In a upcoming full council meeting slated for Friday, 13 October 2023, Herefordshire Council is set to debate a pivotal motion on net zero targets. Proposed by Councillor Ben Proctor, the motion comes as a rebuttal to the UK Government's recent rollback on several key climate commitments.
"The government’s weakening of its role in transition is bad for the UK and for Herefordshire and our net zero target," stated the motion, highlighting the council's deep concern over national policy changes. In July, the council had unanimously agreed on an ambitious target, aiming for net zero emissions across the county by 2030.
To confront the UK Government's sudden policy reversal, the council has laid out a series of directives. "The council, in representing the people of Herefordshire, has a duty to warn the government of the impact of their decision and inviting them to think again," the motion stressed. As part of this, the Chief Executive is instructed to write to various Secretaries of State.
Among the directives, the council will ask the Secretary of State for Transport to return to the former objective of ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Similarly, the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero will be urged to revert to the initial target of ending the sale of new fossil fuel boilers by the same year. Lastly, the council will implore the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to continue requiring landlords to make their properties more energy-efficient.
The motion in full
At its meeting on 28th July 2023, Council unanimously resolved to reaffirm its earlier declaration of a climate and ecological emergency. Underpinning this is our ambitious target to achieve net zero across the County by 2030. To achieve this, Herefordshire Council must work in partnership with local people and businesses, other local authorities, and with the government.
Since that meeting, the UK Government has unexpectedly announced that it will roll back on many key commitments that it had previously made to help move the country along the path to net zero. These commitments are vital to enable all sectors to plan investment effectively and for people, businesses, and other organizations in Herefordshire to take the steps we all need to reduce carbon emissions from all activity across the County. More importantly, our commitment to achieving the goal of a zero-carbon, nature-rich Herefordshire by 2030 will be undermined.
The government’s weakening of its role in transition is bad for the UK and for Herefordshire and our net zero target. The council, in representing the people of Herefordshire, has a duty to warn the government of the impact of their decision and inviting them to think again.
Council, therefore, resolves to instruct the Chief Executive to write to:
- The Secretary of State for Transport to ask him to return to the government’s previous target of ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
- The Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero asking her to return to the previous target of ending the sale of new fossil fuel boilers by 2030.
- The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities asking him to continue to require landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties.