TOWN councillor Andy Fitchet publicly announced his resignation from the authority last week, but not before playing a role in the passing of a pair of motions at last Thursday’s full council meeting.

After tabling a motion on councillor attendance, the soon to be ex-member of the council seconded a proposal to offset the town council’s carbon footprint and support the planting of trees in the area.

The motion was eventually passed with seven of ten councillors present voting in favour it following a debate over the details of the project.

It was proposed that a payment of £90.30 – determined using the Verified Carbon Standard assessment – be made to Basingstoke firm Carbon Footprint. The company will then plant trees throughout the south east to offset the town council’s carbon emissions.

Councillor David Coole suggested a more local group be used for the tree planting.

He said: “Any carbon footprint offsetting of trees I would suggest should be carried out by Andover Trees United (ATU) with the trees planted locally.

“I would like to see perhaps the town council encouraging Carbon Footprint to persuade ATU to become a tree planting partner and therefore we can ensure the trees Andover town council are planting are actually in and around Andover.”

In response, Cllr Rowles noted that that ATU is currently not a registered planter on the Carbon Footprint scheme and that the group might be better off applying for one of the town council’s grants, so as to avoid any third-party involvement.

Cllr Coole also claimed that the motion “should not be proceeding” in the first place as further research into the project had not yet been carried out and the public had not been consulted. Both of those suggestions had been raised at a previous meeting.

However Cllr Fitchet argued that only “a climate change denier or a total a**e” would suggest a public consultation was required over the issue of offsetting carbon.

He added: “We have seen the devastating things that are going on in the Amazon rain forest where the lungs of the earth are literally burning.

“So whether this plants a massive conifer or 25,000 trees, at least we our doing our bit and doing what we can and we can say we are doing what we are able to do in the current circumstances.

“If we go out to public consultation to ask for the need to do this, the answer will come back yes but we will have wasted three months and also we would have released another 21 tonnes into the atmosphere not doing anything. We are not a big producer but we are doing what we can.”

The motion was eventually passed with seven votes in favour and three abstentions.

Cllrs Rowles, Fitchet, Victoria Harber, Kevin Farrer, Alison Watts, Michael James and Rebecca Meyer voted in favour.

Cllrs David Treadwell and David and Joanne Coole abstained.