East Suffolk Council


East Suffolk Council has unanimously approved a motion declaring a biodiversity and ecological emergency.

Proposed by Green councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte and discussed on Wednesday.

Ms Smith-Lyte said it was “a critical step in the right direction for our council and beyond”.

But the East Suffolk Conservatives said: “The motion is just words with no new policies or initiatives.”

This follows the council’s 2019 declaration of a climate emergency.

Ms Smith-Lyte said: “We realised afterwards we had omitted to add the ecology and biodiversity emergency element, which is now rectified.”

Led by the Green, Liberal Democrat, and Independent (GLI) coalition, the council aims to craft a biodiversity action plan through consultations with residents, community groups, and officials.

They plan to enact wildlife initiatives, monitor biodiversity, and forge partnerships with youth organisations.

However, the East Suffolk Conservatives criticised the motion, deeming it a “missed opportunity.”

Councillor Craig Rivett, leader of the opposition group, said: “After nearly a year of the GLI administration they have only been able to provide words. This is not acceptable and we need a much stronger focus to protect and champion not only our biodiversity, but to ensure every policy at East Suffolk.”

Notably, during their tenure, former cabinet member James Mallinder initiated the ‘Pardon the Weeds, We are Feeding the Bees’ campaign and introduced hydrotreated vegetable oil for waste collection trucks.

“I worked hard to make sure that not only the environment departments focused on delivering policy, but the entire council considered the environmental impact of everything it did as an authority,” he said.

“The GLI group are failing the residents of East Suffolk by not providing the same level of engagement and are not prioritizing the environment.”

In response, Ms Smith-Lyte said: “[The] motion is in no way just words – we need it to be able to progress other related motions and action plans in the nature crisis, as well as to scale up our efforts both within, and external to, the council in our communities.”



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