Residents in the public gallery erupted into applause as Chichester District Council declared a climate emergency this morning.
Councillors agreed to task the environment panel with coming up with priority actions for a plan on how to move to carbon neutral environment and detailing the resources needed to make it deliverable.
Councillor Susan Taylor said at the cabinet meeting: “I fully approve of this declaration but what’s so important is that it’s not just going to be words.
“Words are easy...we will be taking positive action and I think that is to be commended.”
The panel will debate whether to use £150,000 of reserves to employ a climate emergency officer for three years.
The meeting also heard that money due from the Graylingwell development may be offered to the council by Homes England to pay for carbon reduction schemes.
According to figures read out by resident Tom Broughton, the average carbon dioxide emissions in Chichester district was 5.7 tonnes per capita in 2016 – higher than the West Sussex average of 4.5 tonnes per capita.
Councillor Penny Plant said this reflected the nature of the district as a largely rural area.
She said the latest figures from 2017 showed the average in Chichester had reduced to 5.5 tonnes but said: “We do recognise there is still more to be done.”
Mrs Plant stressed that residents also had part to play in helping the environment.
She said: “The council can’t do it all on our own.
“We would like all of you to do what you can and to renew your plans towards your cars, your clothes you throw away, your beefburgers, your single use straws.”
After the meeting Mr Broughton, speaking on behalf of Extinction Rebellion, told the Observer he was ‘delighted’ the district council had joined Chichster City Council in declaring a climate emergency – pointing out that West Sussex County Council had only gone so far as ‘noting’ a climate emergency.
“We are going in the right direction,” he said.