Warwickshire County Council has long flaunted its ‘go green’ image, even declaring a climate emergency in 2019. The council has displayed a staunch stance on global warming for years, launching a £1 million community fund working to reduce carbon emissions around the country.
In their climate action plan for 2020-2025, the council states that they ‘will embed climate considerations into everything they do’ and will work towards ‘making carbon reduction everyone’s responsibility’. However, a recent press release from local climate organizations, including Stratford Climate Action, has threatened to shatter the council’s green credentials, drawing the public’s attention to the largely sceptical views of Councillor Peter Butlin.
Butlin is Councillor for Admirals and Cawston ward in Rugby, and is also deputy leader of the county council, holding an important position regarding managing the finance portfolio. As he’s under the spotlight for standing for re-election, his cynical views on the climate crisis have escaped nobody’s notice.
While the council has actively campaigned for widespread renewable energy usage, Butlin’s personal views do not seem to align with the council he heads. The public was quick to bring up some of the Councillor’s past tweets labelling wind power ‘environmentally harmful’ and making fastidious claims about it ‘rewarding the rich’. Some of his social media posts also largely reflect right-wing tropes, saying that green measures are on the fast track to making the UK a third world country. Butlin has also taken his bizarre views to press recordings and interviews, coming under heavy fire for statements such as ‘I have yet to see real evidence that man’s CO2 emissions are a climate driver’.
Councillor Jonathan Chilvers, who heads the Green Group at Warwickshire County Council, strongly disagrees with Butlin, saying that ‘his conservative colleagues should not be propping him up as Deputy Leader’. Whether the Tory group re-elects Butlin as Deputy Leader remains to be seen.