A COUNCIL has been urged to step up its environmental efforts after being accused of printing off large volumes of paper with superfluous information, just months after pledging to help tackle climate change.

Darlington Borough Council came under criticism from some of its elected members at a meeting of its adults and housing scrutiny committee for using “ridiculous amounts of paper” for reports which could be read on digital documents.

Councillors from across the political divide said they were still being inundated with unnecessary information on paper three months after the authority had agreed to examine initiatives to help it fulfil a carbon-cutting policy.

In a landmark decision in July, the Conservative-run council agreed to work towards the making the authority and the borough carbon neutral within 30 years and also create an action plan.

The meeting heard papers for the meeting included a 60-page document that was very similar to one they had previously received, while they had been sent lengthy reports featuring pages of small graphics that could have been printed on a single page.

After the meeting, College ward member Councillor Bryony Holroyd said she had been taken aback by the amount of papers that the council was continuing to print off for members.

She said: “After the 169-page meeting reports pack was posted through my letterbox you should have heard the thud.

“Lots of other councils have already cut back on paper use and lots of companies will not use paper because of the cost.”

Cllr Holroyd said she was anticipating the conclusion of a review into cutting paper use at the authority, which should restrict the production of paper reports to those who request them.

The authority’s leader Councillor Heather Scott said discussions were ongoing over how to address the issue, but she hoped to involve all councillors in a decision about the way forward in the coming weeks.