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Dover and Deal Green Party on DDC Climate strategy

Press Statement

The 7 Conservative cabinet members of DDC have announced they are pushing through their version of a Climate Change strategy at their Cabinet meeting on 11th January 2021, with 2 press releases on 8th and 12th January 2021.

Using our co-opted seat on the cross-party DDC climate change working group, Dover and Deal Green Party have worked hard all through 2020 to strengthen the DDC climate plans and add to suggestions from climate change officer on how the strategy could be shaped to help the most vulnerable in our communities.

Elected councillors of Dover and Deal Green Party initiated 3 of the 4 Climate Change Emergency Declarations passed in Dover District in 2019 (DealTC 25 June, WalmerPC 3July and DoverTC 17thJuly) and of course we are pleased that the majority group at DDC heeded the call of all Dover District's many campaigners on the Climate and Ecological Emergency in Nov 2019.

Serious investment in a climate-friendly recovery post-covid with good quality jobs for the younger generation, will be money well-spent. Comparing the draft on the agenda for the cabinet meeting 11th Jan with earlier drafts, the document looks thin and very underfunded (£475K is the value of a single high-end dwelling) compared to strategies and action plans from other borough councils in England. Problems are not solved by pretence.

We are also saddened that the one-party cabinet at DDC has not chosen to follow national guidelines which recommend participative democratic involvement of communities, citizens and parishes in local climate crisis response plans. The population of 118K (electorate 88K) deserve much more genuine democratic involvement. We are very concerned that DDC's plans for regeneration through large-scale urbanisation of East Kent and the cosy relationship between the DDC Planning dept and billionaire construction firms will not meet the need to retain woodland, fenland and farmland (carbon sinks and food production) (which is the recommendation of the Climate Coalition, Greenpeace, Zero Carbon Britain and the Woodland Trust). See DDC new Local Plan whose lockdown-constrained on-line consultation will run 20 Jan to 17th March.

We will continue to engage constructively with the DDC cabinet at climate working group meetings and continue to put the case for action on the climate and ecological emergency which is robust, honestly-measured, and responsive to communities and citizens across the district. Climate action is much less effective when imposed top-down. This is especially the case in a district where the Conservative majority on the District council were elected by less than half of 22 to 40 % of the electorate (varies according to ward). Similarly, at county level, the current Conservative majority were elected by less than half of 27 to 35 % of the Dover district electorate (varies according to division). So we will continue to campaign for more voice for citizens and communities on all matters, including the climate and ecological emergency and post-covid recovery.

Note for editors: DDC CC Strategy is downloadable from DDC website > meetings > Cabinet 11 Jan 2021 > Agenda papers

DDC lobby July 2019