Agenda item

Notice of Motion

To consider any Notices of Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

Ash Die Back

 

Ash Die Back is a non-native invasive fungus that presents a major threat to trees across the UK.  At its current rate, the disease is predicted to kill over 80% of Ash across the UK.  The economic costs are predicted to run into the billions, and it will take decades for the Ash population to recover, if recovery is possible.

 

Trees can survive Ash Die Back, but year on year infections will eventually kill it.  The rate of loss of Ash across the UK currently outweighs the rate of woodland creation and tree planting.

 

This Council notes that:

    In 2015 Worcester City Council was made aware of Ash Die Back within the city.

    Now a significant number of the trees across Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods are under threat from Ash Die Back.

    Without effective management some or all of the woods may need to have access restricted for safety reasons.

    Forestry Commission and Forest Research Agency estimates that around 5,000 Ash trees on Worcester city council land are likely to be affected by the disease.

 

This Council believes that:

    Public access to all woodland including Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods is vital for the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of residents and visitors and must, therefore, be maintained.

    These are important ecological sites which need to be carefully and sensitively managed.

 

This Council therefore resolves to ask the Environment Committee to consider adopting a range of measures to manage Ash Die Back including:

    Rapidly adopt and begin to implement an action plan using the Woodland Trust’s template;

    Identify potential sources of funding to manage Ash Die Back across all Council owned sites, including Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods and to support a programme of replanting in accordance with good woodland management;

    Maximise the value of felled wood and reinvest the money from the sale of that wood to offset the cost of management;

    Raise public awareness of the need for woodland management throughout Worcester for the benefit of public health;

    Explore the feasibility of an Adopt a Tree scheme for residents to directly support the replanting of affected woodland;

    Work with nature organisations and landowners in the city and across our boundaries to ensure that best practice and knowledge on Ash Die Back management is applied and promoted across all of our treasured green spaces.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Murray

 

Ceasefire in Gaza

 

Council:

 

(a)   (i) deeply regrets and condemns the tragic loss of civilian life in both the Hamas terrorist attacks on 7th October and the ensuing Israeli bombardment of Gaza;

 

(ii) condemns Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all other forms of racism that are being propagated by those looking to divide our communities and who are seeking to dismantle any hope for a peaceful settlement.

 

Council notes:-

 

(b)   (i)  that East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza are illegally occupied by Israel; and that Gaza has been subject to 16 years of blockade;

 

(ii)  that the Israeli government has been withholding essential resources from Gaza and what UN Experts have described as “destroying or damaging homes, hospitals, markets and UN Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA)” and that Amnesty International has “documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes”;

 

(iii)  that under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as certain acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” and that, under Article I, the UK has confirmed that genocide is a crime under international law, which it undertakes to prevent and to punish;

 

(iv) the UK, at the UN Security Council on 18th October 2023, refused to vote for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza; and

 

(v) Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’tselem, and the South African government recognise that the state of Israel is enacting a system of apartheid;

 

(vi) that these horrific events have had a huge effect on many Worcester residents, in particular those with relatives and friends in the region.

 

Council therefore resolves to:-

 

(c)  (i)  call upon the UK Government to:-

(i)  call for an immediate ceasefire and to vote for this at the UN;

(ii) cease all arms sales to Israel and end military aid for Israel; and

(iii) call on Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians;

 

(ii)  request that the Chief Executive submits this motion to the UK Government; and

 

(iii) request that the Communities Committee consider whether the Council should actively support the work of Worcester Palestine Friendship.

 

Proposed by: Councillor Laurenson

 

 

Minutes:

The Council considered Notices of Motion submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 8.

 

Ash Die Back

 

Ash Die Back is a non-native invasive fungus that presents a major threat to trees across the UK.  At its current rate, the disease is predicted to kill over 80% of Ash across the UK.  The economic costs are predicted to run into the billions, and it will take decades for the Ash population to recover, if recovery is possible.

 

Trees can survive Ash Die Back, but year on year infections will eventually kill it.  The rate of loss of Ash across the UK currently outweighs the rate of woodland creation and tree planting.

 

This Council notes that:

    In 2015 Worcester City Council was made aware of Ash Die Back within the city.

    Now a significant number of the trees across Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods are under threat from Ash Die Back.

    Without effective management some or all of the woods may need to have access restricted for safety reasons.

    Forestry Commission and Forest Research Agency estimates that around 5,000 Ash trees on Worcester city council land are likely to be affected by the disease.

 

This Council believes that:

    Public access to all woodland including Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods is vital for the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of residents and visitors and must, therefore, be maintained.

    These are important ecological sites which need to be carefully and sensitively managed.

 

This Council therefore resolves to ask the Environment Committee to consider adopting a range of measures to manage Ash Die Back including:

    Rapidly adopt and begin to implement an action plan using the Woodland Trust’s template;

    Identify potential sources of funding to manage Ash Die Back across all Council owned sites, including Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods and to support a programme of replanting in accordance with good woodland management;

    Maximise the value of felled wood and reinvest the money from the sale of that wood to offset the cost of management;

    Raise public awareness of the need for woodland management throughout Worcester for the benefit of public health;

    Explore the feasibility of an Adopt a Tree scheme for residents to directly support the replanting of affected woodland;

    Work with nature organisations and landowners in the city and across our boundaries to ensure that best practice and knowledge on Ash Die Back management is applied and promoted across all of our treasured green spaces.

 

The proposer, Councillor Murray spoke in support of the Motion, which was seconded by Councillor Jagger.

 

The following amendment was proposed by Councillor Lewing:

 

Delete all words after “This Council believes that:” and replace with:

 

    Public access to all woodland including Tolladine, New Plantation and Warndon Woods is vital for the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of residents and visitors and must, therefore, be maintained.

    These are important ecological sites which need to be carefully and sensitively managed.

This Council therefore resolves to ask the Environment Committee to continue its work on Ash Dieback for the city ensuring the necessary funding and resources are in place.

 

Councillor Lewing spoke in support of the amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Cookson.

 

Other Members spoke on the amendment, where a range of views were expressed across the Chamber. On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried.

 

Councillor Cookson then proposed a further amendment, as follows:

 

Add the following words: “And further asks the Managing Director to formally write to DEFRA to request appropriate financial support for all affected Councils.”

 

The further amendment was seconded by Councillor Lewing. On being put to the vote, the further amendment was carried.

 

The Council then proceeded to vote on the Motion, as amended. It was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to:

 

1.   request the Environment Committee to continue its work on Ash Dieback for the city ensuring the necessary funding and resources are in place; and

 

2.   ask the Managing Director to formally write to DEFRA to request appropriate financial support for all affected Councils.

 

Ceasefire in Gaza

 

Council:

 

(i) deeply regrets and condemns the tragic loss of civilian life in both the Hamas terrorist attacks on 7th October and the ensuing Israeli bombardment of Gaza;

 

(ii) condemns Islamophobia, antisemitism, and all other forms of racism that are being propagated by those looking to divide our communities and who are seeking to dismantle any hope for a peaceful settlement.

 

Council notes:-

 

(i)  that East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza are illegally occupied by Israel; and that Gaza has been subject to 16 years of blockade;

 

(ii)  that the Israeli government has been withholding essential resources from Gaza and what UN Experts have described as “destroying or damaging homes, hospitals, markets and UN Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA)” and that Amnesty International has “documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes”;

 

(iii)  that under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as certain acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,

ethnical, racial or religious group” and that, under Article I, the UK has confirmed that genocide is a crime under international law, which it undertakes to prevent and to punish;

 

(iv) the UK, at the UN Security Council on 18th October 2023, refused to vote for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver lifesaving aid to millions in Gaza; and

 

(v) Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, B’tselem, and the South African government recognise that the state of Israel is enacting a system of apartheid;

 

(vi) that these horrific events have had a huge effect on many Worcester residents, in particular those with relatives and friends in the region.

 

Council therefore resolves to:-

 

(i)  call upon the UK Government to (i) call for an immediate ceasefire and to vote for this at the UN; (ii) cease all arms sales to Israel and end military aid for Israel; and (iii) call on Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians;

 

(ii)  request that the Chief Executive submits this motion to the UK Government; and

 

(iii)  request that the Communities Committee consider whether the Council should actively support the work of Worcester Palestine Friendship.

 

The proposer, Councillor Laurenson, spoke in support of the Motion, which was seconded by Councillor Piotrowski.

 

The following amendment was proposed by Councillor Denham:

 

This Council:

(i)  regrets and condemns the tragic loss of civilian life in both the Hamas terrorist attacks on 7th October and the ensuing Israeli bombardment of Gaza;

(ii) condemns lslamophobia, antisemitism, and all other forms of racism that are being propagated by those looking to divide our communities and who are seeking to dismantle any hope for a peaceful settlement;

(iii) believes that no state is above international law or convention.

 

Council notes that:

(i)   we welcome the news of an agreement to release the first hostages and to have a substantial humanitarian pause in hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

(ii) we call on all remaining hostages to be released and all sides to uphold this agreement.

(iii) we join calls for a substantial humanitarian pause alongside  our international partners.

(iv) Hamas should release all the hostages immediately. But we of course support the possibility of extending the pause, to allow the release of further hostages and extended humanitarian relief.

(v)  we must now ensure this pause is used to tackle the urgent and unacceptable humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

(vi) these horrific events have had a huge effect on many Worcester residents, particularly those with relatives and friends in the region.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

(i) call upon the UK Government to:

a.   use its international  influence to ensure that there must be immediate access to aid, food, water, fuel and medicine to ensure hospitals function and lives are saved. Aid and fuel need to enter at the necessary volumes to meet civilians needs and be distributed widely and safely across the whole of Gaza.

b.   put pressure on all parties that they must also use the space this pause creates to take more steps on a path towards a lasting ceasefire rather than an escalation of violence.

c.   work to help start a process that ensures Israelis feel safe and secure from terror and that innocent Palestinians, who have endured far too much death and destruction, can return home and rebuild their lives free from bombardment and Hamas control.

d.   use its role as a leading  member of the UN to ensure that all allegations  regarding contraventions of international law and/or convention should be investigated by the international community.

e.   actively support a two-state solution in the Middle East. In recent years the international community has treated the two-state solution as a slogan rather than a serious strategy. That must now change.  There can be no peace without the reaffirming and recognition of Israel's  right to exist alongside a sovereign, independent Palestinian state.

 

(ii) request that the Managing Director submits this motion to the UK Government; and

(iii) request that Communities Committee consider how the council can support the region through remembrance and practical assistance.

 

Councillor Allcott raised a point of order, stating that the amendment negated the original Motion. The Monitoring Officer advised that it did not.

 

Councillor Denham spoke in support of the amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Lamb, who also spoke in support. Other Members spoke on the amendment, where a range of views were expressed across the Chamber. On being put to the vote, the amendment was lost.

 

The Council then proceeded to vote on the original Motion, as submitted. It was agreed and

 

RESOLVED: That the Council agree to:

 

1.   call upon the UK Government to call for an immediate ceasefire and to vote for this at the UN; cease all arms sales to Israel and end military aid for Israel; and call on Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians;

 

2.   request that the Managing Director submits this motion to the UK Government; and

 

3.   request that the Communities Committee consider whether the Council should actively support the work of Worcester Palestine Friendship.