St Albans District Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019. This page seeks to provide updates on progress.
Update Nov 2020: Council launches new Sustainability and Climate Crisis Strategy.
The council has published its Sustainability and Climate Crisis Strategy, which shows the first phase of actions for responding to the climate crisis.
Pages 22 and 23 are key; they set out 16 priorities for action across energy use, transport, community engagement, and embedding environmental issues in council policies and projects.
It’s a plan we can all play a part in, and it’s clear the council can’t deliver the required change alone, so please do read it and think about what your part might be and how you can engage the groups/schools/businesses you’re in contact with.
Update June 2020: Progress being made
- Many important foundations have now been laid. In particular, the council have made responding to the climate emergency one of the four key priorities in their Corporate Plan. This is a really important step, since it shapes their future work.
- You can find the corporate plan and the priority projects in the papers that went to the February Council meeting, particularly pages 65 and 68-73, which provides a good sense of the council’s ambitious future plans for climate action.
- The corporate plan includes a commitment to a citizen’s assembly in 2020/21 to “drive forward the climate emergency policies of this Council”.
- They have formed a Climate Crisis Response Working Group, made up of councillors, as well as local organisations including Sustainable St Albans.
- There has also been work to draft a net zero action plan to cut emissions both on the council’s own estate and across the district over the next few years.
- This plan was near completion when the Climate Crisis Response Working Group meetings were suspended in April due to Covid-19.
Update Jan 2020: St Albans District Council work with local groups – including Sustainable St Albans – to create Climate Action Plan.
Find updates about this here: https://stalbans.gov.uk/climate-change
July 2019: St Albans District Council declare Climate Emergency with all party agreement voting 55 votes to 0 in favour
Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth jointly organised the 1,700 strong petition, which was distributed during the 2019 Sustainability Festival.
Members of Sustainable St Albans and St Albans Friends of the Earth joined other environmental groups and supporters outside the council offices before the debate. Groups included Extinction Rebellion St Albans, St Albans Labour Party, and St Albans Green Party.
Catherine Ross, chair of the 2019 Sustainabilty Festival and trustee of Sustainable St Albans presented the petition along with Mimi Spiliopoulou, a 17 year old member of Extinction Rebellion St Albans.
“It is a brilliant result,” said Catherine, “and so positive that there was cross-party agreement in favour of declaring the Climate Emergency in our district. I want to thank all the residents, councillors and officers who helped to make this happen – and to say that Sustainable St Albans will help in any way we can as the council goes forward in developing an action plan. Now the work begins.”
120 1st tier councils across the UK have declared a Climate Emergency. 70 of these, like St Albans District Council, have set a target date of 2030 to go carbon neutral. View the Climate Emergency website for information on declarations by other councils in the UK.
Single Use Plastic Ban
On the same evening, the council also agreed a motion put forward by Cllr Mary Maynard to ban the use of single use plastic in council offices and work towards banning its use in facilities licensed by the council and at events on council property or supported by the council. This follows the setting up of a new Plastic Free Harpenden group, which joins Plastic Free St Albans in calling for a reduction in the use of single use plastic across the district.
Gail Jackson, trustee of Sustainable St Albans which partners Plastic Free St Albans said: “This was a remarkable, and historic night for the district with two major motions supporting environmental sustainability. Over 5,000 people took part in the events during the fourth Sustainabilty Festival and these concerned residents must now feel that their voices have been heard.”
Christelle Garcia from Plastic Free St Albans said: “It’s fantastic that the council is supporting the reduction of single use plastics in such a practical way that should see quite an impact in the district. Local businesses have already been very proactive on this issue and this motion will provide a huge boost to the movement to remove these unnecessary plastics from our everyday lives.”