County mayor says combined authority will not be declaring a climate change emergency

Mayor James Palmer

Mayor James Palmer - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Cambridgeshire says the combined authority will not be declaring a climate change emergency.

Speaking to members of the overview and scrutiny committee at their meeting in Peterborough on October 29, James Palmer said: "The combined authority has no plans to declare a climate change emergency at this stage.

"What I have done is to commission an independent environmental review for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which will convene next week, and they will give me a clear indication of what will be the best decisions to make to protect our county in the future.

"The right decisions have to be made, not just to improve the decision making by the combined authority, but to improve the air quality and the environment for the entire county."

The question was put to Mr Palmer by the chairman of the committee, Councillor Lorna Dupre, who wanted to know what environmental protection decisions were being adopted by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) in the light of new public transport plans for the region and the recent declaration of a climate change emergency by Peterborough City Council.

Mr Palmer said: "It's not been explained to me clearly what declaring a climate change emergency in Cambridgeshire would actually do, and I don't believe that I have the evidence yet before me to back-up such a statement.

"I do believe that the policies the combined authority is putting forward will allow us to create a carbon-neutral county, but I believe very strongly that the only way that we will do that is by creating garden villages.

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"If we continue with a policy of 'saving the next field available', we will not be able to bring forward all of our public transport solutions, we will not be able to encourage people out of their cars, we will not be able to create carbon-neutral energy solutions across the county, and we will not be able to improve water retention as well.

"So, I think the plans that we have for growth in Cambridgeshire, and the plans that I have for the CamMetro are a significant leap forwards in creating a new environmental standard not just for Cambridgeshire, but for the United Kingdom as a whole."