CEC makes deputation to Camden’s Culture and Environment Committee

CEC made a deputation to the committee, which is chaired by Cllr Awale Olad. The following councillors were present: Jenny Headlam-Wells, Nayra Bello O’Shanahan, Henry Newman, Tom Simon and Rishi Madlani.

See the webcast. The deputation is at 1 hour 16mins

The key points that we made were:

Business as usual will not deliver the change that is needed. Radical action needs to take place at many levels – individual, local, national and global. Local authorities cannot wait for national government to set and deliver more ambitious targets, they must act now, setting the example for individuals and national government to follow. Councils such as Camden can do so:

  1. Directly, because the choices the Council makes have direct impact on emissions.  Local authority policies affect planning, transport, and waste, which together account for 40% of UK emissions 
  2. Indirectly, through Camden’s leadership role within the community.

We delivered copies of CEC’s Action Plan and highlighted the importance of the following:

1    Camden should initiate a major programme of community engagement.  If this was any other time of crisis – war, epidemic – we would see posters on every street corner, alerting people to the dangers they face and telling them what they can do to protect themselves.  We would see mass mobilisation of the community.  This is a crisis and Camden should be making sure that everyone understands the scale of the challenge we face and what can be done to protect ourselves, our families and our community.   

2    We support the extensive consultation that Camden is undertaking through platforms such as Common Place and its Assembly. We look to the full Council meeting in October to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, setting a target of net zero carbon by 2030 and a significant improvement in biodiversity.  The Declaration needs to drive radical change across every aspect of Camden’s work. Every Council employee needs to understand how their work reduces emissions and protects biodiversity. Every head of department, councillor and cabinet member should have clear objectives that contribute to addressing the twin crises. We recommend the formation of a Climate and Biodiversity Crisis Working Group to bring together the senior officials and cabinet members across the council to ensure that the council’s budget, procurement practices and management procedures prioritise the twin crises.

3    We called on Camden to work with the Mayor’s office and neighbouring boroughs to ensure that Camden has the necessary legal powers and financial resources to act, lobbying central government directly where needed. By working together, we believe London boroughs could deliver the requisite transformation in the energy and transport infrastructure.

Questions from councillors were:

  • What do we think about Camden’s existing actions to date?
  • Economic levers required to decarbonise transport and heating
  • How to continue engagement after the Citizens’ Assembly, to continue to engage and build consent. 
  • Regards resources available to Camden to protect biodiversity
  • Regards the proposed dashboard of indicators

Cllr Adam Harrison thanked Climate Emergency Camden for attending the Committee, and Jo Macrae for sitting on the steering group for Citizens’ Assembly. He said that Camden’s priority will be drawing ideas from the Citizens’ Assembly to feed into Camden’s new Environment Plan, and that he thought that CEC’s Action Plan is constructive to that deliberation.

CEC’s deputation recommendations were accepted by the Committee.

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