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New climate change chief for council

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) will announce a new climate change chief to champion the authority’s green agenda at a leader’s decision day on Wednesday 27 October.

TVBC leader, councillor Phil North, is set to make various changes to his cabinet and while none of the councillors at the top table will change, their areas of focus will.

Crucially this will see the leader create a new portfolio – Climate Emergency and Countryside – headed up by councillor Alison Johnston.

Phil North, said: “With COP26 rapidly approaching, climate change is very much at the forefront of people’s minds. The scale of the task ahead – protecting the future of our planet and the lives of our children and all those who come after us – is the greatest challenge we will ever face. And the clock is ticking.

“Creating the Climate Emergency and Countryside portfolio reinforces our commitment to tackling climate change and enhancing the local environment. Since declaring a climate emergency in 2019, we have already increased our electric vehicle fleet, reduced our printing by hundreds of thousands of pages, and switched to an electricity tariff that uses renewable energy. But this is just the beginning and I look forward to councillor Johnston helping to drive forward this work for the council.”

Alison Johnston, added: “This is a huge area of work and there is undoubtedly a massive challenge ahead. But I am very much looking forward to getting stuck in and ensuring that we are doing all we can in Test Valley to slash our CO2 emissions and support the national and global fight against climate change.”

In further changes, deputy leader, councillor Nick Adams-King, will head up a portfolio on Recycling, Street Cleaning and Transport – tasked with delivering a major package of recycling reforms. This follows on from the authority previously pledging to give residents the chance to recycle glass, thin plastics (pots, tubs and trays) and Tetra Pak-style cartons in the same household recycling bin, as well as providing a weekly food waste service.

Community, Leisure and Tourism will sit with councillor David Drew, and councillor Ian Jeffrey will pick up Democracy and Governance.

Housing and Environmental Health, including diversity and inclusion, will now sit with councillor Tracey Tasker and the Planning portfolio will go to councillor Phil Bundy.

Councillor Maureen Flood will continue to look after Finance and Resources.

The leader and deputy leader will also continue to oversee strategic regeneration and partnerships in the north and south of the borough respectively.

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