CEC met with Cllr. Georgia Gould for a review of how Camden is addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency following the Council meeting in October 2019. Georgia told us that there is a lot going on behind the scenes, as well as the Think & Do community engagement project that operated for 6 weeks in Kentish Town Road. Camden are planning to develop the Think & Do project further, which is good news.
We talked with Georgia about some of the things that are particularly concerning us:
PUBLIC INFORMATION CAMPAIGN
We discussed how to make more information available to people about what they can do that will make a difference, in terms of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and protecting biodiversity. We understand that a public information campaign will be implemented by Camden soon.
GOVERNANCE OF CAMDEN COUNCIL
Along with Extinction Rebellion, we are asking Camden to change the Council’s constitution to make addressing the Climate and Ecological Emergency a duty of the Council. This needs to be spelled out in the constitution so that Camden councillors and employees will know in future that all policies are to be developed in a way that does not worsen climate change and biodiversity loss, and to mitigate them wherever possible. This is being addressed by Camden, and we call on them to make the change as meaningful and clear as possible.
CAMDEN CLIMATE COMMISSION
CEC suggests that a borough-wide body be set up to address non-Council emissions, along the lines of the Leeds Climate Commission, which brings together key organisations and actors from across the city and from the public, private and third sectors. The aim would be to support the Council to deliver on its commitments, while also tackling operation and consumption emissions in the borough more widely. A commission would be independent, providing urgent strategic thinking to address the findings of the International Panel on Climate Change.
CAMDEN’S PROCUREMENT PROCESS
CEC is very concerned that nothing appears to have changed regards Camden’s procurement process, ie. letting of contracts for services to be provided by others. There is, for example, no mention of the Climate and Ecological Emergency in the documents recently bought to Cabinet in respect of the Highways Maintenance contract (Nov. 2019), despite there being many ways in which this contract could include measures to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, the tender scoring criteria for the Highways Maintenance contract allows for 10% of the score to allocated under ‘Social Value’, of which environmental issues are only a small part. There is therefore little benefit of a tendering contractor of addressing the emergency in their tender proposals.
CEC suggested that ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency (Mitigation and Adaption)’ has its own section in the scoring criteria, rather than being part of ‘social value’, with a total score of at least 10%. There may be other ways in which consideration of the emergency can be incorporated into the procurement process, and we would like to hear more about this.
We look forward to working closely with Georgia and Camden’s Sustainability team in the coming year. One of the main task for Camden will be formulating its Climate Action Plan, and we hope to be able to contribute this, with all member groups of CEC, to make it as effective as possible.