Aberdeenshire Council’s new five-year plan has caring for the environment and cutting carbon emissions as one of its priorities, thanks to the Democratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG).
The Council’s new plan was agreed at the full council meeting last Thursday (23 November). (Note 1)
The plan has been produced following the council elections last May and public consultation. It sets out Aberdeenshire Council’s priorities for the five years until the next council elections in 2022.
At last Thursday’s Aberdeenshire full council meeting, DIGG councillors Martin Ford and Paul Johnston made it clear they were fully supportive of the ten priorities it was proposed to include in the plan. However, Cllr Ford moved an amendment to add an eleventh priority to ‘Protect our special environment, including tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions’.
Cllr Paul Johnston said: “The DIGG is pleased the Council was able to agree its new plan with all-party support and that the importance of protecting the environment and tackling climate change are included along with ten other important priorities.”
Cllr Martin Ford said: “The DIGG is happy to support the ten priorities proposed for inclusion in the new plan. We don’t wish to delete or replace any of them. However, we cannot support a plan where none of the priorities even mentions the environment.
“Aberdeenshire Council has many statutory responsibilities that relate to environmental matters. Beyond those, virtually everything the Council does will have some impact on the environment.
“The Council has a duty to take into account the scientific evidence regarding the damaging impact of human activity on the global environment, and to show leadership.
“In the Scottish Parliament, bold climate change targets were agreed with cross-party support. Aberdeenshire Council should not be out of step. Protecting the environment must be one of our priorities and we should say so.”
A number of opposition councillors voiced support for the extra Council priority proposed by the DIGG and, after a short recess, the leader of the Council announced that the administration had decided to accept the DIGG amendment. Thereafter, the new Council plan, with eleven priorities, was agreed unanimously by the full Aberdeenshire Council. (Note 2)
1. The debate can be viewed here at Item 10: https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/320136