East Devon District Council agrees 2040 target for becoming carbon neutral

A green action plan for becoming carbon neutral is being drawn up. Picture: Getty

A green action plan for becoming carbon neutral is being drawn up. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A 2040 target date for becoming carbon neutral has been agreed by East Devon District Council – 10 years earlier than the target set by Devon County Council.

During East Devon's full council meeting on Wednesday, July 24, the Independent leader of the district council, Cllr Ben Ingham, described the 2050 target as 'rubbish' and said it had to change.

Councillors were discussing Devon's climate change emergency declaration, which they agreed to endorse.

They also agreed to work with the county council and other partners to produce a Devon-wide action plan on climate change, and to incorporate measures to tackle the emergency into their new council plan.

But the youngest member of the council, Cllr Luke Jeffrey, successfully proposed adopting the target carbon neutral date to 2040, and bringing that forward if possible.

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The Liberal Democrat councillor for the Honiton St Michael's Ward said: "Even if we fail to become carbon neutral so quickly, we will have already drastically decreased our net carbon emissions, leaving us with a small shortfall to make up.

"As a young person this issue is of acute importance to me, and something I feel requires radical action to solve.

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"Setting a more ambitious date than 2050 means that we can demonstrate to everyone that we are more serious about tackling climate change.

"Thousands of young people have gone on strike in support of this, and they have to live through the transition of zero carbon living.

"We can tell young people they are being listened to and we are being more ambitious and want to take action."

The Independent councillor for the Beer and Branscombe ward, Geoff Pook, said: "The important thing isn't the date we set, but the work we do over the next few months to see what we can do to achieve it.

"When we have done that and have a report, we will be in a position to put a date forward with some facts behind it.

"There is no reason why the date of 2050 cannot be brought forward when we have the evidence to bring it forward."

The councillors voted by 30 votes to 23 to adopt the 2040 target.

Following the vote, a Devon County Council spokesman said the council had set its target date as 2050 at the latest. He said: "We think that the actual decarbonisation date will be informed by evidence collected during the plan-making process and the Citizens' Assembly."

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