The first meeting of the brand new St Helens Climate Change Commission has taken place after the proposals were agreed at a recent meeting of Cabinet.
Cllr Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, and Cllr Mancyia Uddin, set to become the Council’s first Climate Change Champion in May, have led on these plans and will sit on the commission alongside a diverse range of private and public sector partners.
The 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 says: “I want to thank Stephen Sykes and all those who took part for agreeing to support this important project. We’re determined to achieve net zero carbon for St Helens and the wider region by 2040 and this commission will play a key role.
The commission will be an independent voice and provide authoritative and expert advice on key steps towards achieving our target. It will work collaboratively on borough wide projects, programmes and initiatives whilst providing a forum to exchange ideas, research findings, information and best practice on carbon reduction and climate resilience as well monitoring and reviewing progress.”
Opposition groups nominated Green Party leader Cllr David O’Keefe to take part in the commission but after the meeting he was forced to resign after aiming an obscene insult at those present, not realising his microphone was on.
Cllr Bowden says: “The comments made by Cllr O’Keefe are entirely unacceptable and it’s right that he has resigned his place. The expert and independent professionals who have agreed to give their time to this vital project deserve our thanks and respect. A place remains open for opposition groups, and they will be invited to put forward a replacement for Cllr O’Keefe.”
The commission will convene every two months with subgroups ongoing in between meetings, and Cllr Uddin will be confirmed as Climate Change Champion at Annual Council in May.