Mayor rejects call to employ climate change officer in Bedford

Calls for Bedford Borough Council to employ someone to chase up climate change issues have been rejected by the mayor.

Mayor Dave Hodgson told a meeting of the council’s executive on Wednesday (Feb 13) that tackling climate change was the responsibility of everyone.

Climate change is on the agenda

Climate change is on the agenda

A green pressure group called Extinction Rebellion has emailed councillors asking for the council to declare a climate emergency and step up efforts to bring down levels of carbon dioxide.

Having received the email herself, Cllr Sue Oliver asked the mayor for a response.

“We have done an awful lot,” said the mayor, who has met the Extinction Rebellion group.

He said the council had exceeded targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions, installed low energy light bulbs and solar panels at borough hall and on multi-storey car parks, and helped village halls with insulation.

Mayor Dave said there are still councillors who do not believe in climate change. “To those who don’t believe climate change is happening, it is about saving money,” he said.

“We are looking at becoming carbon neutral as soon as possible. They would like us to have a new officer but everybody should look at this. We need to deliver, we have a good record and we will continue to do that.”

He added that a new ‘evaporative cooling’ system for computers had saved £72,000 in costs and paid for itself in eight months.

“If anyone else has ideas for that kind of invest-to-save, that pays for itself in eight months I would be willing to hear it,” he said.

Cllr Oliver said she had been a member of Friends of the Earth in 1976 and that she was pleased that the environment was becoming more important.

“It’s important that we take notice of what is picking up a head of steam and recognising what we have known for decades,” she said. “I think that this council has demonstrated its commitment to all things green.”