OXFORD City Council is calling for swifter action on climate change to be taken, after a government report on the worldwide emergency was published.

The council, the first in the UK to hold a citizens assembly on climate change, has suggested a raft of measures for the UK government to adopt to tackle the problem.

This follows on the heels of the Committee on Climate Change's annual advisory report to the government, which details how the country is reducing carbon emissions.

While the council has urged faster action, the Green Party has criticised it for not doing enough on its own patch.

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The city council is calling on the government to:

• Focus on a green recovery from coronavirus

• End the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032 (the current deadline is 2035)

• Provide local government with funding to introduce more footpaths and segregated cycle lanes

• Launch a nationwide energy efficiency programme and provide councils with funding it carry it out

• Make changes to national policy to make homes and offices more energy efficient

The committee's report, published on Thursday last week (June 25), comes as work has begun on a series of measures, paid for by the taxpayer, which will aim to encourage cycling and walking as lockdown is eased, instead of taking the bus or car.

The prime minister has also pledged to spend public money on infrastructure to restart the economy after the pandemic.

The city council's deputy leader and cabinet member for a zero carbon Oxford, Tom Hayes said: “Ministers should take effective climate action to reboot our economy, recover from the pandemic, and rebuild our country as Zero Carbon Britain. With the UK hosting key United Nations climate talks next year, it has the chance to be a leader and earn the respect of the world."

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But Oxford Green councillor Dick Wolff said the pandemic had led to the delay of environmentally friendly initiatives.

Mr Wolff said: "The Climate Emergency motion, proposed by the Greens, was passed in January 2019. It took until the end of the year for the Council to convene a Citizen's Assembly and set up an internal Climate Emergency Review Group. But no decisions have yet been taken as a result."

He added: "The Low Emission Zone has been delayed, the planned move to make the council's operations 'carbon neutral' has been delayed, and a Local Plan has been passed that doesn't require new homes to be zero emissions for more than a decade."

"This is a case of 'all words' and very little action."

Mr Wolff's criticisms were denied by cabinet member Mr Hayes, who said it was the Labour group who proposed and passed plans for the climate assembly.

Mr Hayes added the citizen's assembly had taken part in Autumn last year, and the council cabinet has recently adopted 53 actions as a result of it.

This, he added, had led to extra funding being budgeted for climate measures in February.

30/06/20: This article has been updated to include a reply to Green party criticisms of Oxford City Council