Will Forster

Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Woking and Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Surrey County Council declares a climate emergency

by willforster on 9 July, 2019

Earlier today, Surrey County Council unanimously agreed to declare a climate emergency and take action to reduce carbon emissions.

Local environmental campaigners were out in force at the County Hall meeting, and reacted with applause and cheers to the supportive speeches and declaration of the climate emergency.

I am delighted Surrey County Council unanimously supported the motion that I seconded. By the Council declaring a climate emergency and setting out a process to meet this challenge, it took a vital step in combating climate change. Climate change is unquestionably one of the biggest issues of our time.

Although I would have liked the County Council to have taken this action earlier this year, when a similar motion to declare a climate emergency was proposed, Conservatives were not on board then, but I am pleased they are now. This motion represents the start of a journey towards a greener Surrey.

Following declaring a climate emergency, Surrey Council will set up a cross-party task group to oversee the creation of a strategy to strive towards carbon neutrality.


3 Responses

  1. Keith Creswell says:

    The Heathrow consultation appears tomorrow in Woking. Whilst recognising the need for extra provision for flights such expansion should be coupled with a commitment to reduce the absolute carbon cost of Heathrow, associated flights and surface transport to at least the same amount and in the same timescale as our national commitment. This should also be with SCC supporting a zero carbon rail connection between Woking and Heathrow as soon as possible and not in the extended timescales envisaged.

    • willforster says:

      I’m planning on going to the Heathrow Airport consultation later today.

      With no carbon neutral alternative to jet fuel, I don’t think airport expansion can happen. The Surrey Lib Dem Group Leader said so during the climate emergency debate.

      That does not mean we cannot push for rail access to Heathrow – this was promised when Terminal 5 was built and didn’t happen.

  2. Woking needs to step up too. We need to act now.



    An immediate review of Woking’s 2050 strategy needs to be undertaken as it is now out of date and unrealistic. Woking’s current strategy states:
    “Woking 2050 continues to adopt the Government’s Climate Change Act (2008) targets for carbon emission reductions i.e. to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions by 80% by 2050”
    In particular, Section 4 (page 14) must be updated to match the new legislation; the remainder of the strategy then needs to reflect a reduction of emissions to net zero by 2050 (at least)
    It is inevitable that many other Council strategies will need to be updated to achieve this position.

    Sadly, 2050 may not be soon enough to prevent global heating of more than 1.5C, beyond which the consequences would be disastrous. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/chapter-3/
    The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming published in October 2018, stated we have just 12 years to act to prevent catastrophe. The truth is that net-zero emissions must be achieved, at the latest, by 2030

    And, in reply to comments above: Heathrow expansion is completely incompatible with the need to stop climate catastophe.

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