Can Chorley cut out carbon emissions by 2030?

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Chorley should aim to become a carbon-neutral borough by 2030, councillors have said.

The target would put the district on a path to achieve net zero carbon emissions some 20 years earlier than the date which the government has set for the rest of the country.

Chorley is the latest Lancashire council to declare a climate emergency

Chorley is the latest Lancashire council to declare a climate emergency

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The move came as Chorley Council became the latest in Lancashire to declare a “climate emergency”.

Leading the call, Labour councillor Steve Holgate said he was persuaded of the threat posed by climate change two decades ago.

“I wish I’d been wrong, but we’ve got the evidence now to prove it,” Cllr Holgate said.

“It’s not like it was 30 years ago when there was just a rumour that there was something wrong. We now have to do everything in our power to make [the necessary changes] happen.”

As part of the motion approved by members, the council will write to government requesting the devolved powers which it needs to make achieving the 2030 target possible.

The authority has already set up a working group to promote the “green agenda” in the borough, with the intention of developing an action plan of specific measures.

There was unanimous support in the chamber for the declaration of the climate emergency and acceptance of the dangers posed by climate change, but the Conservative opposition group urged caution over adopting such an ambitious target date for eliminating carbon emissions.

“I can’t see how we can make Chorley carbon neutral by 2030 – it’s virtually impossible,” said Cllr John Walker, suggesting that the borough aim for the national deadline of 2050.

“There’s far too much to do – all gas boilers would have to be replaced. What about petrol and diesel cars – will people have to get rid of them by 2030?”

Cllr Holgate said that his proposal was a target – and was not “committing people to something which cannot be achieved”. While Cllr Walker said he stood by his concerns, he withdrew his amendment to make 2050 the carbon neutral date in Chorley.

Neighbouring South Ribble Borough Council made a similar commitment to going carbon neutral by 2030 earlier this year, but later clarified that it applied to the local authority itself and its suppliers, rather than the district as a whole.

Several Chorley councillors said that a demanding target was just what the climate emergency demanded.

“Unless we set ourselves a tough challenge, we aren’t going to make the effort,” Cllr Laura Lennox said.

“There is nobody in the whole world who is [solely] responsible for climate change – everybody is responsible,” she added.