Report of the Town Clerk & Chief Executive.
The Committee received a report of the Town Clerk on the Climate Action Strategy. The Chairman introduced the report and noted that the Climate Action Strategy is important to the Committee and despite the pandemic and other challenges, the Committee’s commitment to the Climate Action Strategy remains an important priority, as it is a key issue affecting the country and the world.
The Climate Action Strategy provides the City of London with an opportunity to act decisively with the Committee having previously supported the development of a comprehensive strategy and actions rather than simply declaring a climate emergency The Chairman noted that the Climate Action Strategy is deliverable and affordable with measurable action sets. The Chairman, along with a number of Members, have been working with Officers to support the development of the strategy which is data driven and grounded in a solid evidence-based action.
The Chairman informed the Committee that the Climate Action Strategy sets a date of 2027 for net zero on the City Corporation’s own emissions with implementation starting in April 2021; once the funding put in place for year one is released. Funding has been identified for the next 5-years as part of the medium term financial plan, with a budget to be agreed annually for the Climate Action Strategy. The strategy targets net zero on the full value chain by 2040.
The Chairman confirmed that if the Climate Action Strategy is agreed by the Court of the Common Council then the Committee will be pushing this forward and ensuring that the impacts are reported to the Committee.
The Head of Corporate Strategy & Performance informed the Committee of the actions in relation to this committee, which were improving the ability to ensure resilience in relation to pests and diseases and resilience to climate generally, making sure that the City of London works collaboratively and has all the data that it requires to drive the strategy forward, ensuring that climate considerations are embedded into the public health agenda, which will require refreshing the 2017 Health and Wellbeing Strategy to include climate implications.
The Chairman informed the Committee that a test and learn approach will be taken to resilience in the first place. We will be doing more of the carbon emissions work in the first 5 years.
A Member thanked and commended Officers and Members on the well thought out paper which had brought forward the high-level priorities. The Member asked to ensure that the strategy imbeds the legal considerations which need to be adopted into policies when it comes to delivering the statutory requirements. The Head of Corporate Strategy & Performance responded that there are a lot of other policies and statutory duties that are encompassed in this strategy. We have taken the approach of auditing this, which is being led by a team of dedicated officers and Members working on the matter. Officers are keen to build climate change into their work, with the Local Plan Policy being one of the more important areas. Going forward every decision coming through will have to ensure that it has climate change factored into the workplan.
This was followed by a Member who had inquired if the City of London was behind in terms of their work around climate change and if the finance for the strategy will follow through. The Head of Corporate Strategy & Performance responded that the City of London had declared in 2010 that climate change was important to the City of London and has leapfrogged into gathering all the scientific evidence. This puts the City of London in a leading position which will allow the City of London to influence others too. In terms of the question in relation to the funding, the Chairman confirmed that this will follow through given the work that has already been done.
The Chairman informed the Committee that the City of London will seek to play a leading role in London on the Climate Action Strategy, working with the GLA and London Councils.
The Chairman noted that the Climate Action Strategy paper will be presented to the Court of the Common Council on the 8th October for its endorsement so that the work on the Climate Action Strategy can commence, once approved by the Court of the Common Council.
RESOLVED – Members noted the report, the draft strategy at Appendix 1 and the actions set by committee at Appendix 2.