Agenda and minutes

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee - Tuesday, 15 October 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Council Offices, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, OX14 4SB

Contact: Louise Griffin 

No. Item


Chairman's announcements

To receive any announcements from the chairman and general housekeeping matters.


The chairman outlined the emergency evacuation arrangements and the procedure for the meeting.


Chairman’s Address


The chair made the following statement:


“Earlier this year, Iceland had its first glacier declared dead.  A memorial plaque was put up in its place and I’d like to read out what it said:


A letter to the future

Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier.  In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path.  This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done.  Only you know if we did.

August 2019 – 415 ppm CO2


This committee is in a privileged position.  We can do more than most.  We may be just a small corner of this planet, but this country led the world into the industrial revolution, and we can lead the world out of it and into the green revolution. 


When this council declared a climate emergency and set up this committee it did not task us to discuss whether action is needed but to advise what action needs to be taken - so that’s what we’re going to do - starting now.”



Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members.




Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.


Councillor Hayleigh Gascoigne declared that both she and her partner are investors in the Low Carbon Hub, Oxford and that her partner is employed by Project Leo (Local Energy Oxfordshire).


Urgent business

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent.


Officers reported an amendment to the Climate Emergency: Options and Next Steps report.


Paragraph 1, Item 17, page 23 should read;


In 2009, the Council adopted a Carbon Management Plan, in partnership with the Carbon Trust. The Council made good progress in reducing energy use and therefore carbon emissions, with an overall reduction in emissions from the baseline of 17 per cent at the end of 2012/13.


Public Participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak.


Due to the number of speakers registered to speak, the Committee agreed to allow each speaker to receive their full 3-minute allocation and to extend the speakers session to facilitate this.


The Committee heard a number of public speakers who had registered to address them;


·         Ian Pritchett – Reducing building projects impact on the environment, building low carbon homes.


·         Miriam Jacobs - Specific climate change concerns of Blewbury Parish Council, with respect to infrastructure, housing planning and biodiversity.    


·         Liz Swallow - Registering an interest in working with the District council on the Climate Emergency on behalf of Faringdon Town Council and recently formed community action groups.          


·         Chris Church - In support of a Carbon Neutral District on behalf of Chair of North Hinksey Parish Council and Oxford Climate Action network.


·         Tim Maundrell - Concern that cycling is not being given sufficient weight in proposals and current projects as a significant tool for reducing individual residents carbon emissions.


·         Mike Landy - Renewable energy and energy efficiency standards for new housing as a member of Sustainable Wantage.


Options for the Future and next steps pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To consider a report by the Insight and Policy Manager which covers the following issues;


  • Possible target option recommendations to the Cabinet
  • to review climate emergency work programme proposals, including further exploration where required
  • the commissioning of expertise to define and validate energy consumption in the council and district
  • establishing a communications plan
  • commissioning work by officers




The Committee considered a report by the Head of Partnership and Insight, which set out the options for recommendations that the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee (CEAC) could make to Cabinet in response to the climate emergency declaration.


The Committee noted that all other Oxfordshire Councils had declared or acknowledged a Climate Emergency and were yet to declare specific actions to achieve targets or publish work programmes. A Climate Emergency was declared by the Vale of White Horse District Council on 13 February 2019. At the present time, 212 councils across the United Kingdom had declared Climate Emergencies, equating to 52 per cent of principal authorities. 86 district councils had declared a climate emergency. 56 of these (65 per cent) explicitly pledged to become carbon neutral on council operations.


The report outlined options for an early carbon neutral target, ranging from pledging to be a Carbon-Neutral Council, to aspiring to be a Carbon-Neutral District. There was also a middle option to achieve carbon neutrality, which has been named Carbon Neutral Council ‘Plus+’. The report set out the benefits and risks of each option. To achieve the desired target, a programme of work to explore seven themes was proposed. Options for specific topics would be subject to further evaluation and costing before being included in any final work programme.


The Committee was asked to consider recommending whether Vale of White Horse District Council should consider a range of ideas for how realistically to achieve any target that was set. Strategies could include: integrating climate emergency action into existing work streams, working closely with outside partners to deliver on key initiatives, scoping important projects well enough to seek outside funding for them and eliminating existing programmes to redirect staffing and funding to climate emergency work. Elimination of existing programmes would need to consider that some core services were mandatory and that there were funding limitations.


The work programme proposals were grouped under seven themes of council business, partnership, housing, infrastructure, transport, biodiversity and behaviour change. This was informed by an informal CEAC workshop held 23 September 2019, attended by CEAC councillors, and by officers engaged in the development of the report. The Committee was asked to consider defining the elements of a strategic response in respect of the following themes. Each theme contained a sub-set of practical activities and initiatives to meet the objectives.


A motion moved and seconded, to recommend to Cabinet proposals to tackle the climate emergency was declared carried on being put to the vote.


The Committee RESOLVED to recommend to Cabinet;


(a)  Recommend Target Option Three;


Vale of White Horse District Council to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2025 and become a carbon neutral Council by 2030. 


Vale of White Horse District to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 and become a carbon neutral district by 2045. 


The committee agreed a proposal to recommend to Cabinet that the final carbon neutral district date of 2045 is an aspirational target which can be approved pending further assurance from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Scene-Setting and Background pdf icon PDF 383 KB

To consider the report by the Insight and Policy Manager, which is a supporting document/appendix to the report ‘Climate Emergency: Options and Next Steps’ (Item 6).


The appendix deals with the following;


  • The national and international context
  • Vale of White Horse District Council history of activity up until December 2018
  • Current projects January 2019 to date
  • ‘Business as usual’ regarding council activity to reduce energy usage and carbon dioxide and equivalent (CO2e) emissions




The committee received a report which set the scene and the background.


The committee noted the report and adopted it as a supporting document to the report ‘Climate Emergency: Options and Next Steps’.


Recommendations to Cabinet

The committee are requested to consider the form and content of recommendations for action to the Cabinet, in respect of targets for adoption.



Contained in item 6, above.