Councillors won’t switch to an online system of accessing and downloading agendas, at least for now.

Weymouth Town Council has agreed not to introduce a new system, which cuts out the use of paper, due to its cost.

However, one councillor reminded members that they agreed to declare a climate emergency earlier this year.

A report put before councillors said the cost of sending email and hard copies of agendas costs the town council just under £1,500 a year.

Meanwhile, the new system provided by Mod Gov, which would allow councillors to automatically download, view and annotating meeting papers, would cost £9,500 in the first year and £7,750 thereafter.

Jane Biscombe, the town clerk said: “I felt it was timely to bring something in front of you so you’re aware of the costs associated with it should you be minded to specify a budget in the draft budget for 2021, which will be coming before you in November.

“We have scoped it out with Mod Gov, who are really the only provider of such a service for local governments. The costs are in front of you, but I recommend this is something looked at a later date when we’ve had more opportunity to make sure we can meet the equalities implications, not everyone is able to read off a screen. Other councils that run such a system do provide devices to councillors along with a full IT backup and support network and that is not something the council does at present, so my recommendation to you is to continue with the combined email and hard copy despatch and to look at this at a later date.

“We’re always willing to take members off the email circulation list if you no longer wish to receive a hard copy. And we can support you in developing your IT capabilities and make sure you have the right device for you if you do want to move towards the paperless way of working.”

Cllr Ryan Hope said: “I was a little bit shocked to see the finances around this; £9,500 for year one and just over £7,500 each year after that.

“Why are we looking at an app and why we can’t we continue to email out pdf files.

“We declared a climate emergency we should be looking at reducing paper.

“I think it would be good to bounce this in the direction of finance and governance for them to look for a way forward on this and promote paperless for this council in the next year.” Councillors agreed to continue with the current system, but they will look at working towards going paperless in the future if councillors become more confident and able to work electronically.