Liberal Democrats dump the Council's green agenda

As one of its first changes, The Liberal Democrat Administration which now controls the City Council, relegated the green agenda.

Announcing the Administration’s targets for its new strategic plan, the Council’s Scrutiny Panel heard that because of financial pressures and the need to divert resources into redressing the effects of “financial inequality” in the City, the climate emergency targets would be relaxed.

Cllr Sue Lissimore (Prettygate Ward) and Conservative Spokesperson on Waste, Neighbourhood Services & the Environment, said: Three of the most cherished and important environmental targets are now in decline under the Lib-Dems:

  • Firstly, the target for collection of residual household waste is being changed from 346kg per household, to 354kg per year, anticipating an extra 8kg of waste per household going to environmentally unfriendly landfill. This may seem small, but it amounts to an extra 640 tons of general waste going to landfill per year.

 I expect this to be a gross underestimation because many residents will be topping-up their black bags and general wheelie bins with garden waste now that the Council intends to charge for its collections.

  • Secondly, the target for waste reused, recycled and composted is being reduced from 55% to 53%. Over the past decade the recycling rate has shown a trajectory of steady improvement, lifting Colchester from the bottom of the Essex recycling league table to the middle, but still nowhere near the 70% achieved by the best-performing Essex Councils.

  It is truly regrettable that the Lib-Dems are now letting the City’s recycling achievements slip downwards again.

  • Thirdly, the Council’s target for Zero CO2 emission by 2030 has virtually vanished. The new target is to reduce the CO2 emissions by 100 tons (5200 to 5100 tons) in the second half of the year. This rate amounts to a 1.9% reduction, or 3.8% reduction in a full year, taking some 27 years to get down to zero. So zero CO2 will be achieved in 2050 rather than 2030.

 The CO2 target will be further stressed by the decision of the Lib-Dem Administration not to purchase electric vehicles for the new chargeable Garden waste Collection service.”

Cllr Dennis Willetts (Lexden & Braiswick Ward) and a member of the Council’s Scrutiny Panel, added: “It was most disappointing to be presented with the facts that, because of a shift of Council priorities, the environmental targets are being relaxed. Most residents of the City acknowledge climate change and want an improvement in the Council’s environmental standards, and a cleaner, greener more healthy City. The new Administration is going entirely the wrong way.