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The Green Party accuses New Forest District Council of failing to adequately tackle carbon emissions generated by its activities in new four-year business plan

The NFDC is accused of failing to adequately tackle carbon emissions generated by its activities in a plan setting out its priorities for the next four years.

At a meeting of the Conservative-led New Forest District Council, members discussed the new business plan, which sets out the vision and values ​​up to 2028.

The main themes, chosen after assessing the results of a residents survey in 2022, focus on three categories: people, place and prosperity.

New Forest District Council offices

However, the Green party wanted a change to the plan, claiming that the original design included the measurement of total emissions from municipal activities.

Instead, it will focus on emissions from the council’s vehicles.

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This was labeled as “a significant setback” in the fight against climate change.

New Forest District Council has a fleet of electric vehicles. Inset, council leader Cllr Jill Cleary

Green Party leader Cllr Janet Richards said the amendment was aimed at ensuring the council measures its own carbon emissions, which is ‘essential’ if it is to come up with an effective plan to reduce its carbon footprint.

The amendment also called for progress in reducing emissions to be made public so residents could hold the council accountable.

The amendment was rejected, with leader Cllr Jill Cleary stating: “I can’t agree to something I can’t measure. The vehicles are directly under our control (but) it is so much more difficult and a huge challenge when partners are involved.”

The plan will “address challenges and realize opportunities”, the meeting heard.

Cllr Jill Cleary

Key themes include supporting vulnerable residents, addressing financial challenges and ensuring access to affordable housing. The council says community engagement, preventing homelessness and improving housing quality are central to this priority.

The council recognizes the importance of the district’s natural environment and says it strives to balance growth with conservation efforts. Strategies include sustainable development, climate resilience and improving community spaces.

Another important focus is to promote economic growth while ensuring inclusivity and sustainability. Initiatives include promoting the Solent Freeport, supporting local businesses and championing skills development and employment.

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Cllr Cleary said: “Our business plan is a crucial document for us as it ensures we prioritize services most valued by our residents and provide support to those most in need. It serves as a roadmap for our commitment to serving our community and protecting the unique environment of the New Forest.”

Performance against the ambitions set out in the plan will be monitored and reported to members during overview and control panels and cabinet meetings.