A FURIOUS war of words has erupted between the Wychavon’s Liberal Democrats and the ruling Conservatives over climate change.
Lib Dem chiefs accused the district’s Tory leadership of ‘hiding their heads in the sand’ on the issue after their bid for a climate change manager was rejected by the group.
But Conservative leader Coun Bradley Thomas hit back at their claims and said Wychavon had been a leader in carbon reduction and environmental leadership.
The row erupted after Lib Dems councillors’ raised the prospect of a climate change chief to steer the council to cut its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2030 at last Wednesday’s (October 23) meeting.
Coun Thomas rejected the proposal and replaced it with what Lib Dem chiefs branded as ‘bland statements congratulating the council’ and ‘parroting government policy environmentalists know will not achieve the carbon reductions needed’.
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Charles Tucker said: “They were happy to rubbish our proposal to appoint a climate change manager while ignoring the fact that Wychavon has been placed 353rd out of 389 councils in a ranking based on CO2 emissions per head.
“Wychavon emits 8.14 tonnes of CO2 per capita per year according to a survey published recently by Migrate. This is the worst in Worcestershire and compares to 3.51 tonnes for Worcester, the best in the county.”
“Liberal Democrats will take no lessons from Tories on the environment. Climate change is the most important issue facing mankind, yet Wychavon’s leaders, rather than take meaningful action to tackle it, preferred to congratulate themselves on installing water saving taps in public toilets.”
In response, Coun Thomas said the proposal unanimously supported by his group but rejected by the Liberal Democrats would put environmental sustainability at the heart of the council’s strategy.
The Conservative leader said the move would see the council develop meaningful and deliverable actions in its Intelligently Green Plan and acknowledge any targets which will emerge from the development of the blueprint.
“Residents are concerned about climate change and want their politicians to act. That’s why we’ve listened and we’re taking action to protect our planet for future generations.
“At a local level, we’re going to cut carbon emissions in the district by 50 per cent by 2030, double the size of the low carbon sector between 2016 and 2030 and triple energy production from renewable generation by 2030.
“It was very disappointing the Lib Dems voted against the Conservative proposals. It was an opportunity for all councillors’ to come together and act as one to tackle this most pressing of issues.
“I will personally ensure this council continues to lead the way in tackling climate change and sustainability across the board.”