On 17th July 2019, Colchester Borough Council unanimously declared a “Climate Emergency”. Since then it has done very little to mitigate the impact of its operations on climate change.

At the Council's Cabinet Meeting on 4th September, Cllr Dennis Willetts, Conservative Lexden & Braiswick Ward, told the LibDem & Labour Cabinet: The dictionary definition of an an “emergency” is a “serious or dangerous situation requiring IMMEDIATE action”. Yet three months on, the only new action taken by the Council is to allocate funds to appoint a junior project officer to deal with environmental and climate emergency matters, not even to appoint someone to that post.

Cllr Willetts continued “If the Council took the Climate Emergency seriously, it would have diverted senior staff to the deal with the emergency, and switched funds to the environmental projects. If the Council took the matter seriously, after 3 months it would have reviewed and compiled action plans for climate emergency issues: ensuring all the Council vehicles are electric; amended the impending refuse freighter contracts for electric or hydrogen powered lorries; brought forward the Net Zero Emission target from 2050 to 2022; sought a dramatic increase in recycling; and promoted bye-laws to deal with the top-20 air pollution spots in Colchester once and for all.”

He continued “None of these projects have started. It is clear to me that the Council’s Climate Emergency resolution was just a sham. The LibDem & labour Coalition that controls the Council is cynically paying lip-service to the environmental issues, whereas radical action is needed.”

Conservatives welcome the much-delayed appointment of a Junior Environmental project Officer, but it is too little, too late.