BICESTER Town Council is the next local authority in the county set to debate whether it will declare a climate emergency.

Green councillor Robert Nixon is proposing the motion at next Tuesday’s full council meeting which includes calling for the local authority to commit to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

It comes after Cherwell District Council voted unanimously to declare a climate emergency last month.

Mr Nixon’s motion also includes creating a £10,000 grant pot to ‘encourage and enable’ carbon-cutting schemes in Bicester.

This is where people can apply for funding for initiatives that will reduce carbon emissions.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Nixon said: “Globally and locally, the consequences of failing to limit the warming of our planet to 1.5°C will be severe. As a council we must do everything we can on a local level to ensure 1.5°C isn’t exceeded.”

Other local councils have also recently declared a climate emergency, such as South Oxfordshire District Council, which voted in favour in April, as well as Vale of White Horse District Council in February.

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Both councils have also set up a Climate Emergency Advisory Committee to advise their cabinets on environmental issues.

Now, Bicester Town Council may follow suit, but come have questioned what real effect it can make locally.

Independent councillor John Broad at Cherwell District Council was disappointed in the Cherwell meeting last month where he said that, despite the council declaring a climate emergency, it was not focussed on implementing actual environmental policies.

He said: “Councillors all stood up and spoke to say how good they all were at being eco-friendly. They completely missed the point that this is a climate policy that requires changes.

“That should have come across in the meeting but it didn’t and I suspect that will happen at the town council meeting too.”

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The councillor said that just one way Cherwell District Council could make a difference, as the planning authority, was by trying to get solar panels installed on the many warehouses being built in the town.

He added: “If we do have to have warehouses then let’s at least make them eco-friendly. If we suggest putting solar panels on warehouses it would be our golden opportunity because there are so many in the district, especially in Bicester.

“Everyone says the right words but no one takes the right actions – it’s about getting the policies changed and then implemented.”

Mr Nixon calls for Bicester Town Council to seek ways to ‘facilitate and encourage’ the community in reducing direct and indirect CO2 emissions and to become ‘resilient’ to changes caused by the changing climate.

Some of the active steps that Mr Nixon would like to see implemented by the council in the community include encouraging reductions in energy use in homes, businesses and elsewhere; co-operation with organisations seeking to develop low-carbon and community-led affordable housing, use and development of renewable energy sources and reduction in consumption of animal products.

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In the same meeting that Cherwell declared a climate emergency, it also voted in favour of building 4,400 homes on Green Belt land in Yarnton, Kidlington and Begbroke.

Green councillor on Cherwell Ian Middleton said he was disappointed in the council’s contradictory decision and hoped Bicester Town Council would support and follow through with Mr Nixon’s motion.

He said: “Sadly so many of these motions are adopted and then promptly ignored when convenient to do so.

“We have to follow up words with actions and ensure that all future and current policies and decisions are informed by a need to reduce or remove our impact on the climate.

“We have to be prepared to take the difficult decisions and give the environment priority over other aspirations, even if this might be politically difficult.”

The Bicester Town Council meeting will be held at 7pm on Tuesday at The Garth on Launton Road.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.