Leading councillors in Allerdale have been urged to get serious when it comes to climate change.

Councillor Alan Tyson, who serves on the council’s climate change task and finish group, made the plea at Wednesday's meeting of the authority’s executive.

The council made a pledge to tackle the issue in September but stopped short of declaring a ‘climate emergency’ or of committing to making the authority carbon neutral by 2030.

Coun Tyson said the council’s strategy should more explicitly reflect the climate change motion adopted earlier this year.

“My concern, and that of other members of the climate change task and finish group, is a feeling that we need to show more urgency,” he said.

The Cockermouth councillor pointed the executive to a recent statement by the United Nations which said the world had backed itself into a dangerous corner.

Responding to his concerns, council leader Marion Fitzgerald pledged her total support to the work being done to tackle climate change.

She said: “The reason why council voted to pass this piece of research to the overview and scrutiny (in September) was because there was a real concern that if we had agreed to changes that evening, on the basis of a discussion in full council, we wouldn’t have had solid policies that we could embed into council practice by allowing more time to make sure that we do it properly.

“The task and finish group is working through the motion and we feel that it would perhaps be a mistake to put too much detail in our high level plan because that would then prevent us from being flexible to the report from overview and scrutiny when it comes in.”

Allerdale council has already recognised in its strategy the significant climate change issues faced and has pledged to reduce the authority’s carbon emissions.

The council also intends to influence people’s behaviour through its policies and look into using green technology in its operations.

The meeting heard that the council’s emerging business plan would be regularly reviewed, allowing the climate change proposals to be incorporated into the overall strategy.

“We were just concerned that by being too specific at this stage, we would prevent ourselves from adopting the policies as they come through overview and scrutiny,” Coun Fitzgerald added.

In September, Keswick councillor Sally Lansbury put forward a motion that would have seen the authority promise to make the borough carbon neutral by 2030, following the example of other councils in Cumbria and nationwide.

However, a majority of the elected members stopped short of this and instead backed a revised version, sparking calls of “shame on you” from the public gallery.

Deputy leader Mark Jenkinson proposed an amendment which committed to the emissions target only “where it does not negatively impact on our communities”.

And rather than committing immediately to make the promise, the council voted instead to have the overview and scrutiny panel look at how achievable the suggested actions were and come back with suggestions.