THE local elections produced a great result for Labour, but I didn’t have time to celebrate because I was immediately involved in discussions with Independent councillors over who was going to be the next leader of the council.

Then I had to wait until May 22 for the meeting when I was elected leader with 43 votes for me and only 25 votes for the Conservative group leader, but I still didn’t have time to celebrate as I was busy with briefings and meetings to catch up on.

Now finally I can draw breath and appreciate the enormity of what has been achieved; the Conservatives who have ruled Cheshire East with large majorities since its inception in 2009 are no longer in power.

It may sound strange that my first act as leader was to give away power, but that is what has been done; all four of the council’s scrutiny committees will be chaired by Conservative councillors.

The scrutiny committees are supposed to be a check on the power of the leader and cabinet. Under the Conservatives all of the scrutiny committee chairs were held by Conservatives; so having a Conservative leader and Conservative committee chairs was like marking your own homework.

This abusive situation has now been changed and the Conservatives (now in opposition) will chair all of the scrutiny committees.

The council has also started a process of reviewing its constitution with a view to moving to a full committee system in 2020.

While the internal workings of the council are important, we must also look outwards and I am pleased that the council meeting unanimously passed the motion I put forward on climate change. I was pleased to see a commitment in Conservative election literature to make Cheshire East Council carbon neutral by 2025.

I was even more pleased to see that on May 1 Parliament approved a motion put forward by Jeremy Corbyn and declared an environment and climate emergency.

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our generation and for too long we have failed to rise to the challenge.

We can tackle climate change and win, but it needs to be addressed on an international scale, a national scale, a local scale and an individual scale.

Cheshire East Council and every Cheshire East resident has a part to play in that.

By and large we know what we have to do – we have to cut down on our energy usage; we have to use our cars less, cut down on traffic congestion, improve air quality and walk and cycle more and that’s good for our health as well as being good for the planet.

We have to eat less red meat – and that’s good for our health too.

We have to build better insulated houses that require less heating and we have to develop new technologies.

I believe that with the skill set of local residents, Cheshire East has an important part to play in developing green technologies.

Cheshire is renowned as a green county and I want to see Cheshire East as a beacon for others to follow and as a hub for new green technologies.

Tackling climate change will be like a golden thread running through my leadership of Cheshire East Council.

By acting together on climate change and showing leadership we can rebuild the reputation of politicians, rebuild our economy and safeguard planet Earth – our common home.

Sam Corcoran Leader Cheshire East