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Newbury Town Council has declared its support for the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill currently before Parliament. If it becomes law, the Bill will require the government to develop a strategy to address the emergency that would ensure:

  1. the ecological emergency is tackled shoulder to shoulder with the climate crisis in a joined-up approach;
  2. the Paris Agreement is enshrined into law to ensure that UK does its real fair share to limit global temperature rise to the most stringent end of the Paris agreement, 1.5 °C.
  3. The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is enshrined into law to ensure that the UK’s ecosystems are protected and restored, with a focus on biodiversity, soils and natural carbon sinks;
  4. The UK takes full responsibility for our entire greenhouse gas footprint (i.e. consumption emissions plus shipping, flights and land-based transport) by accounting for all of the emissions that take place overseas to manufacture, transport and dispose of the goods and services we import and consume;
  5. the UK takes full responsibility for our ecological footprint so that we protect the health and resilience of ecosystems along both domestic and our global supply chains;
  6. an independent, temporary Climate and Nature Assembly is set up, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with the UK Parliament and UK Government to help develop the emergency strategy.

Councillor Chris Foster, who chairs the Council’s Climate Emergency Working group, welcomed the Council’s support for the Bill. “ The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow from 31st Oct to 11th November, and the first goal of COP26 is to agree improved emissions reduction targets which would “keep 1.5 degrees within reach” (https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/COP26-Explained.pdf).  However, current Nationally Determined Contributions and net-zero emissions targets, if met, would restrict warming to around 2.6 °C at best, well above the aspiration for 1.5 °C set out in the Paris agreement.

The UK’s Climate Change Committee, in its 2021 report to parliament, finds that the UK Government has been “too slow to follow (historic climate promises) with delivery”, and that “this defining year for the UK’s climate credentials has been marred by uncertainty and delay to a host of new climate strategies.

The second goal of COP26 is “Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats”, including a commitment to “protect and restore ecosystems” because the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss cannot be addressed in isolation.

Despite increasing recognition of the vital role nature plays in society, recent research by scientists at the Natural History Museum find that the UK is consistently in the bottom 10% of nations in terms of biodiversity intactness. Biodiversity surveys carried out this year on three sites by Future Nature (the consultancy arm of BBOWT) provide this council with baseline information for improving biodiversity on the land it owns and manages.”

Councillor Martin Colston, the Leader of the Council, thanked Councillor Foster for his initiative in bringing this matter to the attention of the Town Council. “The Council unanimously declared its support for the Climate and Ecology Bill. We will also call on Laura Farris MP urging her to support the Bill, and to lobby the UK government to push for COP26 to adopt a carbon budget that  would limit warming to 1.5 °C. As a council, we will also consider how to prioritise a joined-up approach to the climate and ecological emergency in the annual strategy review and our forthcoming budget allocations for 2022/23.”





Cllr. Chris Foster, Chairman of the council’s Climate Emergency Working Group, chris.foster@newbury.gov.uk

Cllr Martin Colston, Leader of the Council martin.colston@newbury.gov.uk .01635 36591