Agenda and decisions

Extraordinary Meeting, Council - Wednesday, 12 June 2019 7.00pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Daneshill House, Danestrete

Contact: Lisa Jerome (01438) 242203 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors P Bibby, A McGuinness and L Rossati and the Youth Mayor - W Sarenden.


There were no declarations of interest.


At this juncture, the Mayor made the following announcements:


·         A group of volunteers based in Stevenage, Irish Network Stevenage (INS), had won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, Britain’s highest award for a voluntary group. The award will be presented to members of INS later this summer by the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire


·         The 60th anniversary of Stevenage Day, held on 9 June 2019, had been a great success


·         Events marking the 25th anniversary of Stevenage Arts Festival were held on 1 June 2019. This coincided with the launching of the new Cultural Strategy called Stevenage Re-imagined. Stevenage Festival events were scheduled to run until 29 June


·         Climate change was the subject of discussion at the Schools Parliament event in the Council Chamber on 11 June. Pupils from several local primary schools had recently taken part in climate change awareness activities


·         Several events had been organised by Cycling UK Stevenage as part of Bike Week 2019 (8 to 16 June)


The Mayor welcomed everyone to the Extraordinary Council meeting and acknowledged the presence of members of the Youth Council, UK Student Climate Network, Extinction Rebellion, school children and residents.




To consider the following Motion to be moved by Councillor J Gardner and seconded by Councillor S-J McDonough.  The debate on this Motion will be preceded by presentations from Dr Sue Parham (Head of Urbanism and Planning, University of Hertfordshire) and Mr Jonathan Gilbert (Technical Consultant, BREEAM).


‘That this Council notes that:


- Human activities are changing our planet and the need for everyone to take action on climate change is more urgent and immediate than ever.


- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report in 2018, human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1°C of global warming above pre- industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C.


- The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by “limiting global warming to well below 2c and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5c”. · In order to prevent further global warming of more than 1.5°C, the IPCC states that this would require global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050 and that they would need to peak within 12 years (by 2030) to increase the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.


- Stevenage Borough Council set an aspiration in its Climate Change Strategy 2016-21 for Stevenage to achieve zero carbon status by 2050.


- The latest statistics produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows total emissions in Stevenage have declined steadily over the last 11 years. From 2005-2016, total emissions from the town have reduced by almost 34%.


- Emission reductions in the UK, including Stevenage, since 2012 have primarily come from the decarbonisation of electricity generation in the power sector at a national level, which is shifting progressively from fossil fuels to low carbon and renewable generation.


- To maintain the current rate of emissions reduction and reach zero carbon by 2050, further changes to national policy and infrastructure would be required in all sectors, including industry and commercial, transport and domestic sources.


- Emissions would need to reduce much more rapidly to reach net zero carbon by an earlier date, requiring rapid and widescale changes in energy production, supply and usage at the national level.


- The latest statistics for the source of Stevenage’s carbon dioxide emissions are for 2016 and are; 42% from industry and commercial, 33% from domestic sources and 25% from transport.


This Council welcomes the new building control regulations requiring all new buildings to be nearly zero carbon from 31 December 2020 but note the damage done by scrapping Labours original 2016 deadline.


This Council will update its Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan to reflect the targets in this Motion.


This Council declares a climate emergency and we:


- Will continue to reduce the council’s building and fleet emissions through  ...  view the full agenda text for item 2.


The Mayor welcomed the two speakers, Dr Susan Parham (Head of Urbanism and Planning, University of Hertfordshire) and Mr Jonathan Gilbert (Technical Consultant - Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method [BREEAM]).


Dr Parham gave a presentation titled “The Climate Change Emergency – Placemaking Issues and Opportunities”. Mr Jonathan Gilbert gave a presentation on planning for sustainable development. The two speakers also answered questions from Members and the public gallery.


Council welcomed the Government’s decision to amend the Climate Change Act in 2008 and commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2050. It was indicated that there was no requirement to suspend the recently adopted Stevenage Local Plan so as to align it to Climate Change Act amendments.


Councillor J Gardner moved the motion and stated that global warming was a problem facing humankind, created by humankind and to a large extent ignored for too long by humankind. He expressed optimism that climate change could be tackled through global co-operation. 


In seconding the motion, Councillor S-J McDonough highlighted the urgency of climate change and emphasised the responsibilities of individuals, public and private bodies in the fight against climate change.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor S Taylor, OBE, CC welcomed the motion and acknowledged that the Council had a significant role to play in tackling climate change.


The Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Cllr G Lawrence, thanked Council for introducing the motion. He indicated that his political group supported the motion in principle. Councillor Lawrence then moved and Councillor A Farquharson seconded that the motion be amended as follows:


Delete “- Ban fracking” and insert “- Working towards reducing the need for fracking.”


Upon being put to the vote the amendment was lost.


The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Group, Councillor R Parker CC, spoke in support of the motion. He reported that according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there was consensus among actively publishing climate scientists that humans are causing global warming. Cllr Parker then moved and Cllr S Booth seconded an amendment of the motion to add the following statement to the final paragraph: “- Call on the government to develop and support carbon capture and storage schemes.”


Council unanimously voted in support of the amendment.


The Mayor expressed regret that due to the lateness of the meeting, members of the Youth Council had left before contributing to the debate. The Leader of the Council and the Portfolio Holder (Children, Young People and Leisure) indicated that Council was considering the options of arranging a Youth Assembly meeting on climate change and arranging a Council meeting at a convenient time for the young people.


After a full debate, it was moved, seconded and RESOLVED:


“That this Council notes that:


- Human activities are changing our planet and the need for everyone to take action on climate change is more urgent and immediate than ever.


- According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report in 2018, human activities are  ...  view the full decision text for item 2.