12 Jul 2020

At a meeting of the full council of Mid Devon held on 1st July, the Tories in Mid Devon demonstrated that they are not serious about tackling climate change. A motion was presented to council by Councillor Holdman and Councillor Taylor to hold briefings for councillors virtually in future where 'practicable' in order to reduce carbon emissions by councillors attending meetings and to reduce the amount of money claimed by councillors in expenses. Furthermore, the motion sought to lobby government to allow councils to continue to allow councillors to attend meetings virtually if they so wished. The motion passed at council by 21 votes to 18, with every Conservative member voting against.

Councillor Luke Taylor (Deputy Leader) commented: 'This was a huge success for the Lib Dems at Mid Devon. It demonstrates that we are taking the issue of climate change seriously. This council declared a climate emergency and it is incumbent on us to meet our climate commitment by reducing co2 emissions radically. Clearly the Tories at Mid Devon do not take climate change seriously. They claim to be in favour of reducing our carbon emissions but it is all talk and no action. It is the same old story from the Tories who want to prevent our council moving forward and meeting our climate target. This will allow meetings to be held more efficiently, to help meet our climate change targets and to put money back in the pocket of the tax payer'.

It was confirmed at the meeting that members drove over 32,000 miles to attend meetings last year equating to 12 tonnes of carbon. This motion will reduce member mileage radically. It will also enable councillors and members of the public alike to be able to attend meetings more easily thereby making the council more open and transparent.

Cllr Holdman (Castle Ward) said: 'I am glad the Council passed these motions, this allows the Council to move with the times and to look at how we can save the tax payer money whilst reducing our carbon footprint. The motion was not about stopping members from attending in person but opens up our Council to more people. We started by having more evening meetings and now having briefings and working groups being held remotely will make it more appealing for people to stand in the future'.