At a full council meeting in July 2019, all East Suffolk councillors voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency.
East Suffolk’s Leader, Councillor Steve Gallant has made it clear that the environment is a top priority for the council. We want to introduce considered practical policies which address the environmental issues in East Suffolk and help to build a legacy for future generations.
As a direct result of the climate emergency declaration, a cross-party Environment Task Group was established to analyse policies inherited from East Suffolk’s predecessor’s (Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils) to ensure these policies are fit for purpose and identify areas for improvement.
The Environment Task Group meets quarterly, reporting to Cabinet where issues are then discussed to decide if a feasibility study is required.
By adopting a climate emergency, the council has begun to thread the environment through all decisions, choices and policy formation.
Our target is to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 but we hope to achieve so much more:
One of the most important aspects of being environmentally responsible is communicating with, and listening to, local communities and town/parish councils. To improve the environment, we must all work together in partnership and increase personal choice and responsibility.
To deliver and lead on the above, the council will educate, lead by example and introduce new policies.
Cllr James Mallinder, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Chairman of East Suffolk’s Environment Task Group, said:
“Taking action on climate change is a priority for East Suffolk Council and the Environment Task Group helps us to keep focused, engaging with all ward members and council officers. We are committed to working with local community groups, residents and businesses to continue to build on policies as further priorities and initiatives develop.
"I am particularly interested in getting young people involved and give them a voice in what we are doing, as ultimately they will be inheriting the legacy we are trying to achieve.
"Whilst we don’t have all the answers, we do believe that one of the keys to tackling climate change is to embrace partnership working and collaborations. We also want to encourage individuals in our communities to get involved by setting up their own initiatives as small changes really do make a big difference over time. We all need to take action.”
A public Climate Change Forum was held on 3 February 2020 at Riverside co-hosted by the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum and the Environment Task Group.