'I want to see a massive expansion in canopy cover in Haringey'

Cllr Mike Hakata would like to see Haringey announce a massive expansion in canopy cover

Cllr Mike Hakata would like to see Haringey announce a massive expansion in canopy cover - Credit: André Langlois

It is an enormous honour and privilege to serve Haringey residents at a time of unprecedented challenges and change, even more so to be given the responsibility of overseeing our environmental and climate commitments.

In 2019 the council declared a Climate Emergency with the bold and necessary ambition of becoming a net-zero borough by 2041. This statement of intent must be matched by action. In order to hit the target we must over-reach in our ambitions. In the first few weeks of taking on the role we announced our new Community Carbon Fund (going live later this year) whereby local groups can submit proposals for carbon reduction projects.

We have also announced our first net-zero council house development. We must ensure that all our developments follow this precedent as well as demanding stringent directions in our local plan for private developers to do the same. We will begin retrofitting our existing council homes and are exploring the rollout of a distributed energy network, producing sustainable energy locally. 

Thursday 27th May 2021. Haringey Council AGM. Photo: David Mirzoeff

Cllr Mike Hakata is tackling the climate emergency - Credit: David Mirzoeff

By the end of this year, we will have 26 school streets (from just one last year) as part of our Streets for People project.

We are rolling out three large low-traffic neighbourhoods following a trailblazing engagement and co-design process.

We are perfecting our existing cycle lanes and will be constructing many more over the coming year. We want this to be a walking, cycling and bussing borough with schemes prioritising areas of greatest need. We will be expanding our team to meet this ambition.

We will also be expanding our Tree and Conservation team and I would like to see us announce a massive expansion in canopy cover over the next five-year period.

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This summer we will be piloting alternatives to herbicides with the aim of making Haringey pesticide-free. Alongside this we are looking at creating a network of wildflower meadows as part of our biodiversity drive.

We cannot do this alone of course. To this end we are developing a framework that enables real democratic participation and ownership. If this is not a shared endeavour it will be a failed endeavour.

Cllr Mike Hakata is Haringey Council cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency and deputy leader of the council.