Plymouth Labour is tackling the climate emergency with a bid to amend the Conservative budget to create a £2m Green Investment Fund and double the money spent on the city’s wildflower meadows.
At Monday’s Budget meeting Labour councillors will be proposing an extensive, fully-costed amendment to create the £2m fund within the capital programme to ensure the council’s commercial estate meets minimum energy efficiency standards.
“We have a long way to go to audit efficiency in all Council buildings and radically improve thermal efficiency,“ said Councillor Tom Briars-Delve, Plymouth Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change
“This is particularly true where we need to reach beyond EPC band C by 2030. It would be hypocritical to expect residents to retrofit their homes without the Council leading the way on its own estate.
“Rather than Council departments having to dip into existing income streams, which could impact other services, this pot will be available for corporate energy efficiency improvements. All surpluses delivered through the programme will be reinvested back into future environmental initiatives.”
The Labour amendment also includes a commitment to increase spending on the city’s wildflower meadows.
“Wildflower meadows offer crucial benefits for biodiversity and pollinators,” explained Cllr Briars-Delve, who is Stoke ward councillor.
“Since the previous Labour administration, Plymouth has continued to manage 40% of grassland for nature and the scale of land involved is vast.”
He criticised the current Conservative administration for only budgeting £9,000 for the maintenance and management of existing wildflower meadows.
“It’s no wonder why the contractors stopped soon after 100 hectares – approximately half of the total. Our amendment seeks to double that budget commitment.”
The third environmental aspect of the amendment links to accelerating the decarbonisation of the city’s taxi fleet. According to the Council’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update, the transport sector is responsible for nearly a third of the city’s overall emissions.
“Plymouth City Council mustn’t fall into the trap of paying lip service to the climate emergency whilst sitting on our hands,” said Cllr Briars-Delve.
“Financial sustainability can, and must, go in tandem with environmental sustainability.”