CALLS to support a bill that would strengthen the UK’s response to climate change have been foiled by the ruling Conservatives – despite declaring an emergency two years ago.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, July 20, Liberal Democrat councillor Karen Davies (Clewer East) brought forward a motion urging members to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill.

The motion also asked for the leader of the Royal Borough, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), to the Windsor and Maidenhead MPs calling them to sign up to support the bill as well as expressing the council’s support the organiser of the campaign for the bill, CEE Bill Alliance.

This bill, which was tabled in Parliament by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas as a private members bill, aims to create a strategy to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

Royal Borough Observer: Green Party's Caroline Lucas. (PA)Green Party's Caroline Lucas. (PA)

At the time of writing, the CEE Bill does not have the support of a single Conservative MP – but has some backing from local authorities.

Like other councils, the Royal Borough declared a climate emergency in June 2019.

Cllr Davies said: “We have already caused irreversible climate change. The impacts of which are being felt in the UK and around the world.

“The distressing scenes of severe flooding in Germany in the last week and possibly the hot weather here at the moment are just two of the most recent examples.

“Global temperatures have increased by 1.2 degrees from pre-industrial levels and the natural world has reached crisis point with 28 per cent of plants and animals currently facing extinction.

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“Unless we drastically change course, the world is set to exceed the Paris Agreement’s one and a half degree limit.”

However, councillor Donna Stimson (Con: St Mary’s), lead member for climate change and sustainability, said getting the CEE bill is a “slow process” to sort out a climate emergency that needs urgent action.

This is because the bill will be scrutinised and amended by Parliament and the House of Lords multiple times, and only then there is no guarantee it will pass as law.

She said: “This bill is not going to go before this administration or even talked about because Caroline didn’t get it in front of this particular administration.

“It will then have to go four times through the House of Commons, five times through the House of Lords, and it will need amendments.

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“So, that’s at least four years and by then we are well on our way to a far higher target.”

Cllr Stimson added the council is developing a borough-wide biodiversity action plan, which will come to cabinet “very shortly”.

It was heard the Royal Borough is now one of 100 UK councils and part of the C40 Cities, which means the local authority is signing up to be carbon neutral before 2050.

The motion was defeated 20 to 13 votes.