East Yorkshire declares a climate emergency on third vote

East Yorkshire – one of the UK’s biggest carbon polluting areas – has declared a climate emergency after two earlier failed attempts.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council meeting online on 24 February 2021

Today’s decision, backed by council leaders, was recommended by a cross-party climate review panel.

Previous votes by the county council in 2019 and 2020 were defeated by the ruling Conservative group.

Councillors at a virtual meeting, also voted to develop a climate change strategy within 12 months linked to an action plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

They committed to review procurement procedures to ensure environmental factors were “fully considered and appropriately weighted”. They also backed a recommendation for partnership working and influencing behaviour on climate change.

Cllr Mike Medini, chair of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council climate review panel

Cllr Mike Medini, who became a vegetarian since chairing the review panel, said:

“The first behaviour we need to change is our own.

“We can’t be leaders of the community and not lead by example.

“We need to change our individual efforts and the way we go about life before we start preaching to the residents.”

He said the council wanted to go beyond the “symbolic act” of declaring a climate emergency.

It wanted “to place itself in the best position possible to achieve the goal shared by all our residents, communities and business across the East Riding”, he said.

Cllr Medini said the council would need to collaborate with local partners to achieve reduced carbon emissions.

“The scale of the work needed for the council to meet the government’s target of net zero by 2050 is immense and shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Cllr Andrew Walker

Yorkshire Party councillor Andy Walker, the author of last year’s defeated declaration of a climate emergency, described the review panel’s recommendations as “the single most important document this council has produced in its lifetime”.

“It marks the moment that that we acknowledge that something has gone badly wrong.

“We need to recognise that we are by far the worst emitter of greenhouse gases outside London.”

The region was a severe risk of flooding, biodiversity was shrinking and the coastline was eroding faster than anywhere in Europe, he said.

“It is not enough to start doing the good things. We must stop doing the bad things too.”

Referring to plans for expansion of the local onshore oil and gas industry, he said:

“We are still enabling the exploration of fresh fossil fuel supplies. Honestly, in 2021, in the East Riding, it is utter madness.”

East Riding of Yorkshire Council planners recently ruled that proposals by Rathlin Energy to produce oil at its West Newton A site for 20 years would not need an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

DrillOrDrop reported that local people and councillors have opposed the decision. Cllr Jacob Birch, a Conservative member of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, is to ask the local government secretary to review East Yorkshire’s ruling.

Cllr Denis Healy, a member of the council’s pensions committee, said there was “a reluctance” to disinvest in fossil fuels. Like many councils, East Riding invests some of its pension fund in fossil fuel companies. He said:

“The pensions committee needs to live out the ideals of the climate change review in taking us towards a more responsible investment base for our pension fund.”

A panel member, Cllr David Jeffereys, called for the appointment of a council climate change coordinator:

“To reassure the public that we are very serious we need someone of expertise to coordinate and report to the council where we are going. We need someone of expertise and drive to pull it together.”

13 replies »

  1. This is welcome news. The true test of whether the council’s is serious about this will be the forthcoming application from Rathlin.

    Senior officers in the council have moved mountains to give Rathlin a foothold in East Yorkshire but I can’t imagine any of the councillors now voting to approve further development.

    Worth having a look at the Union Jack share price in the morning (the market closed before ERYC declared a climate emergency).

    Huge money riding on this, so interesting times ahead.

    • What huge money??

      If that was the case then Union Jack share price would be a lot higher!

      Will all the garages in East Yorkshire have to stop supplying petrol and diesel? Will the farms not be allowed to use their red diesel to cultivate and plant their crops? There does seem to be a few who don’t understand what this declaration means, or doesn’t mean.

    • The council’s planning committee will have to consider any future applications inline with national policy and not within any local declaration, otherwise the decision may end up being made by central government and local council taxpayers left facing a large legal bill.

  2. Progress at last, although at a speed somewhat slower than a melting glacier. Kudos to those on EYCC who have driven this and put the hard yards in the educate others. That said, declaring a climate emergency is pure green flag waving until a policy to deliver the necessary changes is passed and enacted.

  3. First step remove all council investment in fossil fuel industry.

    Then halt all fossil fuel extraction within council borders.

    Then the council will be believed and respected.

    • Then halt all fossil fuel use in East Riding of Yorkshire ……. then the Council will be believed and respected.

    • Peter, stopping local production just moves the responsibility for cutting emissions to someone else, and will prolong the use of the 25.5 billion cubic meters per year capacity gas interconnector from Norway, that terminates within the council border.

    • Peter K R
      They should move to halt the sale and use of all fossil fuel by the year end. But going by other council plans, it means they will look at reducing the carbon footprint of the council.

      Worth revisiting by DOD in a year to see what has gone on. As the councillor says – using fossil fuel in cars in East Yorkshire is utter madness and should stop tomorrow (or was I dreaming).

      So – if they put their money where their mouth is, they will be turning off this pipeline tomorrow??

      Guess not. Its gas from Norway, so that’s alright then.

  4. What is this fantasy that Councils are believed and respected?

    I seem to remember quite a few antis who did not believe or respect Councils (Peter-remember them?) when the Councils did not agree with them. Pleasing all the people is not possible, but perhaps pleasing the vast majority in an area who rely upon things may be the most common route-and that leads to fossil fuel in East Riding of Yorkshire currently, and for a long time to come.

  5. Believed and Respected?? Theres not one council on the British mainland which deals with the needs of their constituents, they are completely out our their leagues! Corrupt, contracting mates, In it for themselves!

  6. Ruth, About time to Keep me informed You do a great Job Thanks, Rob Redford


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