Karen Buck: ‘Westminster Council shouldn’t have blocked CS11’

Karen Buck MP at the protest outside Queens Park nursery. Picture: Polly Hancock

Karen Buck MP at the protest outside Queens Park nursery. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Councils need to compromise on concerns over major infrastructure projects rather than just seeking to block them, the MP for Westminster North Karen Buck has said.

Speaking to the Wood&Vale about the climate crisis, she bemoaned the cancellation of the CS11 cycle route which was set to run through her constituency.

She said: "I was working on CS11 when Boris Johnson was mayor, when his team was trying to get it through. We don't want to build something that diverts traffic onto residential streets and the design needs to be thought through very carefully. But we need to find a way rather than saying no."

Ms Buck, who was a Westminster councillor before being elected to parliament in 1997, said councils can also do a lot more to try and change behaviour.

"What would be really good is to make sure we don't have large numbers of car parking spaces in new developments. At the moment you have spaces that are half empty. Build it into the planning processes, especially as we have to build more housing."

Ms Buck, 61, said the climate was the "single biggest issue that faces us," and added she was "very concerned", especially as a mother.

She praised the then Labour government for passing the Climate Change Act in 2008, which committed the UK to cutting greenhouse gas levels by 80 per cent by 2050. "It was a very radical piece of legislation. Obviously we've now going for it in terms of zero carbon but that set the way," she said.

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The MP also criticised Tory governments for not thinking far enough to tackle it.

She said: "The fact is they are worse than we are in resisting change or taking decisions that will have an impact in the short term, for long-term benefits.

"Setting the targets is the relatively easy part. It is about taking the concrete steps to get there. One thing that's central for me is the Green New Deal. Instead of seeing it as an environmental issue it has to be understood in terms of economic and social policy, training, and creating jobs.

"I do carbon offset, I think about how I move about and travel. I don't drive and I have given up meat more or less. But I'm not perfect.

"Lifestyle's only part of it - governments nationally and internationally have to set the framework."