CEC’s letter to Council Leader Georgia Gould

Dear Georgia,

Many thanks for inviting Climate Emergency Camden to contribute to the proceedings at the recent Citizens’ Assembly.  We were delighted to have participated through the advisory group and through our respective presentations.

We welcome your commitment to delivering transformative change within the borough, informed by the outcomes of the Citizens’ Assembly, the CommonPlace consultation and wider engagement with business and major public institutions, such as UCL. As you know, we share Extinction Rebellion’s concerns around the Citizens Assembly: in an ideal world the CA would have been a longer and more thorough process. We look forward to reading the independent evaluations of the process which we think will be useful to inform similar exercises in the future.

As Camden thinks through the next steps, we thought it might be useful to offer some further thoughts in terms of process:

  • We were very pleased to hear that the outcome of the various consultation and engagement processes process will go beyond simply a new environment plan, but will rather result in a Climate Emergency Plan to be presented and discussed at the full Council meeting in October.  We feel strongly that the plan should address the ecological, as well as the climate, crisis.
  • We welcome the proposal put forward at the Citizens’ Assembly to put in place an independent scrutiny body to track the progress of the Council. We think its remit should extend to monitoring progress across the Borough more broadly: simply reducing the Council’s carbon and ecological footprint will not be enough, we have to take a whole of community approach.  This scrutiny body would be one way to maintain engagement with members of the CA, civil society and business groups in the lead up to the October meeting and afterwards. We would be happy to work with you and others to think through the terms of reference and governance of such a body.
  • We strongly agree with Farhana Yamin’s idea of creating a Think and Do Hub, bringing together the Council and key business/civil society groups to progress different big ideas. We believe this would be well worth exploring as a way to accelerate delivery of the radical and significant changes that are needed. 
  • It was encouraging to hear that as part of the Council’s response to the emergency you will be reviewing budget allocations. Again, it will be critical that this process is open and is subject to scrutiny by the proposed independent scrutiny body. As per our action plan, we also think it will be vital that change is reflected in the way in which the objectives of the senior team are set: each of whom should have a clear and explicit role in addressing the emergency. 
  • Finally, given your leadership role across London and within the LGA we would like to ask that as a cross-borough/authority discussions continue as to how best to respond to the emergency, and that you propose that this includes a way to involve civil society groups from across the capital. We would also urge the LGA to consider together what additional financial resources and legal powers are needed by local councils to tackle the emergency.

On behalf of CEC

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