Vale Council declares climate emergency and calls on government to support action on climate change

Released on March 21, 2019

Vale of White Horse District Council has joined a growing number of local authorities in declaring a climate emergency and is calling on the government to provide the support required to tackle climate change at a local level.

The council made the declaration, which received unanimous cross-party backing, at its meeting on Wednesday 13 February. 

Cllr Roger Cox, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, has now written to The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to request that HM Government provides councils with the support to facilitate action on climate change and to confirm how it intends to work with local government to deliver carbon reductions.  

Last year, the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report concluded that we have just 12 years to act on climate change, if global temperatures are to be kept within the recommended 1.5 degrees Celsius.  The report made clear that to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees there needs to be rapid and far-reaching changes to our energy, land, urban and industrial systems.

All councils in Oxfordshire are signed up to carbon reduction targets through the Oxfordshire Environment Partnership and are committed to a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions between 2008 and 2030.  By 2015 emissions in Oxfordshire had fallen by 23 per cent, however unless there is significant change in national policy then it will be very difficult to achieve further reductions beyond 2020. 

In order to achieve this locally, Vale of White Horse District Council is calling on the government to:

  • set clear standards through the building regulations for zero carbon new buildings;
  • facilitate the urgent retrofit of existing homes to ensure we can meet energy targets;
  • provide local government with increased support for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including on-street charging;
  • review and simplify the regulatory framework to allow councils to maximise the use of their assets for electricity generation and battery storage.

Cllr Roger Cox, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “By declaring a climate emergency we are sending a clear message to the government that we urgently need more support to tackle climate change.  We can no longer simply ask people to ‘do their bit’, we now need to see national policy and support from government which will allow us to implement significant changes to ensure we can achieve the emission reduction targets.”

“The Vale has worked hard to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. However, to ensure that our homes, offices and vehicles will no longer give off harmful emissions or use energy which is not renewable, we need changes at a national level.  We are seeing growing calls from around the world for action on climate change, including from across the Vale community, but to really make a difference we need new policies and increased support from government.”

Vale of White Horse District Council continues to deliver carbon reductions across its buildings and services.  In the light of the IPCC Report, during 2019 the council will carry out a review of its own Climate Change Strategy and Carbon Management Plan to ensure the district is doing all it can to tackle climate change.

To view the Leader's letter please click on Letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (339.9 KB) PDF .