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Schools are desperate for help on eco issues

PUBLISHED: 10:52 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

Last September the Camden Sustainability Task Force sent a letter to the council s education chiefs suggesting ways to make schools more environmentally friendly, but so far there has been no reply. Perhaps they ve been a bit tied up with plans for the n

Last September the Camden Sustainability Task Force sent a letter to the council's education chiefs suggesting ways to make schools more environmentally friendly, but so far there has been no reply.

Perhaps they've been a bit tied up with plans for the new secondary school. But the risks of climate change leave us no time for delay. When you think how important this agenda is, and how important it is that our children learn to live low carbon, more sustainable lives, it's clear Camden's education department could do a lot more.

The Task Force, an all-party group of councillors set up after the May 2006 election, is concerned about climate change. Its mini-report on sustainable schools includes proposals for: separated cycle lanes to encourage parents and children to cycle to school; school boilers to be replaced with highly efficient combined heat and power systems that can provide energy hot water and electricity for the surrounding neighbourhood; an online knowledge transfer system to help schools with things like sustainable purchasing; and a revolving energy fund in which energy saving measures are invested and the money saved on energy bills goes back into the fund.

The mini-report also calls on the council to ensure that the new school in Swiss Cottage is zero carbon and to make climate change adaptation its core strategy.

With these things, schools are crying out for help which they're not getting at the moment. We had hoped our mini-report would help to focus minds but it seems to have disappeared down a black hole rather than acting as a framework for building a green future.

There is considerable potential to make major energy savings at our schools and to take forward the sustainability agenda, as schools like Eleanor Palmer have shown can be done by their fantastic work. But they need more help.

Conservative Cllr Andrew Mennear, with his background in the oil industry, might seem to be the ideal person for this but instead he and other Tories once again drag their feet.

This is despite the fact that a recent survey shows that 79 per cent of Camden residents are concerned about climate change.

It seems clear that the Tories are not taking climate change seriously and are failing to ensure that Camden Council provides the strong leadership on the environment that is so desperately needed.

Cllr Maya de Souza

(Green Party), Highgate Ward

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