Report of the Town Clerk.
Members considered a report of the Town Clerk regarding the Climate Action Strategy and the following points were made.
· The Chairman noted that Members would be familiar with the report given it was being considered at other City of London Corporation Committees. The Chairman had been closely involved in the strategy’s development since July 2020 alongside fellow champions Jamie Ingham-Clark and Alderman Alison Gowman. The Chairman noted that the strategy represented a unique opportunity for the City of London Corporation to act decisively on the key issue of climate action, and he believed the strategy was on course to be a defining cross-organisational initiative that would be an example to others on a focused, actions-driven approach to a key issue.
· The Chairman continued, noting that he believed that the strategy was both deliverable and affordable in an environment where the City’s finances faced a number of pressures, and that the strategy was evidence based and aligned with other City strategies including the Transport Strategy, and the Clean Air Strategy. If the strategy went on to be approved by the Policy Committee later in September 2020 and the Court of Common Council in October 2020, it would feature in the forthcoming Green Horizon summit being hosted by the City of London Corporation and central Government in November 2020.
· The Chairman concluded by highlighting that the strategy had a number of target-based actions grouped around achieving net zero, and resilience. The Chairman was determined that the strategy would have no adverse impact on frontline services, and that whilst funding would be allocated in principle for 4-5 years, funding decisions would be made in-year.
· The Town Clerk was heard, noting that the goal was for the City of London Corporation to be carbon neutral by 2027. Actions that had particular relevance to Projects Sub-Committee were set out on p.37 of the agenda and were concerned with integrating climate risk and considerations into all project decision-making. They were about having mechanisms in place to understand, compare and prioritise product supplies and services across their entire life-cycle, including the crucial disposal phase. The strategy sought to pre-empt subjective criticism of decision-making by making the City’s decision making process as transparent as possible, which was important given that lowest carbon products or suppliers would only be chosen if they were in line with this whole-consideration approach. The revenue spend underpinning the project would need to be front loaded to ensure that capital spend was carbon-efficient. Lastly, the strategy would not be retroactive and would only apply to new contracts and purchases.
· In response to a question, the Town Clerk noted that several UK jurisdictions were examining the issue of climate action, with some going so far as to declare a climate emergency. Nevertheless very few had published climate action plans to date, and those that had were aiming for net zero dates between 2030-2050. Other London boroughs were considering climate resilience, although the City thus far was the only area that had a plan to cover the entire scope of its operations. In terms of engagement with other London boroughs, the City was liaising with Hammersmith and Fulham to ensure flood resilience plans were aligned given the shared flood plain, and officers were working to embed climate action within the City’s corporate engagement plan.
· The Chairman commented that the City’s open spaces were an obvious area where the City could usefully engage with other boroughs on climate action.
· In response to a question, the Town Clerk committed to providing a response regarding supply chain tracing outside of the meeting.
· In response to a question, the Town Clerk noted that the Policy Committee would be responsible for the delivery of the Climate Action Strategy. The Chairman added that, if approved, the Strategy would result in changes to the Project Gateway procedure to ensure climate action was embedded within the project process.
RESOLVED, that the report be received.