The Vale Of the White Horse District Council has voted unanimously to back a private member’s bill on climate and nature.

The majority of district councils in Oxfordshire are now in support of the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill.

Vale joins Oxford County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council, with just Cherwell and West Oxfordshire District Councils declining to support so far.

The Bill – which the government is yet to back – provides a legislative framework for 'decarbonising' the UK economy, with linked measures for protecting nature and enhancing biodiversity.

It would make it a legal requirement for the UK Government to commit to policy and measures that limit temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Current pledges and commitments are consistent with three degrees warming.

Read also: Wallingford florist shop window smashed in brawl is repaired

Councillor Bethia Thomas, Deputy Leader at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “While local Government budgets are extremely strained, we could take much faster action if this Bill passes and government allows greater policy flexibility, and ensures funding to address the climate and ecological emergencies.”

Vale of White Horse District Council has set its ambition to reduce the whole district’s carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 and for them to reach net carbon zero by 2045. It also aims to be become a carbon neutral council by 2030.

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We’re proud to support the Zero Hour Oxfordshire’s campaign to pass the CEE Bill as its principles are absolutely vital if the council, the county – and the country – wants to achieve carbon and nature targets.

"We urgently need new, national safeguards in place to reduce emissions, particularly across high emissions industries. As a local authority, we also need to see changes in policy, plus greater funding, to bring about truly meaningful climate action, both locally and across the UK.”

Read also: Record number of Covid jabs given in Oxfordshire

Kate Oldridge, from Zero Hour Oxfordshire, said: “We are delighted that Vale of White Horse District Council is supporting the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. Their support for the Zero Hour campaign brings district council support in Oxfordshire to a significant majority, sending a clear signal to our MPs that this county is ready for tangible action this decade to limit warming to 1.5C and restore nature.

"Councils really are at the coal face of climate change impacts in their communities, and, as such, have a vital role to play in demonstrating climate leadership by calling on government to strengthen climate policy in line with the latest science."

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok

Got a story for us? Send us your news and pictures here

List an event for free on our website here