Earlier this year, the East Suffolk Environment Task Group and Greenprint Forum wrote to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industry Strategy (BEIS) to encourage the Government to consider the unique opportunity of bringing about lasting changes to address climate change in its Covid-19 recovery plan. The letter, which was signed by Cllr James Mallinder, Chair of the Environment Task Group and cabinet member for the Environment, and Jane Healey, Chair of the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum, expressed the need for the Government to provide local councils with the correct framework, systems and resources to respond to the everchanging environment and deliver on its climate change commitments.
In his response, the Secretary of State for BEIS addresses some of the issues raised in the letter, however, many remain unanswered. Therefore, Cllr Mallinder and Jane Healey have responded to continue to press BEIS whilst also directing other issues as appropriate to other departments of the Government.
As a result, letters have also been sent to the Secretary of State for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth and Secretary of State for Department for Transport. The letters raise specific points for the departments to consider, including enabling Planning Authorities to make decisions aligned with climate change commitments, making funding available to those directly affected by coastal erosion, introducing tax incentives to ensure new housing developments are zero-carbon and putting in measures to encourage and support sustainable travel and address over-consumption.
Cllr Mallinder said: “East Suffolk Council is committed to tackling climate change, but we cannot do this alone. As a Council, we have been and continue to be proactive, we are asking residents to be proactive and now it is time that we ask Westminster to be proactive so that we can achieve our commitments.
“In order to do this, we need support and further powers from the Government to allow us to implement significant changes to ensure we can achieve our climate change target, to the benefit of our communities, the country and the planet.”
Jane Healey said: “I urge the Government to do their utmost to provide East Suffolk, and other communities around the country, with the framework and tools that we need to effect meaningful change locally.
“The Greenprint Forum is a wide and diverse network of people, organisations and businesses from around East Suffolk who are all committed to our vision of working together to improve our quality of life whilst significantly reducing our carbon footprint, and by combining our voices with that of East Suffolk Council I hope our shared message has a bigger impact and we look forward to the Government’s response.”
To read the letters in full, go to www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/environment/climate-change/east-suffolk-environment-task-group/work-so-far/