30 September 2019
At the first ‘normal’ full council meeting in July, I moved a motion that the Council declares a climate emergency. Given all the evidence of climate change and the advice from the International Panel on Climate Change that we have twelve years in which to take drastic action, I thought the Council would support the motion – they did – but changed a number of important elements. Firstly, they said they would aim for zero carbon emissions by 2040, instead of 2030, secondly, instead of agreeing to draw up an action plan within six months, they said they would ‘report on progress in due course’ (though they accepted an amendment to make it 12 months) and took out the proposal for a group of Stafford citizens to be asked to draw up plans for reducing the town’s carbon footprint. I was glad that at least they accept there is a climate emergency but very disappointed that they do not seem to see the need for urgent action. I will be raising questions in Scrutiny Committees and Full Council about what they are doing to reduce their carbon footprint. It also provides a basis for questions from members of the public about what they are doing.
Motion to Council on single-use plastics
Following discussions with the leader of the Labour Group, at the Council meeting earlier this week, he moved and I seconded, a motion on single-use plastic which was based on a question which had been passed to me by Nigel from the plastic-free shop which had originated with Surfers against Sewage.
It was as follows:
As members will know, many towns and cities around the country have begun to look seriously at what can be done locally to help reduce the amount of plastic being used.
We have all seen the devastating impact plastic waste has on our environment.
It is now mainstream thinking that we should drastically reduce the amount of plastic we use, much of which is ultimately discarded into our ecosystems.
The Council therefore agrees to take the following actions:
1/ States its support for the eradication of single use plastic items. This policy to be made clear to all suppliers and contract holders.
2/ Encourages our community to reduce and ultimately stop the use of single use plastic products.
3/ Actively promote the reduction of single use plastic products.
4/ Work with other agencies and local authorities to reduce the use of all single use plastic products as soon as possible.
5/ Make the reduction of single use plastic products part of the implementation of the climate emergency declaration.
Proposed by Councillor A T A Godfrey Seconded By Councillor A N Pearce
Not only was it passed, but the Tories demanded a named vote!
Merger of Stafford and Rural Homes with Housing Plus
Stafford and Rural Homes have agreed a merger with Housing Plus which was formerly the Housing department for South Staffs. Karen Armitage is not the Chief Exec of the new organisation. The Borough Council had 3 representatives on the Board of Stafford and Rural. It will only have one on the new organisation and that will not be the main board.
I have spoken to the former owner. It has now, apparently, been sold on. He was sympathetic to the need to tidy up the site and is also pursuing the current owners about this. He also indicated that the current owners have plans to develop the site in the near future.
Litter pick behind the Doxey Hub and provision of bins
I took part in a litter pick which involved about 12 children and we collected a lot of litter from the area at the back of the Hub. It seems that there used to be a couple of bins but these have been removed. I spoke to a supervisor from Streetscene on site, together with the lady who had organised the litter pick. He informed that Stafford and Rural now own this land and are not contracting with Streetscene to cut the grass. He says that they should be litter picking the area, especially when grass cutting. With regard to litter bins, he says a) they would need permission from Stafford and Rural and b) that the previous bins were removed because of vandalism, fire and needles.
I agreed to speak to Stafford and Rural and it may be that we need to bring them together with Streetscene to discuss it.
I set up a meeting, with the Clerk and Chair of Doxey Parish Council, the PCSOs for the area and Cllr Winnington to discuss the situation. It seems that the PCSOs are on the case and two bikes have been confiscated and other riders warned. The problem seems to be less prevalent than it was but is still there. I have also met since with the Police Constable for the area, Jimmy Akhtar who came to the Fun Day in Doxey. I put on a stall as Borough Councillor.
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