Climate emergency declared by parish council

Tockwith & Wilstrop Parish Council became the first council in North Yorkshire to declare a Climate Emergency its first online meeting last week.

Arnold Warneken, the local Ainsty Green campaigner and a Tockwith Parish Councillor, asked the council to adopt a motion to declare a climate emergency, with a commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

It aims to set up a Working Group which will report back with a detailed plan of action within six months.

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Arnold said: “Parish Councils often feel that there is very little that they can do compared with larger district and county councils but in fact there are many opportunities for them to run their affairs more sustainably, and also inspire residents to make their own changes.

“For example Tockwith PC could opt to install a heat pump, solar panels or a biomass boiler in our Village Hall, for which funding is available, as well as choosing a renewable electricity supplier.

“On a village scale, councils can promote local energy generation, free house insulation and electric vehicle charging points.

“In the last few months there has been a huge public interest in cycling, and other parish councils have offered small interest-free loans to less well-off residents to buy their own bikes.”

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He added that Tockwith PC is responsible for green areas including play-parks and allotments and can increase the space left for wildlife, and plant more trees.

“Lifestyles have been up-ended by lockdown, but part of our new-normal lifestyle has been good for the planet,” added Mr Warneken.

“Lots of people have seen the benefits of working from home, with travel time and costs slashed.

“The reduction of cars on the road has then encouraged others to get on their bikes, all helping to cut air pollution.

“So please let’s not waste this fantastic progress.”