Surrey County Council reject Climate Change Motion

19 March 2019

Surrey County Council has rejected a Climate Emergency motion [1], which would have meant putting plans in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make Surrey carbon neutral by 2030.

Green County Councillor Jonathan Essex, who proposed the motion, said: “It’s very disappointing that Surrey County Council has refused to join Councils around the country who have committed to tackle the climate emergency we face.

The Conservative majority in Surrey are congratulating themselves on what’s already been done – but a change of pace is needed. If councils around the world take the position that Surrey councillors have taken today, we have no hope for the future at all. It’s an abdication of responsibility.”

Surrey is now out of step with counties like Wiltshire, Herefordshire and Cornwall who are responding to the climate emergency with practical plans to tackle the threat of climate change [2]. Instead Surrey passed an amended motion which failed to commit them to any specific future action.

Green Councillor Jonathan Essex said: “We need everybody at every level to come behind this climate emergency campaign. Climate change cuts across party politics – we all have to work together to counter the biggest threat we face. It must translate into practical action and this is a lost opportunity.”

Pat Smith, of Dorking Climate Emergency said: “Surrey County Council are ignoring the concerns of their voters. They are turning their back on the severity of the problem. They think planning to do something at some unspecified time in the future is good enough. They’re refusing to accept the enormity of the issue. We hope that they will reconsider in the very near future and we vow to continue our campaign and persuade them to change their minds.”

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley said: “This is very disappointing but credit to the Green Councillor who got this on the council’s agenda. Nearly fifty councils have declared climate emergencies, right across the UK. Today’s vote won’t stop that momentum.

“Last Friday, Britain’s young people challenged our politicians to tackle the biggest crisis of our times. Now it’s time for our politicians, both in local councils and in Westminster, to rise to that challenge.”

[1] The Motion was tabled by Cllr Jonathan Essex. For full text, see item 8 (ii) on the Council agenda 
[2] Councils which have supported Climate Emergency Motions include: the Greater London Authority; Bristol, Manchester and Oxford City Councils; and Cornwall, Herefordshire and Wiltshire County Councils. Full list here:https://www.campaigncc.org/councils_climate_emergency