Agenda and decisions

Council - Tuesday, 23 February 2021 2.00 p.m.

Venue: Virtual meeting - Online. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services  03450 450 500 Email: democratic.services@scambs.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

Presentation

1.

Apologies

To receive Apologies for Absence from Members.

2.

Declaration of Interest

3.

Register of Interests

Members are requested to inform Democratic Services of any changes in their Register of Members’ Financial and Other Interests form.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 381 KB

To authorise the Chair to sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2020 as a correct record.

5.

Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chair, Leader, the executive or the head of paid service.

6.

Questions From the Public pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To answer any questions asked by the public.

 

The deadline for receipt of public questions is noon on Tuesday, 16 February 2021.

 

The Council’s scheme for public speaking at remote meetings may be inspected here:

 

Public Questions at Remote Meetings 

7.

Petitions

To note that no petitions have been received since the last Council meeting.

8b

Localised Council Tax Support Scheme: 2021/22 (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Approves the adoption of Option 1, comprising the LCTS Income Bands scheme currently in operation, with an uprating of calculation figures in line with the Consumer Price Index.

 

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

to approve the adoption of Option 1, comprising the LCTS Income Bands scheme currently in operation, with an uprating of calculation figures in line with the Consumer Price Index.

 

8c

Capital Investment Programme (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Approve the revised Capital Programme outlined at Appendix A to the report.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To approve the revised Capital Programme outlined at Appendix A.

8d

Treasury Management Strategy (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

approve the updated Treasury Management Strategy attached at Appendix A to the report which sets the policy framework for the Council’s treasury management activity, including (i) the Treasury Management Policy Statement, (ii) Minimum Revenue Provision Policy and (ii) Treasury Indicators.

 

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To approve the updated Treasury Management Strategy attached at Appendix A to the report which sets the policy framework for the Council’s treasury management activity, including (i) the Treasury Management Policy Statement, (ii) Minimum Revenue Provision Policy and (ii) Treasury Indicators.

8e

Capital Strategy (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 498 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

approve (i) the updated Capital Strategy attached at Appendix A to the report which sets the policy framework for the development, management and monitoring of capital investment, and (ii) Prudential Indicators.

 

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To approve (i) the updated Capital Strategy attached at Appendix A to the report which sets the policy framework for the development, management and monitoring of capital investment, and (ii) Prudential Indicators.

8f

General Fund Budget 2021/2022 (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 504 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

1.              consider the report and, if satisfied, to:

 

(a)   Take into account the detailed budgets presented at Appendix B, and summarised at Appendix A, with an estimated General Fund Gross Operating Expenditure for 2021/2022 of £71.917 million, estimated Gross Operating Income of £49.146 million and estimated General Fund Net Operating Expenditure of £22.771 million;

 

(b)   Acknowledge the key factors which have led to the proposed 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget, with service pressures summarised at Appendix C and offsetting efficiency savings/policy options summarised at Appendix D;

 

(c)   Acknowledge that the 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget gross expenditure is covered by forecast income sources (assuming no change in Government grant) and, therefore, any addition(s) to expenditure that are made by the Cabinet or Council will need to be met from the General Fund Balance;

 

(d)   Approve the 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget taking into account the statement by the Chief Finance Officer on the risks and robustness of the estimates as required under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 (reproduced at Appendix F);

 

(a)   Set the Council Tax Requirement for 2021/2022 at £9,997,693;

 

(b)   Approve an increase in the District element of the Council Tax of £5 per annum, giving an average Band D Council Tax of £155.31, plus the relevant amounts required by the precepts of the Parish Councils, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner, and the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority;

 

(c)   Approve the estimates of the amounts required to be made under the Non-domestic Rating (Rates Retention) Regulations 2013 as set out in paragraphs 36 to 39;

 

(d)   Approve the acceptance of any grants made during 2021/2022 by the Government under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 in respect of Business Rates; 

 

(e)   Approve the use of the additional income from the Business Rate Pool, estimated at £1,100,000 in 2021/2022, for transfer to the established Renewables Reserve for priority projects;

 

(f)    Subject to any changes to the recommendations above, Full Council approves that:

 

(i)    The 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget based on known commitments at this time and planned levels of Service/functions resulting in a Budget Requirement of £21.722 million;

 

(ii)   The District Council Precept on the Collection Fund (Council Tax Requirement) of £9.998 million in 2021/2022 (based on the Local Government Settlement) and a Band D Council Tax of £155.31.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To:

 

(a)   Take into account the detailed budgets presented at Appendix B, and summarised at Appendix A, with an estimated General Fund Gross Operating Expenditure for 2021/2022 of £71.917 million, estimated Gross Operating Income of £49.146 million and estimated General Fund Net Operating Expenditure of £22.771 million;

 

(b)  Acknowledge the key factors which have led to the proposed 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget, with service pressures summarised at Appendix C and offsetting efficiency savings/policy options summarised at Appendix D;

 

(c)   Acknowledge that the 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget gross expenditure is covered by forecast income sources (assuming no change in Government grant) and, therefore, any addition(s) to expenditure that are made by the Cabinet or Council will need to be met from the General Fund Balance;

 

(d)  Approve the 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget taking into account the statement by the Chief Finance Officer on the risks and robustness of the estimates as required under Section 25 of the Local Government Act 2003 (reproduced at Appendix F);

 

(e)   Set the Council Tax Requirement for 2021/2022 at £9,997,693;

 

(f)    Approve an increase in the District element of the Council Tax of £5 per annum, giving an average Band D Council Tax of £155.31, plus the relevant amounts required by the precepts of the Parish Councils, Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridgeshire Police & Crime Commissioner, and the Cambridgeshire Fire Authority;

 

(g)  Approve the estimates of the amounts required to be made under the Non-domestic Rating (Rates Retention) Regulations 2013 as set out in paragraphs 36 to 39;

 

(h)             Approve the acceptance of any grants made during 2021/2022 by the Government under Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003 in respect of Business Rates; 

 

(i)    Approve the use of the additional income from the Business Rate Pool, estimated at £1,100,000 in 2021/2022, for transfer to the established Renewables Reserve for priority projects;

 

(j)    Subject to any changes to the recommendations above, Full Council approves that:

 

(i)    The 2021/2022 General Fund Revenue Budget based on known commitments at this time and planned levels of Service/functions resulting in a Budget Requirement of £21.722 million;

 

(ii)   The District Council Precept on the Collection Fund (Council Tax Requirement) of £9.998 million in 2021/2022 (based on the Local Government Settlement) and a Band D Council Tax of £155.31.

 

8g

Housing Revenue Account Budget 2021/2022 (Cabinet - 3 February 2021) pdf icon PDF 509 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Housing Revenue Account (HRA): Revenue

 

(a)   approve the HRA revenue budget for 2021/2022 as shown in the HRA Budget Summary as presented at Appendix A to the report;

 

HRA: Review of Rents and Charges

 

(b)   Approve that council dwelling rents for all social rented properties be increased by the Consumer Prices Index plus 1% (1.5%), in line with legislative requirements introduced as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act, with effect from 1st April 2021;

 

(c)   Approve that affordable rents are reviewed in line with rent legislation, to ensure that rents charged are no more than 80% of market rent for 2021/2022. Local policy is to cap affordable rents at the lower level of Local Housing Allowance, which will result in rent variations in line with any changes notified to the authority in this level, effective from 1st April 2021;

 

(d)   Approve inflationary increases of 0.6% in garage rents for 2021/2022.

 

(e)   Approve the proposed service charges for HRA services and facilities provided to both tenants and leaseholders, as shown in Appendix D.

 

 

HRA: Capital

 

(f)    Approve the required level of funding for new build investment between 2021/2022 and 2025/2026 to ensure that commitments can be met in respect of the investment of all right to buy receipts currently retained or anticipated to be received by the authority for this period. This expenditure will take the form of HRA new build, with the 70% top up met by other HRA resources;

 

(g)   Approve the HRA Medium Term Financial Strategy forecasts as shown in Appendix B;

 

(h)   Approve the Housing Capital Programme as shown in Appendix C.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

 

Housing Revenue Account (HRA): Revenue

 

(a)   approve the HRA revenue budget for 2021/2022 as shown in the HRA Budget Summary as presented at Appendix A;

 

HRA: Review of Rents and Charges

 

(b)  Approve that council dwelling rents for all social rented properties be increased by the Consumer Prices Index plus 1% (1.5%), in line with legislative requirements introduced as part of the Welfare Reform and Work Act, with effect from 1st April 2021;

 

(c)   Approve that affordable rents are reviewed in line with rent legislation, to ensure that rents charged are no more than 80% of market rent for 2021/2022. Local policy is to cap affordable rents at the lower level of Local Housing Allowance, which will result in rent variations in line with any changes notified to the authority in this level, effective from 1st April 2021;

 

(d)  Approve inflationary increases of 0.6% in garage rents for 2021/2022.

 

(e)   Approve the proposed service charges for HRA services and facilities provided to both tenants and leaseholders, as shown in Appendix D.

 

 

HRA: Capital

 

(f)    Approve the required level of funding for new build investment between 2021/2022 and 2025/2026 to ensure that commitments can be met in respect of the investment of all right to buy receipts currently retained or anticipated to be received by the authority for this period. This expenditure will take the form of HRA new build, with the 70% top up met by other HRA resources;

 

(g)  Approve the HRA Medium Term Financial Strategy forecasts as shown in Appendix B;

 

(h)  Approve the Housing Capital Programme as shown in Appendix C.

 

 

9.

Council Tax Resolution pdf icon PDF 296 KB

To approve the formal Council Tax resolution for 2021/22 (report to follow)

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

That the Council Tax Resolution, detailed at Appendix A, be approved.

10.

Swavesey Byeways Rate 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

The Swavesey Byeways Advisory Committee

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

Retains the level of the Swavesey Byeways rate at £1.20 per hectare for land within the charge paying area for the period 2021/22 in order to fund the required level of maintenance.

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To retain the level of the Swavesey Byeways rate at £1.20 per hectare for land within the charge paying area for the period 2021/22 in order to fund the required level of maintenance.

 

11.

Calendar of Meetings 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To approve the Calendar of Meetings 2021/22.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

To approve the Calendar of Meetings 2020/21 as set out at Appendix A.

12.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority pdf icon PDF 476 KB

Attached are the reports summarising the work of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority from October to November 2020, and December 2020 to January 2021.

Additional documents:

13.

Greater Cambridge Partnership pdf icon PDF 272 KB

Attached is a summary of the decisions taken at a meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board at its meeting of 10 December 2020.

14.

Membership of Committees and other bodies

 

(a)   To note and endorse the following change in appointments and memberships of committees and substitute arrangements:

 

(i)             the election as Vice Chair of the Grants Advisory Committee of Councillor Sue Ellington, following the resignation of Councillor Clare Delderfield from that role;

(ii)            the replacement of Councillor Clare Delderfield by Councillor Bill Handley as a regular member of the Grants Advisory Committee.

(iii)           the replacement of Councillor Clare Delderfield by Councillor Steve Hunt as a substitute member of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee;

(iv)           The appointment of Councillor Ian Sollom to the Brexit Advisory Group, to fill a vacancy arising from the resignation of former Councillor Philip Allen.

 

(b)   To note and endorse any other changes in the membership of committees or substitute arrangements which have been made in accordance with the wishes of the Leader of the political group to which the seat has been allocated.

(c)   To note that the Chief Executive has appointed the Head of Environment and Waste to the Officer representation on the Investment Partnership Board, replacing the Chief Operating Officer.

 

Decision:

Council AGREED

 

(a)   To note and endorse the following changes in appointments and memberships of committees and substitute arrangements:

 

(i)             the election as Vice Chair of the Grants Advisory Committee of Councillor Sue Ellington, following the resignation of Councillor Clare Delderfield from that role;

(ii)            the replacement of Councillor Clare Delderfield by Councillor Bill Handley as a regular member of the Grants Advisory Committee.

(iii)           the replacement of Councillor Clare Delderfield by Councillor Steve Hunt as a substitute member of the Audit and Corporate Governance Committee;

(iv)           The appointment of Councillor Ian Sollom to the Brexit Advisory Group, to fill a vacancy arising from the resignation of former Councillor Philip Allen.

 

(b)   To note and endorse that the Chief Executive has appointed the Head of Environment and Waste to the Officer representation on the Investment Partnership Board, replacing the Chief Operating Officer.

 

 

15.

Questions From Councillors

A period of 30 minutes will be allocated for this item to include those questions where notice has been provided (as set out on the agenda below) and questions which may be asked without notice.

 

Members wishing to ask a question without notice should indicate this intention to the Democratic Services Manager prior to the commencement of the item.  Members’ names will be drawn at random by the Chairman until there are no further questions or until the expiration of the time period. 

15a

From Councillor Grenville Chamberlain

Will the Leader explain whether the recently introduced change of rules in respect of loans provided by the Public Works Loan Board would have impacted the Council's ability to borrow funds for the purpose of acquiring any of the recently purchased properties? If so, which ones?

 

15b

From Councillor Dr Richard Williams

Has the Leader, any member of Cabinet or any Senior Officer of the Greater Cambridge Planning Service held any discussions, or had any other contact, with Hill Group and/or L & Q Estates (including their representatives or agents), concerning the proposed ‘Westley Green’ development near Six Mile Bottom?

 

8.

To Consider the Following Recommendations:

8a

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2021-2026 (Cabinet - 7 December 2020) pdf icon PDF 723 KB

Cabinet

 

RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL

 

1.      Acknowledge the projected changes in service spending and the overall resources available to the Council over the medium-term.

 

2.     Approve the refreshed Medium Term Financial Strategy at Appendix A and updated financial forecast at Appendix B to the report.

Decision:

Council AGREED to:

 

(a)   Acknowledge the projected changes in service spending and the overall resources available to the Council over the medium-term.

 

(b)   Approve the refreshed Medium Term Financial Strategy at Appendix A and updated financial forecast at Appendix B.

 

16.

Notices of Motion

A period of 30 minutes will be allowed for each Motion to be moved, seconded and debated, including dealing with any amendments. At the expiry of the 30 minute period, debate shall cease immediately, the mover of the original Motion, or if the original Motion has been amended, the mover of that amendment now forming part of the substantive motion, will have the right of reply before it is put to the vote.

16a

Standing in the name of Councillor Claire Daunton

One of the many consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic is an increase in regular and frequent goods traffic through the villages of South Cambridgeshire. This traffic ranges from small delivery vans to large articulated lorries (HGV traffic).  The increase has come about at the same time as more of our residents are cycling and walking. It has also happened at a time when the government has put forward proposals to abolish the current weight restrictions.

 

A number of issues are linked to these developments. The increase in traffic, especially that of HGVs, has made the roads and pavements less safe for cyclists and pedestrians; and the air pollution, noise and speed has led to increased stress for residents, with consequent mental health problems. Further, the wider use of satnavs, which encourage drivers to take the shortest routes (often rural roads), is having a cumulative effect not only on the lives of residents but also on the state of our roads. Rural roads were not built for HGVs. Where weight restrictions are in place, they are little observed and the police have indicated they are not able to enforce.

 

We believe the way to tackle these issues is: 

a) to encourage local communities to report HGV infringement of current restrictions;

b) to encourage the police to take action against persistent offenders;

c) to encourage satnav companies to incorporate the County’s advisory freight routes into their systems;

d) to encourage firms to move towards hybrid or electric vehicles as ways of cutting emissions rather than relying on heavier, longer vehicles;

e) to encourage the installation of appropriate 20mph speed limits, along with physical highway restraints, in the areas worst affected;

f) to use planning conditions to prevent or mitigate the problems, as appropriate 

 

This Council requests that the Leader write to the Secretary of State for Transport to request that the government take fully into account the effects of HGV traffic on rural communities, as set out above, when considering changes to current regulations on weight.

This Council requests that the Leader also write to the County Council to request that it facilitates the use of measures set out above to make our village roads safer and improve the daily lives of our residents.

 

Decision:

Following the agreement of the mover of the motion to an alternative to add the words “, and include supporting evidence of the increase referred to” to the penultimate paragraph, and to add the words “, along with supporting evidence of the increase referred to above” to the last paragraph of her motion,

 

Council AGREED the following motion:

 

One of the many consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic is an increase in regular and frequent goods traffic through the villages of South Cambridgeshire. This traffic ranges from small delivery vans to large articulated lorries (HGV traffic)).  The increase has come about at the same time as more of our residents are cycling and walking. It has also happened at a time when the government has put forward proposals to abolish the current weight restrictions.

 

A number of issues are linked to these developments. The increase in traffic, especially that of HGVs, has made the roads and pavements less safe for cyclists and pedestrians; and the air pollution, noise and speed has led to increased stress for residents, with consequent mental health problems. Further, the wider use of satnavs, which encourage drivers to take the shortest routes (often rural roads), is having a cumulative effect not only on the lives of residents but also on the state of our roads. Rural roads were not built for HGVs. Where weight restrictions are in place, they are little observed and the police have indicated they are not able to enforce.

 

We believe the way to tackle these issues is: 

a) to encourage local communities to report HGV infringement of current restrictions;

b) to encourage the police to take action against persistent offenders;

c) to encourage satnav companies to incorporate the County’s advisory freight routes into their systems;

d) to encourage firms to move towards hybrid or electric vehicles as ways of cutting emissions rather than relying on heavier, longer vehicles;

e) to encourage the installation of appropriate 20mph speed limits, along with physical highway restraints, in the areas worst affected;

f) to use planning conditions to prevent or mitigate the problems, as appropriate 

 

This Council requests that the Leader write to the Secretary of State for Transport to request that the government take fully into account the effects of HGV traffic on rural communities, as set out above, when considering changes to current regulations on weight, and include supporting evidence of the increase referred to.

This Council requests that the Leader also write to the County Council to request that it facilitates the use of measures set out above to make our village roads safer and improve the daily lives of our residents, along with supporting evidence of the increase referred to above.

 

 

 

16b

Standing in the name of Councillor Pippa Heylings

In its meeting of July 2019, this Council recognised that we are facing both an ecological and climate emergency and, in response, adopted Doubling Nature as a vision with one of our aims being that ‘the Council should be an exemplar for the landscape scale restoration of the natural environment’.

As a Council, we own very little land directly and, therefore, our Doubling Nature vision depends ultimately on partnerships and the sharing of a vision with communities, landowners, farmers and developers. Parts of South Cambridgeshire lie within the proposed Fens Biosphere buffer and transition zones. A Biosphere is a special status awarded by UNESCO to a unique and valuable landscape, such as the Fens. Biospheres connect people, economies and nature to secure a future where all can thrive. Following extraordinary, sustained and coordinated efforts by local (and national) stakeholder bodies, campaigners and enthusiastic members of the public, the proposed Fens Biosphere was awarded Candidate Status by UK Man and the Biosphere (UK MAB) on behalf of UNESCO in November 2019, opening the real possibility that the Fens Biosphere could become UK’s 8th UNESCO Biosphere designation; one of 714 in 129 countries, and the only lowland Biosphere in the country.

Within the proposed Biosphere buffer zone, activities will be focused on linking people, science and conservation to support the core zone of sites of specific conservation value. Such activities could include trialling new agricultural crops and techniques, encouraging communities to develop new spaces for nature and looking at how water resources can be managed on a landscape scale. As a centre of excellence and focus for a united community effort across the region, it can bring significant social, economic and environmental benefits.

In order to leap the final hurdle to gain UNESCO Biosphere designation, the Biosphere initiative needs to demonstrate the widest level of local support, including that of the local authorities. Although several local authorities within the candidate area have voiced support, it is critical that the support is demonstrated through formal endorsement. Senior proponents of the Fens Biosphere gave a passionate presentation to the Climate and Environment Advisory Committee in January along with a request for support, which was unanimously recommended by the Committee.

This Council

-recognises the value of the Fens Biosphere and formally supports its request for UNESCO Biosphere designation;

- authorises the Leader to write formally to convey its support;

- authorises the Leader and the Chair of CEAC to champion the Fens Biosphere initiative by writing to all relevant local authorities to encourage them to do the same.

 

 

Decision:

Council AGREED the following motion:

 

In its meeting of July 2019, this Council recognised that we are facing both an ecological and climate emergency and, in response, adopted Doubling Nature as a vision with one of our aims being that ‘the Council should be an exemplar for the landscape scale restoration of the natural environment’.

As a Council, we own very little land directly and, therefore, our Doubling Nature vision depends ultimately on partnerships and the sharing of a vision with communities, landowners, farmers and developers. Parts of South Cambridgeshire lie within the proposed Fens Biosphere buffer and transition zones. A Biosphere is a special status awarded by UNESCO to a unique and valuable landscape, such as the Fens. Biospheres connect people, economies and nature to secure a future where all can thrive. Following extraordinary, sustained and coordinated efforts by local (and national) stakeholder bodies, campaigners and enthusiastic members of the public, the proposed Fens Biosphere was awarded Candidate Status by UK Man and the Biosphere (UK MAB) on behalf of UNESCO in November 2019, opening the real possibility that the Fens Biosphere could become UK’s 8th UNESCO Biosphere designation; one of 714 in 129 countries, and the only lowland Biosphere in the country.

Within the proposed Biosphere buffer zone, activities will be focused on linking people, science and conservation to support the core zone of sites of specific conservation value. Such activities could include trialling new agricultural crops and techniques, encouraging communities to develop new spaces for nature and looking at how water resources can be managed on a landscape scale. As a centre of excellence and focus for a united community effort across the region, it can bring significant social, economic and environmental benefits.

In order to leap the final hurdle to gain UNESCO Biosphere designation, the Biosphere initiative needs to demonstrate the widest level of local support, including that of the local authorities. Although several local authorities within the candidate area have voiced support, it is critical that the support is demonstrated through formal endorsement. Senior proponents of the Fens Biosphere gave a passionate presentation to the Climate and Environment Advisory Committee in January along with a request for support, which was unanimously recommended by the Committee.

This Council

-recognises the value of the Fens Biosphere and formally supports its request for UNESCO Biosphere designation;

- authorises the Leader to write formally to convey its support;

- authorises the Leader and the Chair of CEAC to champion the Fens Biosphere initiative by writing to all relevant local authorities to encourage them to do the same.

 

 

17.

Standing in the name of Councillor Geoff Harvey

Fossil fuel divestment was once viewed as a moral undertaking; now it is as much about reducing financial risk. In October last year, Cambridge University finally announced its aim to have no meaningful exposure to fossil fuels in its investment funds by 2030. A University report summarised the long-running debate and included this recollection from visiting American environmentalist, Bill McKibben that …. Exxon built rigs to account for climate change-related sea rise while funding climate change denialism research (Oreskes and Conway 2010). He commented “intellectual dishonesty on that scale would get you kicked out of Cambridge in a minute”. But alongside the moral arguments, were those of sound finance: ‘Overall, there is little evidence to suggest that a global portfolio invested to exclude fossil fuels would underperform one that included them and such a portfolio might avoid the volatility that is likely to affect the fossil fuel sector in the coming years.’

It has been calculated that were oil companies to extract all oil in their existing developed reserves (oil fields), this alone, when burnt, would use up the remaining available carbon budget before breaching 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature rise compared to preindustrial levels. Yet oil companies continue with oil exploration. Last year, BP announced a £14billion asset write-down acknowledging a shift towards renewable energy. There is a real risk of remaining invested in assets that will become stranded assets; the ownership of oil reserves that will now have to remain in the ground. In 2015, UK local authority pension funds lost nearly £700million when the market for coal collapsed. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, issued a blunt warning in 2015 that investors, like pension funds faced “potentially huge” losses as action on climate change could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas “literally un-burnable”.

This Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency. We now know Investments in fossil fuels are not only harmful to the environment but also put the sustainable future of pensions at risk.

In December last year, the National Climate Change Committee released a paper ‘Local Authorities and the Sixth Carbon Budget’. It lists 9 ‘overarching priorities’ for local authorities and one of these relates to pensions schemes investments. ‘Local authority pension funds should disclose their approach to assessing and managing climate risks and should consider investing in Net Zero aligned schemes within their legal duties.’ This aligns with Clause 124 of the Pension Schemes Bill currently before Parliament where the Act is likely to mandate larger private sector pension schemes to manage climate change as a financial risk and to report publicly on how so.

We note from the Investment Strategy Statement of the Cambridgeshire County Council Pension Fund, ‘The Fund supports the principles of the [Financial Reporting Council] UK Stewardship Code and is working with the Fund’s advisers with the intention to sign up to the Code.’

We further note: this Code requires ‘Signatories systematically integrate stewardship and investment, including material  ...  view the full agenda text for item 17.

Decision:

Following the agreement of the mover of the motion to an alternative to add the words “including the issue of divestment,” to the last paragraph of his motion,

 

Council AGREED the following motion:

 

 

Motion – financial risk of climate change on pension fund – Geoff Harvey

Fossil fuel divestment was once viewed as a moral undertaking; now it is as much about reducing financial risk. In October last year, Cambridge University finally announced its aim to have no meaningful exposure to fossil fuels in its investment funds by 2030. A University report summarised the long-running debate and included this recollection from visiting American environmentalist, Bill McKibben that …. Exxon built rigs to account for climate change-related sea rise while funding climate change denialism research (Oreskes and Conway 2010). He commented “intellectual dishonesty on that scale would get you kicked out of Cambridge in a minute”. But alongside the moral arguments, were those of sound finance: ‘Overall, there is little evidence to suggest that a global portfolio invested to exclude fossil fuels would underperform one that included them and such a portfolio might avoid the volatility that is likely to affect the fossil fuel sector in the coming years.’

It has been calculated that were oil companies to extract all oil in their existing developed reserves (oil fields), this alone, when burnt, would use up the remaining available carbon budget before breaching 1.5 degrees Celsius global temperature rise compared to preindustrial levels. Yet oil companies continue with oil exploration. Last year, BP announced a £14billion asset write-down acknowledging a shift towards renewable energy. There is a real risk of remaining invested in assets that will become stranded assets; the ownership of oil reserves that will now have to remain in the ground. In 2015, UK local authority pension funds lost nearly £700milion when the market for coal collapsed. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, issued a blunt warning in 2015 that investors, like pension funds faced “potentially huge” losses as action on climate change could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas “literally un-burnable”.

This Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency. We now know Investments in fossil fuels are not only harmful to the environment but also put the sustainable future of pensions at risk.

In December last year, the National Climate Change Committee released a paper ‘Local Authorities and the Sixth Carbon Budget’. It lists 9 ‘overarching priorities’ for local authorities and one of these relates to pensions schemes investments. ‘Local authority pension funds should disclose their approach to assessing and managing climate risks and should consider investing in Net Zero aligned schemes within their legal duties.’ This aligns with Clause 124 of the Pension Schemes Bill currently before Parliament where the Act is likely to mandate larger private sector pension schemes to manage climate change as a financial risk and to report publicly on how so.

We note from the Investment Strategy Statement of the Cambridgeshire County Council Pension  ...  view the full decision text for item 17.

18.

Chair's Engagements

To note the Chair’s engagements since the last Council meeting:

 

Date

 

February

Venue / Event

6

AGM of Royal British Legion