Question 3 & 4 – submitted by Dr Sandra Reeve on behalf of Dorset Climate Action Network (Question to be read by Giles Watts from Dorset Action Network)
Dorset Council needs to be seen to operate fairly and to set high standards in public office. Dorset Climate Action Network is therefore very disappointed at the way the motion on UK energy self-sufficiency (Agenda 13) was handled at the Full Council meeting on 14th April.
It was clear that there were strong feelings in the chamber about this motion which included the proposal: ‘Mindful of the current experience of global conflict and uncertainty, Dorset Council urges the Government to introduce an energy policy with the principal objective of securing permanent UK energy self-sufficiency from as early a date as possible, utilising whatever forms of energy generation sourced from within the UK are necessary to this end’. This proposal ignores both the recommendations of the IPPC report and Dorset Council’s own Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy.
Following the disruption by protesters, the meeting was moved to another room, where a vote was taken with no debate permitted, apart from the words of the proposer and the seconder which were delivered before the disruption.
We note the actions by the two protesters calling themselves Grannies for the Future. However Dorset Council's response to the protest was disappointing. By hurrying through the vote of such a key motion without public discussion and behind closed doors, the Council has stifled an important debate in the face of climate change and clearly failed to respect the principles of democracy, thereby damaging the Council’s democratic reputation.
We call on the Council to deem the vote on the motion Agenda 13 null and void and bring the motion back to a future meeting so that it can be openly debated in public before a second vote is taken. We gather that this is possible if 24 members provide notice of a revised motion.
Question 1: Will the Chair please give their reasons for moving to an immediate vote on Agenda 13 without debate, rather than adjourning the vote to another occasion, which they could have chosen to do?
Question 2: We hope Dorset Council agrees that our energy and climate security is important enough to require a proper public debate; if so will the Council bring the motion back to a future meeting as this appears to us to be the most equitable way forward?