Tuesday 16 August 2022
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Nottingham

Four new roles approved to expedite climate emergency plans in Nottinghamshire

Four new jobs will be created at Nottinghamshire County Council to deliver on the authority’s climate emergency declaration and carbon neutrality targets.

The council’s transport and environment committee approved the proposals, which also include internal staffing changes, during a meeting on Wednesday (5 January ).

The authority declared its climate emergency in May last year following similar actions by several other authorities in the county.

The transport and environment committee was created and given the lead on the project, with the authority planning to achieve carbon neutrality in all its activities by the end of this decade.

Many of the council’s ambitions to reach these targets are already under way, with several projects launched in November to coincide with the COP26 climate summit.

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Now the council has taken a step forward to progressing the ambitions further, approving the new posts in what the committee’s chairman described as a “major investment” to achieve the ambition.

Documents approved by the committee state £200,000 per year will be provided to progress with the net-zero plans, which will come into effect from April.

Should the funding be approved in February’s 2022/23 budget, the cash will be provided to “supplement current climate change activities” being undertaken within the authority.

The council states it will need a senior responsible officer to take the lead, proposing the existing service director for place and communities, Derek Higton, takes on the role.

A new post named head of climate change will also be created to work across the organisation delivering net-zero plans, while two climate change project managers will also be appointed.

All three posts will be full-time equivalent, while a fourth, part-time business support post will also be created.

Councillor Neil Clarke (Con), chairman of the committee, said: “This demonstrates another factor in investing to reduce emissions and it’s important we have the staff in place to deliver our ambitions.

“Not all the posts have yet been advertised but some have been filled, it’s an open market and we need to attract the best possible candidates whoever they are.”

Mick Allen, group manager for place commissioning on the authority, added: “This is a really interesting and exciting area for a lot of people, and working in an area trying to get to net-zero will give us a good pool of people for the posts.”

The committee was told every report and activity undertaken at the council will now require its own sustainability assessment and must address the climate emergency declaration.

It comes as part of a raft of plans unveiled by the council to reach its carbon neutrality target by 2030.

Other measures include planting 250,000 trees and creating at least 250 hectares of woodland over the next five years.

The authority has also commissioned a greenhouse gas report to ‘pinpoint’ where carbon emissions are greatest across its buildings and services.

This report, discussed briefly by the committee on Wednesday, will once complete help the council to put together a targeted plan to reduce its emissions. Larger-scale projects will be created to be entirely carbon neutral.

Commenting in the meeting, Cllr Penny Gowland (Lab), who represents West Bridgford North, welcomed the new jobs but questioned the council’s separate planned communications investment to share its climate work.

However, Cllr Mike Adams (Con), the council’s new ‘climate champion’, described communications as “absolutely fundamental” to making the council “visible” in what it wants to achieve.

He also told the committee the council will be working with external organisations, such as the private and voluntary sector, to promote the green agenda outside the council’s own plans.

The new roles were approved by eight votes to two.

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