Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cabinet is being asked to agree approval to establish a £250,000 fund to provide grants to support local businesses to improve their carbon footprint and to support the growth of businesses in the Low Carbon and Environmental Goods & Services (LCEGS) sector according to Report Number C/21/80; which will go before Cabinet on the 10 Feb.
This grant is being promoted by Cllr David Wimble [Ind] Cabinet Member for the District Economy and Cllr Lesley Whybrow [Green] – Cabinet Member for the Environment.
Now this is a good thing. Any improvement by any company, or organization who applies to help get greener is welcome news.
However, the Council have the powers under s34(a) of the Clean Air Act 1993
undertake, or contribute towards the cost of, investigation and research relevant to the problem of air pollution
And under s35(a)(b)(c) of the same Act, they may obtain information about the emission of pollutants and other substances into the air—
(a) by issuing notices under section 36 (information about emissions from premises);
(b) by measuring and recording the emissions, and for that purpose entering on any premises, whether by agreement or in exercise of the power conferred by section 56 (rights of entry and inspection); and
(c) by entering into arrangements with occupiers of premises under which they measure and record emissions on behalf of the local authority;
And under s36(1) of the Act a local authority, such as Folkestone & Hythe District Council
may by notice in writing require the occupier of any premises in its area to furnish, whether by periodical returns or by other means, such estimates or other information as may be specified or described in the notice concerning the emission of pollutants and other substances into the air from the premises.
So, before issuing any monies to any one who applies for funding from the Folkestone & Hythe District Green Business Grant Scheme, the council ought to discover what emissions or pollutants or other substances these businesses and organsiations are releasing into the air from their premises.
This way the council can better direct monies to the worst polluters to help them improve their emissions and pollutants they throw into the air which we breathe.
Also under s2(1) &(2) of the Local Government Act 2000, the council
(1)… have power to do anything which they consider is likely to achieve any one or more of the following objects—
(a) the promotion or improvement of the economic well-being of their area,
(b) the promotion or improvement of the social well-being of their area, and
(c) the promotion or improvement of the environmental well-being of their area.
(2) The power under subsection (1) may be exercised in relation to or for the benefit of—
(a) the whole or any part of a local authority’s area, or
(b) all or any persons resident or present in a local authority’s area.
Now of course, the Council wish to promote the well being and improvement of the environment and the social well being of the district and the economy as that’s why they are giving away £250,000 to help businesses go green.
Recently Climate Emergency UK produced a league table of district council’s and their commitment to to the environment. They assessed plans according to 28 questions across nine sections, based on the expert-approved checklist for Council Action Plans. Each council was marked against these criteria and given a right to reply before the scores underwent a final audit. This work was completed between June and December 2021.
If the Council wish to give away £250,000, they should first investigate the premises of those who apply, and commit any monies to the worst offenders, as a priority. This would improve the social well being of every resident, the district environment and the economy.
Also, the Council could take the initiative and do a full audit of every business premise in the district, to better understand what damage businesses are doing to our local environment through the emissions and pollution they each create.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of DISSENT