A LOCAL authority which has yet to reveal its carbon emission-cutting plan some 15 months after declaring a climate emergency has been pressed to implement urgent action.

The Green Party and Independent group of Richmond District Council has repeatedly challenged the authority to launch action to meet its target of zero net emissions by 2030, for which members received applause from dozens of residents when setting in July last year.

At the time there was also unanimous support for a move to achieve 100 per cent clean energy across the council’s full range of functions by 2030.

Frustrated by the apparent lack of progress, ahead of a full meeting of the authority this week, the group put forward an emergency motion for the council to start collecting and collating the carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions data, work with neighbouring districts to share best practice and aim to finalise the council’s climate change action plan before next July.

The motion also called on the council to immediately implement the detailed action points in the draft plan it has developed.

However, the meeting heard the emergency motion had been rejected and the authority’s chairman, Councillor Clive World, stated the matter would be addressed by the council’s working group on climate change next week.

The Green Party and Independent councillor Leslie Rowe asked the council’s leader, Councillor Angie Dale, for a climate change action progress report. Cllr Dale said his questions should be put to the working group.

Cllr Rowe then told the meeting that neighbouring district council Craven had declared a climate emergency a month after Richmondshire, but had published its action plan in February. Craven District Council’s 24-page plan maps out its strategy to achieve its zero carbon target within a decade and warns of unforeseen challenges.

Cllr Rowe added that the authority’s Council Plan had stated progress on its climate change efforts would be reviewed annually.

Cllr Dale replied that she was sure all members were committed to tackling climate change issues, adding: “As you are aware we have had Covid-19, potentially officers have been dealing with since March which has taken up a lot of time providing frontline services.”

After the meeting, fellow Green and Independent councillor Kevin Foster said: “I understand that it has been a busy time dealing with the pandemic, but we need to push on to deal with this - as we are at the point that this is the new normal - and get down to businesses.

“It has been very frustrating waiting to get on with the climate emergency working group and I urge the chair of the climate emergency working group to take the baton we are handing to him and run the council’s response to the climate emergency with drive and determination.”