Bedford’s Mayor asks for more powers and cash to tackle climate emergency

Image: Hazera Forth

Bedford’s mayor has written to the Prime Minister requesting the powers and funding to tackle the climate emergency at a local level, a meeting heard.

Bedford Borough Mayor, Dave Hodgson was responding to a question from Cllr Lucy Bywater (Green, Castle Ward) at the full council meeting on October 13.

It has been reported that 9 in 10 councils in the country have declared a climate emergency, but that help is needed to put their words into action.

This was the concern of councillor Bywater, who said, “In 2018, the UK government signed up to having domestic institutional arrangements, public participation, and engagement with local communities at COP24.

“This was so that localities can play their part in delivering the UK’s nationally determined contributions in the Paris Climate Agreement

“In May, Alok Sharma, president of cop26, said collaboration would be a key objective in the climate summit.

“But there is no formal relationship allowing a joint partnership between local and national governments on climate action.

“Does the mayor agree that we add our voices as a local authority to calls by the Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, and many others, for a joint local and national government task force to plan action to reach net-zero emissions?”

The mayor replied, “Yes, I would agree. I have written to the prime minister asking for the powers and the funding to deliver COP26 at a local level.

“I will share a copy of that letter with councillors.”

In the letter, the mayor tells the prime minister that “action on tackling the climate emergency has never been more urgent” and a joined-up government at all levels is needed to achieve the ambitious net-zero targets.

Adding that people all around the country know this and that is why they urge their councils to take climate change seriously and act now.

The mayor called on the prime minister to announce at COP 26 that he will grant councils the powers and resources they need to meet net-zero targets and be resilient to climate impacts.

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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