Frack free campaigners celebrate as Tory Scarborough commits to become carbon neutral by 2030

190107 scarborough climate emergency john atkinson

Rally outside Scarborough Borough Council, 7 January 2019. Photo: John Atkinson

Conservative-controlled Scarborough Borough Council declared a climate emergency this afternoon.

A motion, by the two Green Party councillors, was approved with a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Members of Frack Free Scarborough said they had asked the councillors to submit the motion and were “cock-a-hoop” at the vote.

An amendment, which would have delayed the declaration because of funding shortages, was defeated.

Steph Pride, from Frack Free Scarborough, said:

“We were told there was no way Tory-dominated Scarborough Council would declare a climate emergency. But if we can force them to accept a Green party motion committing the council to action then anybody can do it.”

The main motion, while not mentioning fracking, commits the council to:

  • Make policy commitments to become carbon neutral by 2030;
  • Work with other council and governments to achieve the target
  • Fund a sustainability officer in the upcoming budget;

Scarborough Borough Council is not a mineral planning authority and does not decide on oil and gas applications. But the motion called on North Yorkshire County Council, the decision-maker on these schemes, to “recognise the climate emergency” and “take a lead to move as rapidly as possible to carbon neutrality”.

The southern half of Scarborough is licensed for oil and gas exploration. There are five oil and gas licences within the borough boundary. Two are held by Cuadrilla Resources, two by Third Energy and one by Ineos.

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Scarborough Borough Council area (light green) and exploration licences (grey). Map: UKOGL

Frack Free Scarborough, along with members of Extinction Rebellion and the Green and Labour Parties took part in a rally outside the council meeting

John Atkinson, from Scarborough Extinction Rebellion, said after the vote:

“Our task now is to make sure this is more than words and translates into the urgent climate action we need to prevent runaway global warming.”

In December 2018, Brighton and Hove City Council approved a declaration of climate emergency and unanimously agreed to review the ways that it dealt with global climate change. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has said in May 2018 he was implementing measures to protect people from floods, fires and the political upheaval caused by climate change.

  • Earlier today, the 10 boroughs that make up Greater Manchester announced a new presumption against fracking. DrillOrDrop report

36 replies »

  1. Congratulations Scarborough – and well done to the Conservative-led council, who (unlike their party representatives in Westminster) seem to have actually read the IPCC report and realise we can’t just go on as though everything is normal. Great work!

    • This is real progress; Andy’s bold move has allowed others to follow. Likely a domino effect and the house of frack will all fall down…

  2. I wonder what the people who live in Scarborough think – the Council Tax payers and those that heat their homes with gas and drive cars to work? No more tourists coming by car – perhaps they will have to park up outside Scarborough and take a magic carpet into town? Are the Council going to install zero carbon renewable systems and batteries and electric car charging points in everyone’s home, give them a free EV – and disconnect from the fossil fuel gas and electricity grid’s? And shut down McCains etc?

    At least the one who gets the £40k / year job will be happy.

    “Scarborough Borough Council is not a mineral planning authority and does not decide on oil and gas applications. But the motion called on North Yorkshire County Council, the decision-maker on these schemes, to “recognise the climate emergency” and “take a lead to move as rapidly as possible to carbon neutrality”.

    A lot of hot air.

      • Clearly the solution to the global crisis is to ban fracking in Manchester and no more tourists coming by car to Scarborough – parking up outside Scarborough and taking a magic carpet into town. And the Council installing zero carbon renewable systems and batteries and electric car charging points in everyone’s home, giving them a free EV – and disconnecting from the fossil fuel gas and electricity grid’s. And shutting down McCains etc. And all going Vegan and giving them all organic allotments.

    • Paul Tresco

      It is not clear in the motion as to the exact scope of the carbon neutrality.

      It may well only apply to those activities carried out by the council, with an increase in support of low carbon activities by appropriate PR and a higher interest in planning issues within the councils area.

      We shall no doubt find out more once they employ a ‘carbon neutral’ officer and they come up with the draft plan. Then the voters can see what the proposals are, and how they feel about them and the cost ( as there are no proposals or example proposals in the motion ).

      I am sure that the proposers ( and contributors here on DOD ) will keep an eye out for that plan and also ensure the council does not use too much carbon offset to achieve their goal.

      Early days yet, and fracking has no bearing on the issue in my opinion.

      • Exactly, no clarity, just hot air. I was in Scarborough over Xmas – an awful lot of cars there on Boxing day. It will come to nothing as usual.

    • Am surprised at you Paul T, who pertains to buy into the new energy and then tries to belittle the councils for doing the same?
      According to the latest gov poll 85% prefer clean energy generation, councils are representing this majority; just doin’ their job…

  3. No Sherwulfe. They haven’t DONE anything yet. Until they do it is simply hot air.

    But it will be interesting when they actually start to look at what the practicalities are, what action they manage to take. I suspect there will be some meaningless gesture to “justify” the expense and then back to normality. And, of course, whilst time is passing, and money is being spent, then locals will start to look at why money is not available for other things. But not to worry, these councillors will be gone by then.

    Of course, when they manage to reduce the mean temperature in their town the new councillors will have to find a way to attract tourists with ski slopes etc!

        • And what is your name now???

          Yes, we can all see who is focusing on reality and who is not.

          Meanwhile, KatT, my new Volvo is on order and it is PETROL because they are not able to supply hybrid or electric! Another good example of “intentions” v reality. (Also, just scanned a car magazine whilst having my hair cut. Little feature on the Jag electric that weights in at 2.2 tonnes!! That is a lot of weight to drag to the supermarket.)

          • Martin I am amazed and pleasantly surprised you even attempted to order a hybrid 😊 And good news if demand is outstripping supply as that will be positive in terms of the market. In fairness to Volvo 2019 is the first year of their strategy so I’m sure there will be a lot of satisfied customers and green vehicles to come.



            • I have had two hybrids KatT and paid for by myself. Unlike some of your anti buddies who are on record as driving around in their diesels and unwilling to change as someone else will not fund it! But, to be fair, in terms of current development, having tried hybrids myself, I would not be inclined to rush to another, hence my return to petrol and after the 3 years there may be more clarity. Goodness, Volvo might actually make a hybrid that delivers what you would expect of a vehicle from that background-a long range, able to operate on electric in cold temperatures and a less than diabolical depreciation rate! (and maybe not 2 tonne plus.)

              I would suggest you check the reality at Volvo. There is a 6 month waiting list for certain EXISTING petrol models and little other than plans, currently, for electric. So, it is certainly not about demand outstripping supply-there is yet to be a supply!

              Now, air sourced heat pumps, absolutely! Practical, cost efficient and very flexible.

              Interesting that Norway is so far ahead on electric vehicles. Wonder where they get the means to do that? Actually, I don’t-oil and gas revenues! Perhaps something that Scarborough will look into?


              Not quite correct Sherwulfe. The 2019 V60s appear to come only in diesel?

              What Volvo actually said was that there will be an option for a hybrid or e-version for each model 2019 onwards. However perhaps they forgot the V60 – the only one I looked at.

              Diesels appear to remain available as before……

              “Volvo Cars has already committed itself to this bright new electric future. By 2019, all its new models will be available as a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle. It will also gradually phase out internal combustion cars and, by 2025, make manufacturing operations ‘climate neutral’.

              Such a huge increase in electrified cars clearly presents challenges. Not least: where do you charge your car? The truth is that, even today – when fully electric cars or plug-in hybrids make up just 0.2 per cent of vehicles on our roads – there are plenty of places to charge. And it’s going to get much better in the future.”

            • As Martin has bought a ‘PETROL’ then this comment is not really relevant, Paul
              What is relevant is the ‘the increasing insignificance of the internal combustion engine’…

            • No Sherwulfe, Martin has bought nothing. He has leased a Volvo-an XC40-only available in petrol and diesel. He did look at the V60 but as Paul indicated, only available in diesel.

              It is known as living in the real world rather than the Gigglesphere!

              In that real world, if anyone is interested, the lease costs at Volvo are crazy and it is possible to get exactly the same product 20% cheaper elsewhere. So much for looking after your agents! (With such a saving it is compensation for the rise in domestic energy costs.)

              Maybe after 3 years there will be just as many fuelling points for hydrogen, the moving around of heavy batteries will be extinct (anyone costed the road and tyre wear from that?) and Scarborough will be searching for gas to produce the hydrogen! Or, perhaps, they will note someone wants to commercialise producing hydrogen from waste plastic? Reality is more complicated, but it has a habit of trumping spin. Remember the encouragement towards diesel? Reaction does.

            • “Chinese carmaker halts electric van plant over “market challenges”.




              The Chinese owners of Volvo!

              Maybe better to wait for the spin to become reality?

            • So Martin has leased the car….no difference to the fuel he is putting in it. Comment still stands and your’s is still irrelevant PT.

            • That’s a double negative from you and a double negative from me. Again the point is this:’representing the increasing insignificance of the internal combustion engine’.

              Am interested why you two, if indeed two exist, are answering posts directed at the other?

  4. I think it very telling that every time there is a positive and extremely necessary step to fight climate change, the supporters of fracking belittle and attack it. Everything we do now to reduce our carbon footprint is essential and matters. Commitments taken by local authorities such as Scarborough should be applauded. And as we move forward, given that car manufactures such as Volvo, intend to only manufacture electric and hybrid vehicles we shall very soon have many visitors to Scarborough travelling there in clean vehicles. The suggestion that the tourist industry of coastal towns is dependent on visitors driving there in petrol/diesel powered cars is utter nonsense. Coastal towns face a huge threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change, indeed some coastal communities in the U.K. may cease to exist if we simply carry on regardless. Well done Scarborough, the pressure and political momentum to tack more action against climate change is building and rightly so.

    • It wasn’t nonsense on Boxing Day – very difficult to park. It will be the same next year and the year after etc. etc.

      • The all electric cars are on their way. The storage of intermittent electrical generation is on it’s way.

        Take a look at the Tesla Gigafactory and try to argue that they are not leading the way with battery storage.

        While you are viewing the Gigafactory take a look at the plaque on the wall. It reads,

        “Tesla mission accelerating the worlds transition to sustainable energy”

        The fossil fuel industry is on it’s way out. Renewables are in.

        Interesting that cobalt use in their batteries is now half of what it was in their first batteries.

      • Paul, the number of cars was not my point nor yours. You implied no more tourists visiting Scarborough by car and would be somehow flown in by magic carpet etc. I was not disputing the number of cars in Scarborough on Boxing Day when you visited. What I was taking exception to is the blinkered view that things are not changing and belittling the council’s decision to reduce the town’s carbon footprint. The car industry is moving to production of all hybrid and electric vehicles and my point is that visitors will not need a magic carpet to visit Scarborough nor will tourism suffer because the council is committed to achieving a carbon neutral town.

        • But your point was based upon what is currently speculation, KatT.

          There are alternatives to hybrid and electric cars, such as hydrogen, which are now starting to get going in some countries. There is just as much possibility of those overtaking hybrids and electric as not. Indeed, there is a large project in the N.East to provide hydrogen to a large number of households and hydrogen trains are on their way (see yesterday’s Times.)

          Wonder where all that hydrogen will come from? Probably from gas with the carbon captured either for disposal or used for other purposes. So, whilst you and DoD would like to link carbon neutral to anti fracking it may, in reality, turn out to be nothing of the sort.

  5. I predict:
    Paper coffee cups instead of plastic ones in the canteen
    Motion detectors on the office lights
    LED lightbulbs
    Reducing the temperature by 1’C in the offices

  6. Yes, Sherwulfe, and then we would be-Somalia!!


    Bit like the way to deal with “relative poverty”. Make everyone poor. Another little “brain” wave actually receiving “serious” consideration.

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