Lawyers put Doncaster Council on notice over their plans to tackle climate change

Lawyers have put Doncaster Council 'on notice' and have warned them they could 'violate legal obligations' if they do not introduce proper climate change plans.

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 3:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 11:58 am
Traffic Chaos Doncaster St George Bridge
Traffic Chaos Doncaster St George Bridge

Legal representatives from London-based environmental charity ClientEarth have written to 100 English councils who are currently developing a new local plan.

They said they are giving them eight weeks to explain how they will set 'evidence-based carbon reduction targets' and ensure these targets are then central to their new planning policy.

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has said the council is taking climate change 'very seriously' and a raft of measures are expected to be announced at a meeting of the full council on September 19.

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Mayor Jones announced back in June the council would set up a cross panel group, chaired by MP Ed Miliband, to look at how to achieve zero CO2 emissions and climate change plans for the short, medium and long term.

Unlike other cities and town, Doncaster has yet to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by a certain time frame.

Cities like Sheffield, Bristol and Leeds are aiming for 2030 while Nottingham are hoping to achieve it by 2028.

ClientEarth climate lawyer Sam Hunter Jones said: “There is a collective failure by local authorities across England to plan adequately for climate change. Too often climate change is perceived to be just a national or international issue and therefore solely the responsibility of central government.

“Clearly central government needs to do more, as the recent Committee on Climate Change progress reports stress. Yet so many of the daily decisions around new and existing infrastructure – such as new buildings, roads and utilities – are made at the local level. All of these decisions will ‘lock in’ an area’s future emissions and its resilience to climate change.

“Scientists warn that we have 10 years to transform our economies and avoid catastrophic climate change, but decisions that will have ramifications for decades are being made now by authorities with no idea if these decisions are consistent with national and international commitments to limit emissions."

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones, said: “We are taking climate change seriously, the Doncaster Local Plan contains a number of objectives and policies that seek to address and adapt to climate change.

"I will be taking a motion to Full Council on Thursday 19th September to declare a Climate and Biodiversity Emergency which will be followed by further policies and strategies to combat climate change, encourage biodiversity and promote clean green growth in the Borough.

"We all can and must play our part in combatting climate change; this includes residents, businesses and the Council alike.

“Doncaster Council will be utilising the resources we have to work towards our ambitions, on the backdrop of continued government cuts, with a £15 million budget gap to meet for 2020/21.”