Agenda item

Public Questions (Standing Order 13.4(e)

To deal with any public questions notified at least two clear working days before the meeting and in accordance with the Council’s protocol for public questions.

 

http://easthants.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s9789/ProtocolforPublicQuestionsatEHDCCouncilSept2018.docx.pdf

Minutes:

The following public questions were received and published on the Council’s website.

In accordance with the Council’s Protocol for Public Questions, the Chairman took the questions as read and took questions 1 to 5 and 7 together, being similar in nature:

 

1.    From Mr E Broomfield

Approx 200 authorities across all political parties up and down the country including Hampshire County Council have formally recognised the overwhelming urgency of taking immediate action to control global warming by declaring a climate emergency.  Under what circumstances would it be appropriate to vote differently from Hampshire County Council and these 200 authorities?

2.    From Mr R Knight

 

This evening you will discuss a motion concerning the climate emergency that currently exists, an emergency that arises due to insufficient action being taken since the burning of fossil fuels was first identified as a potential issue in 1830 by Alexander Van Humboldt.

The science proving that he was right was well established by 1959 and since that date we have confirmed this fact repeatedly with the only new data being the ever smaller window of opportunity to act to avoid catastrophic consequences.

We have the facts, the international consensus and the knowledge that action can be delayed no longer. We need this motion to pass, today, for all of our sakes. 

My three questions are:

To the Leader of the Conservative Councillors:

Will the Leader of the Conservative Councillors give a free vote and ensure that party rivalry and political strategising do not risk any further delay? 

If not, then please could he explain his reasoning as this is a cross-party motion?

The Chairman advised that a Local Authority has no responsibility for matters that fall to the Political Groups, therefore this is not a question that could be dealt with at Council.

 

To the Chairman of the meeting: 

Can a record of the votes by each Council Member be recorded and shared publicly?

 

3.    Mr D Barton

With so many voices, including Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg, stressing the importance for all levels of society to act, can you assure me that our District will take a leading role to ensure that whatever funds are allocated to projects, the reduction of CO2 is considered as the top priority.

4.    Mr J Hilton

I understand that declaring a climate emergency is one thing and taking actions that address the emergency is another. The skills required to address the crisis may not necessarily exist within the council. Will you form a citizens' assembly so that a wider range of views and experiences can be heard, with the aim of getting the best help quickly, moving to action sooner, and increasing accountability?

5.    Mr I James

Although China still has coal fired power generators it's per capita (that is per person) carbon dioxide emissions is still lower than the UK’s. However this is irrelevant to whether or not East Hampshire District Council adopts policies that will help control global warming. I believe everyone knows of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report that global warming will reach the danger point of one point five degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2030. This requires  urgent and immediate action. Tonight the council has such an opportunity to act to ensure the future of future generations. Can I please ask the chair of tonight’s meeting (or any other councillor present) to request a recorded vote for the motion associated with agenda item 14 to allow our grandchildren the opportunity of seeing who voted for their future and who voted against it tonight.

7.    Mrs C Cockburn

As Chairman you are responsible in ensuring the council develops sustainable and progressive policy. This is an emergency and we need strong leadership; we need all political parties to work together to act now. 

How will you show leadership in developing the necessary and unpartisan policies to combat climate change?

 

Councillor Millard responded that the issues raised in the questions had been covered during the course of the debate which he hoped showed that, whilst the Council could not deliver outcomes to address climate change unilaterally, all councillors were prepared to work together with other stakeholders to take positive action and move forward.  Cllr Millard undertook to provide more information after the meeting if required.

 

6.    Ms M Johnson

 

If Bordon is to be a thriving and economically sustainable green town what plans have been discussed to return railway transport to the town?

For example, can EHDC confirm any discussions since 2009 with AOTC, the Association of Train Operating Companies, which applied for funding for the reopening of Bordon station, following the publication of its 2009 report Connecting Communities: Expanding Access to the Rail Network.[3]  

 

I understand that AOTC is now Rail Delivery Group, https://www.raildeliverygroup.com

 

Councillor  Cowper gave the following response:

Hampshire County Council is the Transport Authority.
A comprehensive feasibility study was undertaken in 2012 (
https://issuu.com/easthampshire/docs/grip_3_studyv2.0)  assessing the case for a rail line/station at Whitehill & Bordon.  This showed that the economic case for opening a rail link to Bordon was not strong enough to obtain the required support and funding from central government.  It was therefore decided that this was not a viable option for the town.  

GRIP 2 results - March 2011

The study identified the heavy rail route from Whitehill Bordon to Bentley as the only option that demonstrated a sufficiently positive business case to warrant further study.Several other potential heavy rail routes were also considered (to Liss, Liphook and Alton) plus tram and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) options, but these were ruled out due to their low Benefit to Cost Ratios, and in some cases, their environmental impacts. 

GRIP 3 results - April 2013 

The Whitehill Bordon to Bentley heavy rail route was taken forward to GRIP 3 stage (feasibility) which concluded that; creating new train paths to accommodate the London Waterloo service would require re-cast of the entire SWT timetable, unlikely for a minor infrastructure item (in Network Rail terms);two options could be delivered without a significant timetable re-cast:Alternating services to Alton and Whitehill & Bordon, i.e. an hourly service to both towns. This option was deemed 'Low' value for moneyAmending the Ascot to Guildford service, i.e. half-hourly service Whitehill & Bordon to Ascot -  ‘Poor’ value for money; funding is very difficult to secure given low benefit cost ratios  (engineering and costing work stream estimated costs at £96.4M in 2011Q4 prices to construct the rail link, station and acquire the associated land) there is no realistic prospect that the reintroduction of heavy rail services from Whitehill & Bordon will be possible during the period covered by the Masterplan – this view is endorsed by Network Rail and SWT.

Supporting documents: