Camden’s Climate Action Plan

On 2nd July London Borough of Camden launched its Climate Action Plan, which will run for the next 5 years. Read the plan here

Climate Emergency Camden has contributed to the development of the plan and are pleased that it has finally been delivered. At the launch event, Finnian Murtagh spoke on behalf of CEC: 

Camden Climate Action Plan – Climate Emergency Camden response

Climate Emergency Camden welcomes the plan. It has been a long haul, demanding energy and leadership from officials and councillors of all parties, as well as support from business, academia and local communities.

Camden Council has been pioneering and we encourage you to continue to show leadership in this area, not just in the Borough, but across London and more broadly with local authorities across the UK.

The context in which this Plan is being launched could not be more difficult. The Covid-19 crisis has been painful and difficult for many people, deepening further existing inequalities and exposing others. The financial costs to the Council have been tremendous. There is a risk, then, that the energy and commitment that we have seen over the past 18 months is dissipated as everyone tries to respond to the newest crisis immediately before us, rather than the slower burn, but much more dangerous crisis of climate breakdown and mass extinction.

We argue that now is not the moment to slow down on this agenda. It’s the moment to double down on it. Not only are the causes and consequences of these multiple crises interlinked, but delivering a greener recovery will bring a host of co-benefits, including to the most excluded in our Borough.

Three points we’d like to make:

On governance and accountability, Camden has rightly committed to making the borough Zero Carbon by 2030. We all know this is considerably important, but it is also considerably difficult. To reach the required reduction in our carbon emissions, everyone of us will have to reduce our carbon footprint to one tenth of our current levels. Holding ourselves to account for that will mean setting hard targets and milestones, and making sure that we start to make big changes now, not deferring the pain. We would like to see the Council develop and publish a series of milestones and targets to measure the delivery of the vision set out in the plan. We would also welcome further detail on the proposed governance structure for the plan, building on the constitutional shifts already agreed. We would also like to better understand how citizens will remain involved in supporting and scrutinising progress.

We would also like to better understand how the Climate Action Plan will be nested in Camden’s wider vision for renewal post-Covid. We underscore the vital importance of delivering an ambitious programme of retrofitting, which has unique potential in terms of job creation and reduction in fuel poverty while also targeting the major source of carbon emissions in the Borough. This is the moment to commit to divest from fossil fuels within the next 5 years and to ensure the Council’s investments and pension fund help to drive, rather than undermine recovery locally and globally through responsible investment. We believe this is also the moment for a fundamental review of the way that Council budgets are used. It’s great to see such positive action happening to make safer, healthier streets: we hope this marks the beginning of a long term shift in way that Council budget for roads are used, refocusing them on making public spaces easier to navigate on foot and by bike. We would also like to see housing budgets overhauled to ensure that they accelerate the shift to a low carbon future. Most immediately, Camden should press pause on the Edmonton incinerator project which is incompatible with Camden Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Declaration, its Climate Action Plan, and current efforts to build back better and greener. It is also a terrible waste of scarce resources at this very difficult time.

Finally, this is not just a Plan for the Council, it is our Plan. Collaboration is all important – only by working together by bringing people from all walks of life on board can we achieve these tough targets. We’ve seen a big shift in terms of the Council becoming more open and accessible, and adopting collaborative ways of working. But there is more to be done. Everyone will have to play their part, and that means mass mobilisation of the public through active communications and engagement, and actively investing in partnerships to make stuff happen. Help us to help! We would love to see Camden Climate Alliance become much more visible, enabling businesses to play a bigger role in helping to address the climate crisis and citizens to hold them to account when they do not.

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