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Summer consultations offer chance to reaffirm commitment to tackling climate emergency

Vale councillors have agreed to use a number of key consultations this summer to reaffirm the district council’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The council has declared a Climate Emergency and adopted targets to be carbon neutral by 2030, with a target for the district to be carbon neutral by 2045.

At a full council meeting on July 14, the councillors recognised that achieving our carbon reduction targets cannot be met without working effectively with partners across Oxfordshire, the region and beyond, and that the council is well placed to gather evidence to contribute to and influence policy decisions.

In a motion put forward by Cllr Debby Hallett, Cabinet member for Corporate Services and Transformation, a number of sustainability challenges facing Oxfordshire that must be addressed were set out, including:

  • water supply
  • Renewable Energy supply
  • reducing carbon emissions from existing homes through retrofitting
  • funding infrastructure required to support planned development.
  • decarbonising transport and reducing the need to travel
  • identifying appropriate and sustainable levels of growth, and housing

It highlighted some key local, regional and national consultations taking place this summer for policies that have the potential to address these challenges and agreed the councils’ responses for each will press this point.

The Oxfordshire Plan 2050 is a strategic plan for the county and launched its consultation on July 30.

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc has also launched a consultation outlining its vision for the Arc area, including Vale of White Horse, as the Government looks to create an Arc Spatial Framework.

Councillors also requested policies addressed these challenges in the emerging Vale of White Horse District Council-South Oxfordshire District Council Joint Local Plan and Design Guide.

Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “As the chair of the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 Member Advisory Group and a member of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc Leadership Group, I know how important it is to ensure the environment is at the centre of these important planning policies.

“I’m delighted the council reaffirmed its commitment in tackling the climate emergency and ensuring we impress this upon our partners across Oxfordshire and beyond.”

Cllr Debby Hallett, who tabled the motion, said: “As councillors we are in a position where we can influence policy that can make a better place for those coming after us.

“Our emerging Local Plan and Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (and the eventual Oxford-Cambridge Arc framework) can help the world in its critical response to the climate emergency, and the world governments’ goals for zero-carbon futures.

“It’s great this council has agreed to do what it can to ensure these issues are raised and considered as we consult over upcoming plans for our local area, the wider Oxfordshire, and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc Government project, for the benefit of all of us and those yet to come.“