On 11 November, Labour Councillors refused a joint trade union request for them to declare a climate emergency.
Tony Barnsley, Branch Secretary for Sandwell General UNISON Branch stated, “It is really disappointing that Labour Councillors in Sandwell are failing to implement what is official Labour Party policy. By not declaring a climate emergency our fear is that Sandwell Council will not make the necessary changes needed to reduce its carbon footprint. What we proposed were practical measures for Sandwell Council to contribute towards the aim of becoming zero carbon neutral. Something that all institutions of government must act upon if the worst affects of global warming are to be avoided.”
Sandwell UNISON called upon Sandwell Council:
1. To declare a climate emergency.
2. To aspire for Sandwell to be net zero carbon by 2030 or as soon after as a just transition permits – making sure we take communities with us, protecting employment and without impoverishing deprived communities.
3. To work with the WMCA and seek from the UK Government the powers and resources to help Sandwell deliver the 2030 net zero carbon ambition for a just transition.
4. To offer free parking and charge points throughout the Borough for zero emissions vehicles.
5. To invest in energy saving measures in all council properties, both council housing and council workplaces. This to include insulation and installation of solar panels where appropriate.
6. To invest in a new fleet of zero emission vehicles for the Council, which would also save on fuel costs.
7. Support days of action such as the Global Climate Action Day and encourage participation in legal events.