Oundle Town Council votes to declare a climate emergency

The issue of climate change is no longer just a discussion among scientists. It has been brought to the forefront of government agendas at both national and local levels.  

Addressing the issue, Peterborough Council unanimously declared a climate and environmental emergency in 2019, followed by North Northamptonshire Council in July 2021, which also voted unanimously on the motion. The Oundle Town Council at their meeting on 21 September also tabled the motion and voted 5-3 (1 abstention) to declare a climate emergency.  

The Peterborough Council said: “All governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.” They voted to make the council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030. 

A similar motion to set a target net zero date of 2030 was voted down by the NNC, while the OTC pledged “to reach net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible”. 

Oundle Transition was represented by Mark Felton at the September OTC meeting. He urged the council to take the lead in responding to the climate change crisis, focusing on three main areas to make Oundle greener: transport, buildings, and community action. He outlined points about  encouraging the use of electric cars, building more footpaths, securing investment in safe routes, and reducing car usage. Mark also suggested that low carbon heating should be installed in homes and public buildings. Oundle Transition has proposed to develop a programme with partners to identify all buildings in the town with a low Energy Performance Certificate and improve them to at least level C.  

Camilla Sherwin from Oundle Transition said: “Whilst we are pleased that Oundle Town Council have taken the step of declaring a climate emergency, we are more concerned to ensure that the intention behind the declaration is translated into meaningful, practical, realisable actions in our home town. Every organisation and individual must, without delay, consider the environmental and social impact of the energy, transport, materials and goods we use, as well as the food we consume, and do all that we can to reduce those impacts.

“The climate crisis will only be solved if we all act together to make a difference.”  

Oundle Town councillor Ian Clark said the council has developed and planned steps to combat the climate crisis on a local scale. This includes audits of buildings, shifting its energy usage to a renewable energy provider, and reviewing public transport system in Oundle, including roads and bus infrastructure.

“Most importantly, perhaps, this declaration should mean
that for every decision OTC takes, we must consider the climate and our future in our decision-making process,” he said.

Jennifer Yang
December 2021