures; Paul Nolan, Director of the Mersey Forest Team; Brenda Fields representing the Environment Agency; Tracy Mawson, Chief Executive of St Helens Chamber; St Helens College Principal Simon Pierce; Carmel College Principal Mike Hill; Jo Harrison, Director of Environment at United Utilities; Adam Biggs, Environment Adviser to the National Farming Union; Robert Haywood representing Highways England; Andrew Darron from Groundwork; Amanda O’Donnell from Torus; Jenny Morten from Cadent Gas; and Gill Wood, Clean Growth Champion from the Growth Platform.
They are joined by representatives from the Liverpool City Region and St Helens Borough Council officers, and a place is also reserved for opposition groups.
Cllr Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, says: “Our adoption of the action plan and creation of the commission follows Cllr Mancyia Uddin’s motion to council last year on the climate emergency (see https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2019/07/11/climateemergency/) and also Cllr Robyn Hattersley’s excellent motion to council (see https://www.sthelenslabour.org/latest-news/2020/11/06/sdg/) in support of the UN sustainable development goals, both of which were supported unanimously by Labour councillors.
Our progress on these issues should be seen alongside our focus on the environment, for example, within the local plan and our work at city region level with Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham on green and sustainable transport.
I believe this demonstrates a real commitment to the climate emergency we face.
And let’s be clear: sustainable development and addressing the climate emergency is not about saying ‘no’ to a development just because it’s near your home or your default position. That’s not being Green – it’s very often just political opportunism, job snobbery and NIMBYism, whilst at the same time denying others opportunities for housing and jobs, contradicting the aims of the UN sustainable development goals.”
Cllr Mancyia Uddin. Labour Group Spokesperson on Climate Change and nominee to become the council’s first Climate Change Champion in May, says: “Collectively achieving economic, social and climate justice should be at the heart of everything we do.
The Council plays an essential role in protecting the health and well-being of our people and our planet, and whilst the Council alone cannot solve the global climate crisis, we can and should use the influence we have as to encourage our staff, partners and communities to be more conscious of the environment and be mindful in the choices they make.”
We’re also taking action with partners in the Liverpool City Region, working with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram to deliver work including:
- Progressing the Mersey Tidal project
- Purchasing 20 hydrogen fuelled double decker buses, with the 10/10A route from St Helens to Liverpool being among the first used
- A campaign to encourage Active Travel, investing over £1m in improvements to cycling and walking routes in the borough
- Completing battery trials on the new, state-of-the art trains for the Merseyrail network
- Identifying ways to help residents move to electric vehicles affordably
- Continued delivery of 52.8km of cycle lanes and habitat improvements
- Investing £11.38m to make around 1,120 homes more energy efficient
- Securing gains in biodiversity through planting and habitat creation and management
- Developing a Zero Waste 2040 strategy including plans to reach 55% re-use and recycling by 2025
You can read our St Helens climate action plan here: moderngov.sthelens.gov.uk/documents/s108440/Appendix%201.pdf and the background papers here: http://moderngov.sthelens.gov.uk/documents/s108439/2020%2011%20Cabinet%20Response%20to%20Scrutiny%20Review%20of%20Paper%20and%20Plastics%2011.11.20.pdf.