'Government must fund councils to meet the climate emergency'

Dorothea Hackman (right) from Camden Civic Society, backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

Dorothea Hackman (right) from Camden Civic Society, backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill - Credit: Dorothea Hackman

Camden Civic Society is a campaigning charity, founded in 1963, covering the whole borough of Camden, encouraging people to become involved in shaping their surroundings.

We successfully opposed a box junction in Camden Town 50 years ago, but have had less progress with saving Euston communities from the worst of the destruction of High Speed 2.

Even so, our committees for air quality, open spaces and trees continues to engage, despite the dismal lack of outcomes. Perhaps matters will be better with Lendlease and the site development of Euston Station, when HS2 has built the track. Meanwhile, HS2 continues to destroy our trees and snarl our traffic, and does not yet have a sound plan for bringing trains into Euston. And of course HS2 is massively over budget, and unmotivated in a climate crisis, which will eclipse the Covid19 emergency.

The impending tragedy requires urgent action by national and local governments to reach the targets agreed internationally.

Responsibility cannot be pushed onto individuals, it is far too late for that. We have to stop manufacturing plastic, stop investing in fossil fuels and stop incinerating our waste. 

We need Camden Council to stop giving planning permission to developers and itself to demolish buildings. The carbon emission cost of newbuilds is too great for the planet to bear. Local governments need to retrofit their buildings with heat pumps and train people with new skills to do this. Central government need to fund local government for this.

The Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill needs MPs' support. The second reading is on September 10, so we need to overcome our elected dictatorship and get this legislation agreed. The hollow words of the G7 need serious commitment at COP26 in the autumn to avert the tragedy awaiting equatorial lands that will see mass refugee movement – more than our foodbanks will be able to cope with.

The CEE Bill will require the UK to achieve climate and nature targets; give the secretary of state a duty to implement a strategy to achieve those targets; establish a climate and nature assembly to advise in creating that strategy; give duties to the Committee on Climate Change and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee regarding the strategy and targets.

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Our children, who will inherit the mess we have made, are holding a children's lobby of parliament on September 8, from 4.30-6pm. Get involved in campaigning for climate justice.

Dorothea Hackman is head of Camden Civic Society.