Wakefield Council to hire £127k a year climate change boss

Wakefield Council will pay just over £127,000 a year to a new senior manager hired to lead its approach to climate change.

Thursday, 3rd September 2020, 12:30 pm

The local authority says the creation of the job will help it to meet its 2030 carbon neutral target, though one critic questioned the amount of money involved.

The role will be funded by axing another management post, which is currently vacant and has the same salary.

The council made tackling climate change its number one priority last year and cooled off on plans to build a new link road after criticism from Extinction Rebellion.

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A currently vacant senior post at the council will be scrapped to fund the new role.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of councillors on Wednesday, the authority's leader Denise Jeffery said the move was part of an ongoing restructure.

She said: "We're looking at making changes across the council. Because of our real interest and effort in climate change we want to create a new director for communities, environment and climate change.

"It won't cost us any more money but it will strengthen our agenda for tackling climate change."

Wakefield's Conservative group refused to back the move put forward by the council's ruling Labour party, however.

The UK experienced its hottest August day since 2003 last month.

Opposition leader Nadeem Ahmed said the impact of coronavirus meant now was "not the right time" to make the appointment.

He said: "Although climate change is important, I feel at this moment in time we should be looking at job creation and alleviating issues such as poverty, employment and education."

"It's the wrong priority and the wrong conversation to have at the moment and I think that's the view of people in this district."

The authority's sole Lib Dem councillor Tom Gordon backed the appointment but suggested the council review the post's salary, pointing out it was "just shy" of the Prime Minister's £150,000 pay packet.

Labour members said the amount involved is in line with similar posts at other councils.

Local Democracy Reporting Service