Friday, 6 July 2007

Council work goes on

By-election campaigning is fun - but there is still much to learn about being a Councillor, and plenty of interesting work to do there.
Yesterday, the Environment Scrutiny Committee organised a conference for councillors from all scrutiny committees about climate change. Starting at 10am it was planned to continue until 3.30pm. All councillors were invited: about 10 of us started the day, but only about 7 made it through to the end. Apparently 8 others had said they were coming, but didn't turn up.
It was a shame that others were unable to attend, particularly as officers and experts from outside the Council had made such an effort with their presentations. Cllr Copeland, the Cabinet member with responsibility for much of this area, was present throughout the day.
At least those of us who did attend - a good mix of all three parties - were passionate about the subject. The main aim of the day was to find topics which relate to climate change which could be suggested to the various Scrutiny Committees for their consideration, as well as to learn more for ourselves about the subject.
What is apparent is that, at long last, climate change has been brought right to the top of the political agenda. Local authorities have a major role to play, through the planning system, as social landlords, and by setting an example, in helping to combat this problem.
There is also the need not just to change our behaviour to help reduce the release of greenhouse gases so that future generations do not suffer the appalling consequences of climate change, but also to take action to ameliorate the worst effects of climate change which are already happening.
While our actions today can help to reduce the problem in the future, there is nothing that can be done to reverse what has already happened. An average temperature increase of at least 2 degrees centigrade will be with us for generations. The extremes of weather which we have experienced over the past few years will continue, and get worse, so ways have to be found to adapt, so that we can cope effectively with extremes of temperature and rainfall.
The task now, for those of us from all three parties, is to ensure that the lessons of today's meeting are taken forward into every committee and into cabinet, to ensure that all decisions are made with consideration of any effects there might be on climate change.


Anonymous said...

Why did only 7 finish the day, what happened to the other 3?

Mike Barker said...

Hi Gill, I guess they had other meetings to go to. On this subject: there doesn't seem to be any co-ordination about meeting times in the Council.
A couple of weeks ago I had to miss the Town Centre Forum, which, as a stakeholder in the town centre, I always go to, because it was arranged for the same time as the Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.
You'd think TPTB could organise a centralised system where all Council Meetings could be co-ordinated to avoid people having to miss meetings or leave early (or arrive late).