CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has become the latest local authority to declare a climate emergency.

Members from across the political spectrum joined forces in declaring the emergency at Tuesday night’s full council meeting – the first since this month’s election.

It will see CWAC work towards making the borough carbon neutral as soon as possible before 2045 – and before 2030 if it can.

The declaration was proposed by Cllr Matt Bryan, Labour, following work with the Chester Sustainability Forum and Transition Northwich.

“This is the most important issue we will face in our lifetime,” he said.

“Whereas ordinarily I would want an even more aggressive strategy I think this is quite a sensible place to start to actually get some traction and make some difference.

“This motion isn’t just about making a statement. If you vote for it, every single decision you make over the next four years – environmentalism and this motion has to be at the heart.”

Cllr Bryan praised Matthew Clough, a young resident in his Upton ward, who discussed the climate threat with the councillor after taking a prominent role in the recent climate strikes held by schoolchildren.

Cllr Jill Houlbrook, Conservative, also praised her granddaughter for taking part in the strikes – and called on councillors to listen to the youth of the borough.

She said: “Our children and young people are showing us the way. They are telling us we cannot ignore what is happening to them and the world around them.

“They see climate emergency as the life-threatening issue it is and they challenge us all to take action – and to take it now.

“Today’s young people are the first of a generation to have lived their whole lives under the threat of catastrophic climate emergency. They are the future leaders who will be left to deal with the results of our careless stewardship of the planet.”

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CWAC’s climate emergency declaration also sees the council lobby Government to end carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation across the country, invest in energy-efficient public transport and end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.

Councillors will also press the Government to establish a warm homes strategy with adequate investment for energy-efficient measures, and develop a strategy for all UK businesses to be net zero carbon by 2045.

The suggestion to declare a climate emergency was supported by Cllr Paul Bowers, CWAC’s first ever Green councillor.

“If we have the courage to take the hardest decisions it may be the most important thing we ever do,” he said.

“The most important word here is ‘emergency’. We have 11 and a half years left now just to try and slow down – not stop, but slow down – this crisis before it gets to tipping point.”

Meanwhile, CWAC also passed a motion on improving air quality on Tuesday night, meaning the council will review its air quality monitoring and consider measures to improve air quality outside schools.

The council will also appoint a champion on climate change and set up a cross-party working group to help tackle climate change.

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Conservative Cllr Andrew Dawson put forward the motion, which had included specific measures to improve air quality in his Frodsham ward and time limits in 2020 and 2021 for the measures, but it was amended by Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment.