EIGHT councillors from across the political spectrum will work together over the next four years to help combat climate change – with the help of residents and businesses.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s cabinet approved plans to set up a ‘climate emergency taskforce’ at Wednesday’s meeting, with the group to begin work this summer.

It comes after CWAC declared a climate emergency in May, with the council working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2045 – and if possible, by 2030.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “This isn’t going to be a quick fix, it isn’t something that we are going to be able to do overnight – it is going to be a long piece of work.

“There will be some difficult policy decisions that we need to take, and we need to make sure that the climate and carbon reduction is very strongly embedded in all of our policies.

Northwich Guardian:

“Climate change affects us all. It is a human impact as well as an environmental one, and we do note as well that many of the impacts of climate change affect the vulnerable the most.

“To me, this is about the legacy of our generation and the impact that our actions have on the next generation for their futures, and the futures of our environment and planet.”

The taskforce will work with councillors, officers and local businesses – with Cllr Shore recognising that Cheshire West’s large amount of industry will be ‘the biggest challenge’ in the project.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to take part with an evidence session, while it is hoped that a panel of experts from outside CWAC will work alongside the taskforce to offer advice.

“It’s not intended to be a piece of work that is only guided and driven by councillors,” Cllr Shore added.

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“We really want to reach out to all those groups in the community – and there are so many of them. We want to reach out as far and wide in the borough as possible.

“We are a small borough, we have our part to play, but we are only one cog in a massive machine.

“If this is going to have the impact that it needs to have we do need to have that support from Government and we need to have the powers and the funding to be able to deliver this.”

The taskforce’s first job is to work out the borough’s current environmental picture, so that it can see what work is required over the next four years.

Conservative Cllr John Leather, shadow cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “I am strongly supportive of this initiative but I would not want to minimise the challenge facing us.

Northwich Guardian:

“To reach more ambitious targets we will be asking our residents to make significant changes to their lifestyle and industries to make changes to the way they operate.

“If we are asking for such changes we must be confident that the advice we are giving is effective and that the changes we are encouraging are beneficial in the round.

“There have been a number of false starts – one such might be biodiesel – and we need to make sure that we get the most up-to-date scientific advice to make sure that we make the right, balanced choices.”

Members of the taskforce are for 2019 to 2023:

  • Cllr Matt Bryan, Labour member for Upton (chairman)
  • Cllr Paul Bowers, Green Party member for Helsby (vice-chairman)
  • Cllr Bob Cernik, Labour member for Northwich Winnington and Castle
  • Cllr Simon Eardley, Conservative member for Saughall and Mollington
  • Cllr Gillian Edwards, independent member for Weaver and Cuddington
  • Cllr Jill Houlbrook, Conservative member for Upton
  • Cllr Gina Lewis, Labour member for Winsford Over and Verdin
  • Cllr Christine Warner, Labour member for Ledsham and Manor

Meanwhile, CWAC’s cabinet also appointed three ‘leader’s champions’ for 2019 to 2023 who will work with community groups and help shape council policy in three specific areas.

  • Cllr Matt Bryan, Labour member for Upton, will be the leader’s champion for climate emergency
  • Cllr Mandy Clare, Labour member for Winsford Dene, will be the leader’s champion for poverty and inequality
  • Cllr Gill Watson, Labour member for Newton and Hoole, will be the leader’s champion for mental health