District council accused of “dragging its feet” over climate change

A new electric vehicle charging point at Tesco in Catterick.

Richmondshire District Council has been accused of “dragging its feet” on tackling climate change.

Richmondshire Green and Independent group district councillor Leslie Rowe claims that in the two and a half years since the authority passed a motion declaring a climate emergency, there has been little to no action on mitigating climate change.

The criticism has been rejected by the authority which says it has invested more than £500,000 in climate change initiatives.

Councillor Rowe said: “In early December 2021, Tesco announced that they would install electric vehicle charging points on its Catterick Garrison site, following earlier lobbying by local Green councillor Kevin Foster.

“Within weeks, those charging points were installed. Compare and contrast this prompt action with the relative inaction of Richmondshire District Council, who have been promising to install electric vehicle charging points in Council car parks for over two years, but as yet not one has been installed.

“This swift, simple and decisive action to tackle climate change puts the district council to shame.

“Similarly, a proposal to replace diesel refuse vehicles as part of an action plan on climate change has been kicked into the long grass, and instead the Council has decided to extend, at great expense, the leases on the existing fleet of diesel vehicles.

“Instead of taking the opportunity to replace gas boilers in council houses with more carbon saving alternatives, Richmondshire District Council chose to install replacement gas boilers. And a target of recycling 50% of household waste is a long way from being achieved.”

Cllr Rowe says it is because of “council inaction” that the last two council meetings of the climate change working group have been cancelled.

“For over a year, the council used the excuse of not having a climate change officer to justify their lack of action.

“One was then appointed, but has since resigned. Now that the officer has left, the council is using the same excuse to again sit on their hands.

“Since 2019, the Council has passed, not one, but two Climate action plans, but still little progress has been made.”

Councillor Rowe said he had written to both the leader of the council and the chief executive on December 10 to point out that it had been agreed that the responsibility for action on climate change was not the responsibility of the climate change officer alone, but a responsibility of the whole senior management team and to ask for urgent progress on the latest climate action plan.

Councillor Rowe is said he was still awaiting a reply.

In response to the criticism, Cllr Philip Wicks, chair of the climate change working group, said that Cllr Rowe’s assertion that the last two meetings of the group had been cancelled because of council inaction was “entirely wrong”.

He added: “Officers continued to work on the climate action plan and the January meeting of the climate change working group will receive a quarterly performance report on progress achieved.

“The council has already invested more than £500,000 in climate change initiatives, which is a significant sum for a small authority.

“Cllr Rowe knows full well that it is lack of guidance from national government on recycling strategy which has forced the council to delay the replacement of refuse vehicles, not a lack of commitment to climate change.”


  1. Two councillors jockeying for the headlines about the green agenda.I have taken positive action.I have identified as carbon neutral.There.done,easy.

  2. WELL! It’s the council ain’t it. SO! What do you expect. They want your money and do sod all for it.

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