Climate change emergency declared in Rotherham amid ‘posturing’ claims

A climate emergency has been declared by Rotherham Council – joining many other local authorities in the practice – with a new working group to be established to work out what steps the authority should take next.

The proposal was put to the authority by Coun David Roche and colleague Coun Sarah Allen and met criticism from some members of the authority for not spelling out the council’s intentions.

However, councillors have insisted the approach is the correct way to proceed, with the working group’s mission to establish what the council can do most effectively to address climate change.

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He told a meeting of Rotherham Council some authorities had set targets and explained: “We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make sure our target would be achievable.

“That is why the motion calls for a working party to be set up. We need to move fast because time is running out.”

It is expected the council will work with other partners in future to encourage the widespread adoption of reaching a zero-emission society.

Coun Allen Cowles told the meeting: “I have no problem at all with supporting the motion. I would like to see it widened considerably. The environment is bigger than climate change, I would like to see it broadened and the council agenda on this issue broadened.

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“I want convincing the council is really serious and is not just words. There are things we could be getting on with and the sooner we do it the better. Targets need to be set quickly.”

Coun Adam Carter added the motion: “Just doesn’t go far enough. I feel it is just political posturing and grandstanding.

“I think we need to change things immediately and drastically.”

However, his comments sparked a political row, with Coun Brian Steele responding to his Lib Dem colleague: “The Labour Party have the brains to put this motion together.

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“This motion is there to protect our children’s and grandchildren’s futures. You cannot do that overnight.”

Deputy leader Gordon Watson told the meeting the purpose of the working group was to create “an informed target”.

“It would be really easy to come up with a list, but they have to be informed.”

Coun Bob Walsh said a climate change policy needed to be “about making positive, consistent and persistent changes.”