Green Motion to improve Surrey’s investment strategy agreed

Surrey County Council has agreed changes to its multi-million pound property investment policy to ensure that it is environmentally sustainable and will help address the affordable homes crisis – thanks to a Motion tabled by Green County Councillor Jonathan Essex at a Council meeting on Tuesday 5th December.

The Motion won the backing of Councillors from across the Council chamber, following minor amendments proposed by Conservative Councillor Tim Oliver.

Cllr Essex said:

“When millions of pounds worth of public money and assets are being used in this way, strong rules are required to protect the environment and ensure social benefits.

“It is good news that the County Council has committed to provide genuinely affordable housing, so that public sector workers can afford to live here and provide the services we all depend on.

“And it’s great that this policy now also covers environmental standards, including reaffirming our existing commitment to protect Surrey’s Green Belt from development.

“I am pleased that my motion won support from across the Council chamber, and look forward to working with the County Council to ensure these standards are applied to all of our future investments, including the proposed development of new homes on public sector sites.”

The Motion, including Cllr Oliver’s amendment, now reads:

Council notes:

That on the 16 November 2017 the Council Overview & Budget Scrutiny committee agreed that our property investments should be guided by an environmental and social governance policy, agreed and confirmed in writing, as does our pension fund investments.

Council resolves:

That ESG policy be agreed with a commitment an aspiration that this should be applied to all of the property-related investment decisions made by Surrey County Council, both through its local authority property company Halsey Garton and by itself, including for its developments on publically owned sites in Surrey.
In addition, this Council:

  • reaffirms its commitment to provide genuinely affordable housing on suitable sites and in compliance with the requirements of the local planning authority;
  • that investments to reach BREEAM standards rating of Excellent or higher as appropriate for each application determined by the Local Planning Authority;
  • reaffirms our existing commitment to protect the green belt in accordance with both national and local policy; and
  • for these commitments to continue to be scrutinised in public.
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