A local council has become the first ever to launch a referendum vote on a £3m fund to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.
In a landmark vote on 26 February, Warwick District Council unanimously voted for a proposed increase in council tax to fund a ‘climate action fund’. The increase will only go ahead if local residents approve the proposal, in a referendum taking place on 7 May 2020.
If voters approve the emergency fund at the ballot box in May, local households will need to pay an extra £1 a week in council tax.
The local council says that the fund is an important step for the local council going carbon neutral by 2025 and the district by 2030, as well as helping to prepare for impact of flooding and other climate disasters.
Environmental campaigners welcomed the announcement, including eco-activists Extinction Rebellion (XR) who praised the ambitious plans by the local council.
Local group XR Warwick District said:
Of course, ambitious plans are one thing and making them happen is another. If we’re going to tackle the catastrophic collapse of our climate we will need to come together as a community and turn plans into reality.
Professor Rupert Read of Extinction Rebellion UK added:
It’s cheering to see local governments taking brave steps to respond to the climate emergency.
The announcement, which has the backing of all the main local political parties, was also welcomed by the University of Warwick, who themselves recently announced plans to go carbon neutral by 2030.
Professor Nick Chater said:
Warwick District Council’s “Climate Emergency Action Plan” should not just reduce carbon, but also help make Warwick a cleaner, healthier, and pleasanter place to live.
As well as going carbon neutral, the local council hopes the fund will also help to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, as well as provide support for local business and other organisations who want to help tackle the climate and ecological emergency.
Image by Gareth Morris
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