Wokingham offers to plant 250,000 trees: Tories called hypocrites
A historic commitment to plant 250,000 trees was agreed in Wokingham, a full YEAR after his proposal.
But the Tory adviser who proposed the decision has been accused of hypocrisy.
The pledge to plant 250,000 trees was presented in a motion by Conservative Councilor Gregor Murray (Norreys), executive member for shows.
Cllr Murray first proposed the motion in November 2020, but it was only voted on at a plenary council meeting on November 18 of this year.
The motion also involves the borough council seeking âTree Cities of the Worldâ accreditation, organizing an annual borough tree celebration and planting a Covid-19 commemorative wood in honor of more than 300 residents who lost their lives due to the pandemic.
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In a vote, Cllr Murray’s motion was adopted with the support of 43 councilors. Only Cllr Jenny Cheng (Conservative, South Lake) opposed, with Borough Mayor Cllr Keith Baker (Conservative, Coronation) abstaining.
When it finally came to the vote, Cllr Murray said he was voting âvery proudlyâ for his motion, a year after proposing it.
But the Conservatives have been criticized for being late and hypocritical about the motions, which can be moved by any councilor and voted on as long as they are seconded by a colleague.
Cllr Clive Jones (Liberal Democrats, Hawkedon), opposition leader at Wokingham Borough Council, said: The Conservatives never allow it, and it is totally undemocratic.
âLook what happened with cllr Shirley Boyt’s dual-use trash can movement. ”
Cllr Boyt (Labor, Bulmershe & Whitegates) brought forward a motion to replace all trash cans with dual-use and recycling trash cans in September, but it was rejected by Conservative advisers.
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Cllr Jones continued, âCllr Murray used intemperate language and launched into a moody speech that his motion was not encrypted.
âYet his motion to plant 250,000 trees made little mention of the costs, and there should be.
âHe made so much fuss about the lack of costs at previous board meetings.
âThere seems to be one rule for the Conservatives and another for everyone. It is extremely hypocritical.
However, cllr Jones admitted that he and his fellow Liberal Democrats supported the âtree cities of the worldâ motion.
Cllr Jones added: âI was happy to vote for this, I understand we don’t always know where all the money will come from, but they could have provided more details.
âBut in principle, we are in favor of it. And maybe they can be more ambitious and plant 300,000 trees should be planted as well. ”
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Reacting to the charge of hypocrisy, Cllr Murray said: “We did not reach the motion at council meetings because the opposition continually delayed most motions by asking endless pointless questions that waste time – then criticize Tory advisers when they dare to ask their own questions.
âIndeed, since the motion first appeared on the agenda, Liberal, Labor and Independent advisers have submitted nearly three-quarters of all questions, even though they have less than half the number advisers.
âThis despite the fact that the Conservative group has been open to withholding questions in full council and bringing them to one of the many committee meetings the council holds, in order to free up time.
âThe Tree Cities of the World motion actually had Â£ 300,000 in funding from the Woodland Trust – but if they thought it wasn’t costed, why did they support it and why did Cllr Jones proposed to support it?
âAs I identified at the time, replacing all of the borough’s bins as requested by Cllr Boyt would have cost council millions of pounds.
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âUnlike the Tree Cities of the World motion, Cllr Boyt’s motion had no other source of funding behind it.
“And it was rejected on the basis of cost, while stressing that the opposition has not checked with officers how much taxpayers should pay for a political coup by Labor and the Liberal Democrats.”
“This is just not responsible and shows why Liberal Democrats and Labor cannot be trusted to lead the council.”
Cities that have already received Tree Cities of the World status are Madrid, San Francisco, New York, Paris and Milan.