On Thursday 18th March, the Climate & Ecological Working Group will meet behind closed doors to discuss matters which affect our environment.
It will be chaired by Cllr L Whybrow (Green) whose party lodged the motion for our Council to declare a Climate & Ecological emergency back in July 2019.
On the agenda is:
Carbon Action Plan – Discussion on immediate actions identified in the Carbon Action Plan and how these will be progressed.
Implementation Plan for the Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy- Council’s response
Housing – A presentation will be given to members which outlines the plans for housing both in terms of asset management strategy and the stock condition survey, specific to climate change aspects. The presentation will also include the understanding to addressing carbon in sheltered schemes.
Wider District Emissions Work – General discussion about the broader areas members wish to look at and highlight where there is capacity to influence people.
There is nothing on this agenda which warrants the meeting to be behind closed doors. NOTHING!
If for instance we take the last item – emissions – the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, at s12(9) states:
12.—(9) To the extent that the environmental information to be disclosed relates to information on emissions, a public authority shall not be entitled to refuse to disclose that information under an exception referred to in paragraphs (5)(d) to (g).
So if under the regulations, one cannot be denied information on, or which relates to emissions, how is it our Council and its Cllrs deny the public the right to watch this meeting and know what they are saying about emissions which affect our district and the air which we breathe?
The Information Commissioner’s Office provide guidance on this and can be found here:
As we pointed out last week, the Council are failing to proactively disseminate environmental information which all the information on the agenda is. Also the Council is breaking the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 around air quality and emissions especially from Dry Cleaners, Vehicle Re-sprayers and Petrol Stations and the emissions they place into our environment and the air which we breathe.
The Chair of the Climate & Ecological Working Group is also the Cabinet Member of the Environment, Cllr L.Whybrow (Green) who receives and annual allowance of approx £16,000.
She as the leader of her Green group and her elected colleagues made it clear that there is a Climate & Ecological Emergency in our district, by bringing the motion in July 2019. The whole elected body agreed with them. However, the Chair of the working group Cllr L. Whybrow (Green) then denies all residents access to information and data relating to this Climate & Ecological emergency. For all intents and purposes it’s like saying: yes your house is on fire, but we won’t tell you about it until we are ready.
A 2018 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that we had roughly 12 (now 9) years to make massive changes that could stop the worst impacts of climate change to our planet, to our country, to our county, to our district, to our communities.
This is our environment, it belongs to us all. We should Panic as Greta says. We should NOT be excluded from matters which relate to our environment and affect us all. The chair and the other the other five Cllrs who sit on this working group could if they were so minded vote to have the meeting in public.
If you believe this meeting should be held in public, as it is OUR environment, then do write to the chair of the working group:
and the other five Cllrs whose email addresses can be found ⇒ here
The Shepway Vox Team
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