So the dust has settled from the EU and local elections. Here in Camden Labour party had a resounding win, grabbing 40 out of the 54 council seats. This is up ten seats from the 2010 elections. The big losers have been the Lid-Dems who are down to just one councillor, who as recently as 2009 were the biggest party. So what should we expect from a Labour council on the environment. Of their five manifesto promises – one has an environment flavour: “Camden Labour will make Camden the best borough in London for cyclists and pedestrians”. The new exec member – currently Phil Jones – for Sustainability, Transport and Planning hasn’t yet been announced.
The Greens held on to their one seat in Highgate with Sian Berry taking over from the dynamic Maya de Souza who worked tirelessly on the sustainability task force, with the transition town groups and lobbied to improve council homes energy efficiency.
The Euro elections were of course dominated by UKIP. UKIP are unusual in having an ‘anti’ environment manifesto. They threaten to axe the 2008 Climate Change Act (luckily nothing to do with the EU elections). They go on to criticise the Large Combustion Directive – which is the reason why no one talks about acid rain anymore – and the EU renewables targets – which is preparing the EU for the post fossil fuel world.
It’s voting time – on Thursday we have the opportunity to send a message to Camden council about the issues we care about. All the local candidates will be out campaigning this weekend so take the opportunity to quiz them on sustainability issues to show that these are important to you and vote for the one who you trust to take these sustainability seriously.
To help you we’ve prepared a different newsletter today. Instead of a listing of events, we’ve prepared a series of commitments which are want to see the candidates committing to, we are calling it our manifesto for sustainability.
The commitments have been defined with lots of input from different local groups. As an individual, you may feel more strongly about some than about others, but this is our opportunity to show a collective concern about climate change and make the politicians in Camden take notice.
Manifesto for sustainability
- Continued commitment to the two carbon emission reduction targets of 27% by 2017 and 40% by 2020 from 2005 levels. Some specific provisions include:
- Actively lobby central government and other parties for the ongoing decarbonisation of the grid by writing to both local MPs and responding to any formal consultation opportunities.
- Identify new CHP opportunities and provide guidance & support to enable them & others that in the pipeline to come to fruition.
- Invest in best opportunities identified in the mapping of the study into boroughwide secondary heat source mapping.
- Continued promotion (through Council networks) and support (with people, advice etc) of Superhomes and other opportunities for people to touch & feel an eco-friendly house.
- Continued focus on fuel poverty focusing energy efficiency measures in low income households.
- Develop an ongoing engagement strategy on a street by street basis through use of infra-red imagery and other similar ideas.
- Publish useable guidance on energy efficiency within heritage buildings which allows some appropriate relaxation for the rules for certain energy efficiency measures such as solid wall insulation taking into account fully the recent consultation responses.
- A commitment to supporting businesses who reuse waste, particularly electronic waste by:
- Identifying potential space for such businesses to be located close by Regis road either on a pop up on regular basis.
- Ensuring the North London Waste Authority procurement contract for waste disposal include targets around overall waste reduction (through reuse & repair) as well as recycling
- Include provision for electronic testing & repair in tender for give & take days
- Evaluate other solutions such as a drop in centre for waste or quarterly pick up days
- A continued commitment to the transport hierarchy remaining as is with walking, cycling & public transport being the key areas of focus
- Support additional car free days, targeting one per quarter.
- Put continued pressure on TFL to increase pedestrian crossing times at key junctions through public letters, minuted meetings etc
- A commitment to the actions identified by the AQ working group including lobbying, awareness and on freight & construction emissions. Hold a follow up air quality summit on an annual basis
- A commitment to regular face to face consultation & communication with local voluntary organisations & individuals (not just businesses) through quarterly meetings with a selection of representatives from such groups (not just businesses) on a pre-scheduled basis
- To ensure any changes and updates to Camden Council’s planning documents reflect the principles of sustainability and adequate environmental protection
Thanks and happy voting,