Wigan Council declares climate emergency

Wigan Council declares climate emergency

Wigan Council has committed to taking urgent environmental action and declared a climate emergency.

The declaration was made at a full council meeting on Wednesday (17th July), by Councillor Carl Sweeney, cabinet member for planning and environment.

Climate emergency status is the latest step taken by Wigan Council to ensure the borough becomes a cleaner, greener and safer place for its residents.

Working with GM neighbours and other key stakeholders, the council aspires to be carbon-neutral by 2038 or sooner.

Council bosses believe this can be achieved by promoting a move to a circular economy, recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035 and targeting a reduction in the amount of waste produced overall.

Improving air quality will also be a priority with a commitment to meet guidelines on air quality by 2030 while supporting the UK Government in meeting and maintaining all thresholds for key air pollutants at the earliest date.

To tackle the major risk that air pollution poses, the 10 local councils in Greater Manchester are developing a Clean Air Plan.

In a bid to put environmental concerns at the heart of council decisions, an Environment Partnership working group will be established to consider strategies that will help achieve carbon-neutral ambitions.

Young people will be a central voice in the group to help shape the future with councillors, council officers, climate experts and local businesses also invited to take part.

Introducing the motion for a climate emergency, Cllr Sweeney said: “The impact of climate change is already causing serious damage around the world and all governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act.

“Strong policies to cut emissions have associated health, wellbeing and economic benefits. This council therefore declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ and commits to taking urgent action.

“We remain committed to working with partners and with our residents to ensure a cleaner, greener and healthier borough for future generations.”

A number of steps have already been made to help accelerate our green ambitions and include:

  • Investing in walking and cycling infrastructure across the borough
  • Supporting the development of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan
  • Recycling 9,000 tons of plastic between 2017 and 2018 and increasing the borough’s overall recycling rate from 42 per cent to 53 per cent
  • Plans for Makerfield depot to become carbon-neutral in the next 12 months
  • Operate a fully air quality compliant vehicle fleet by the end of 2021.

Wigan Council will call on central government to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to make this possible.

Posted on Thursday 18th July 2019
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