The new IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) third report joins the ever-growing pile of evidence that shows how serious the climate crisis is.

Politicians of every stripe are increasingly clear that London needs to reduce emissions fast – even boroughs such as Barnet that haven’t declared a “climate emergency” admit they need to be bolder, now.

The good news, though, is that taking action on climate locally isn’t just an urgent necessity – it’s nice too. The main power our councils have to control climate emissions is by tackling road transport emissions.

Ham & High: John and Ben are asking residents to send local election candidates a Climate Safe Streets emailJohn and Ben are asking residents to send local election candidates a Climate Safe Streets email (Image: London Cycling Campaign)

Doing so means rapidly enabling the majority of London motor vehicle journeys that could be done by other modes (says TfL analysis) to be done by other modes. Fewer folks driving the school run or for a basket of shopping means less congestion for those who need to drive, cleaner air, and less reliance on oil and the despots controlling our supply of it.

The changes we’ve seen to our streets already, during the pandemic and before, have been jarring, even difficult, for some – such changes are. But we can no longer pretend China or India should cut emissions first, while Camden and Haringey ignore ours; nor can we pretend government can insulate homes while we keep driving everywhere.

That’s why the London Cycling Campaign is calling for more #ClimateSafeStreets in every borough for the May 5 local elections. Because while we need international and national action, we also need local changes, or our kids will suffer dire consequences.

Ham & High: Neville, Monica and Emmet want more cycle tracks and school streetsNeville, Monica and Emmet want more cycle tracks and school streets (Image: London Cycling Campaign)

The mayor says we must cut car kilometres driven in London by over a quarter by 2030 (while also electrifying remaining cars), yet 95% of London’s roads are controlled by boroughs. Whoever is elected in May to lead Haringey, Camden, Islington etc will hold power for four crucial years, and must be committed to enabling many more of us to leave the car at home and cycle, walk and take public transport instead.

Send a Climate Safe Streets email to your council’s next leaders, asking them to deliver more cycle tracks, more quiet neighbourhoods and more school streets where kids can play. It takes just one minute and means local streets designed for people and planet rather than solely cars.

Please ask your next council leader for climate safe streets today:

John Chamberlain is coordinator of Camden Cycling Campaign and Ben House is coordinator of Haringey Cycling Campaign. Neville McKay (Camden Cycling Campaign) and Monica Chakraverty and Emmet McCallion (Haringey) are Climate Safe Streets champions.