Ribble Valley Borough Council is among three local authorities in England and Wales to have come bottom in a league table of climate friendly councils.
And officials at the council have stressed they are committed to protecting and enhancing the environmental quality of the area and aim to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030.
Wiltshire was named the most climate-friendly council in England and Wales, according to research by Friends of the Earth that has assessed local authorities’ energy, transport and recycling plans. It scored 92% in the climate change league table and was closely followed by the Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Somerset West and Taunton, Basingstoke and Deane, and Camden in London.
Ribble Valley is alongside Pendle Borough Council and Spelthorne in Surrey, scoring only 40%.
Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s chief executive, said: “All local authorities, even the best performing, need to ramp up what they are doing. We are facing a climate and ecological emergency that threatens our existence and the natural word. If we want to change things for the better, we have to start at home.”
Local environmental activist, Kate Murry, believes that, in response to public concern (as demonstrated by the Declaration of Rebellion issued by Extinction Rebellion activists in the
Ribble Valley) and in the light of these findings the council should now be looking to put in place an ambitious local climate action plan. She explained: “RVBC should be drawing on a broad section of the community in order to step up to the challenges we all face.”
The borough council's chief executive, Marshal Scott, said: “Ribble Valley is one of the sparsest boroughs in the country, with poor access to services, such as public transport, and is a considerable distance from service centres, such as Blackburn, Preston and Manchester, meaning cycling to work is unrealistic.
"Around 60 per cent of the borough is ‘off-grid’, with either no mains gas or electricity, while over 500 properties do not even have mains water, rendering them by default less energy-efficient. Nevertheless, despite being a small rural authority, with limited resources, we are committed to protecting and enhancing the environmental quality of our area. A key objective in our new corporate strategy is to become a carbon neutral borough by 2030. And we recently increased our plastic household waste collection to include pots, tubs and trays; will shortly be installing electric charging points in all our car parks and are working with the community to lobby for increased rail services between Clitheroe and Manchester.”
Clitheroe vicar, the Rev. Andy Froud, says every small change can make a difference. "We can make the huge change needed to save humanity if we resist the temptation to despair and feel that we can do nothing. This report reminds us that it is not just up to national, but local government as well to tackle this crisis."