A motion brought forward by Cherwell’s green adviser Ian Middleton and seconded by Labor leader Sean Woodcock calling for better funding for local green initiatives was rejected by Cherwell’s Conservative group at the plenary council meeting on Monday.
The motion referred to the Glasgow Pact COP26 which recognized the critical role local councils must play in tackling climate change, and the government’s own report on the Net Zero Strategy which highlighted the lack of targeted government funding.
He called on council leaders to press the government for more targeted funding for green projects and to join other councils to introduce green bonds meant to allow local people to invest money in projects. Government-backed fixed return investments aimed at funding local green infrastructure projects in their communities.
The Green Investment Bonds were launched in September following COP26 as part of a government-backed program to enable local people to support their councils in the development of green infrastructure solutions in their communities while by benefiting from a return on investment. But Tory Council Leader Barry Wood said this was not an opportunity he wanted to allow local residents of Cherwell to be a part of.
The motions also included commitments to low-carbon development standards as part of the council’s 2040 local plan, but were rejected by the Tories with Labor, Liberals, Greens and Independent Councilors all voting in favor.
Speaking after the meeting, Ian Middleton said:
“This motion was obvious. I just couldn’t believe the Conservatives blocked it! “
“With local government funding being reduced year after year, I know how difficult it is for boards like ours to prioritize spending over green initiatives. Lobbying the government for reliable longer-term funding for green projects is vital if we are to deliver on our promises to residents on tackling climate change without compromising other services. Green bonds are an innovative way to involve local communities in improving their own local environment while earning a return on their money. I would have thought it was something that the Conservatives would have been 100% behind ”
“It is truly disconcerting that the Conservatives blocked this motion, essentially saying that it was not their responsibility and suggesting instead that the county council should deal with it”
“He was grateful for the Labor group’s support on this motion, but equally disappointed to see the controlling Conservative group blocking sensible proposals that would help us strengthen our obligations to future generations.”
“We are now almost 3 years into the 10-year deadline we set in our emergency climate change motion and the Conservatives continue to block sane multi-party motions like these designed to help us respect these commitments ”
“It is clear that despite all the leaflets and glossy claims on climate action, Cherwell’s Tories are not really ready to embrace tangible and constructive solutions to deal with a climate emergency that is already having a direct impact on our local communities ”.