Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) has appointed its first climate emergency member champion to help the council meet its obligations to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The role, which will advise the cabinet and conduct research on climate impacts in the borough, will be filled by Councillor Neil Gwynne.

He will join a number of other champions, including the armed forces champion, the culture and heritage champion, and the equality and diversity champion, in guiding TVBC policy.

Cllr Gwynne thanked members for appointing him, saying that some authorities “ended up pigeon holing climate change into just one area.”

He said: “The authorities that are most effective at dealing with this recognise that in some respect it touches just about every portfolio. I look forward to working with [environmental portfolio holder] Cllr Johnson, but any member or officer who has got any concerns, thoughts, ideas about the action plan, I would very much welcome to hear from them.”

The council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and subsequently introduced a climate emergency action plan to outline the ways it aims to reach carbon neutrality.

Cllr Gwynne was a leading member in drafting the action plan, leading to him being chosen to advise the council going forward.

He will be appointed until June 2021, when all champions will need to be re-appointed or replaced by TVBC.

Cllr Phil North paid tribute to Cllr Gwynne, along with other champions in the borough council, as proving to be “very effective.”

He noted activities such as the armed forces champion, Cllr Nick Matthews, leading a review of the council’s commitments under the armed forces covenant, with recommendations to be presented to the overview and scrutiny committee shortly.

Following debate, Cllr Gwynne was appointed to the role with no dissent.