‘Treat this as the emergency it is’: Camden Council adopts ‘ambitious’ climate action plan but XR says it ‘lacks teeth’

Cllr Adam Harrison. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Adam Harrison. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Camden Council has officially adopted what it’s called a “bold” climate action plan, which will see every decision the council make evaluated against its environmental impact and whether or not it mitigates the climate emergency.

But as the town hall’s cabinet backed the plan, Extinction Rebellion Camden’s (XR Camden) Dorothea Hackman said it “is very colourful and accessible but it lacks teeth and targets”.

Ms Hackman also criticised the plan to continue with the North London Heat and Power project, which will see a new incinerator built in Edmonton to serve seven north London boroughs including Camden.

Cllr Adam Harrison (Lab, Bloomsbury) – who leads the town hall’s environment work – said he didn’t “think XR Camden had got it quite right”, saying the plan followed local and national policy and was backed by the mayor of London.

FOLLOW THE HAM&HIGH ON FACEBOOK TO JOIN THE DISCUSSIONThe climate action plan – which was subject to public consultation earlier in 2020, involves quickly implementable measures like ditching single-use plastic from the council’s 5 Pancras Square HQ, along with longer-term plans like moving to a 100 per cent carbon neutral council vehicle fleet, piloting fossil-fuel heating in council housing with a view to phasing out fossil-fuel heating by 2030.

Cllr Harrison added the council had a “strong legacy” of making environmental changes and said: “It’s worth thinking about this very much in the sense of emergency. The events of the last few months show what is possible when we mobilise as council, as a government and as society when there is an emergency.

READ MORE: NORTH LONDON BOROUGHS SIGN LETTER BACKING INCINERATOR PROJECT AFTER EXTINCTION REBELLION’S CALLS FOR POSTPONEMENT“We know we are living through an ecological and climate emergency now, and I hope we can take some of the learning from the past few months and treat this as the emergency it is.”

Opposition leader Cllr Oliver Cooper (Con, Hampstead Town) said: “I completely agree with the need for a climate action plan that is bold and ambitious.”

He added he was “delighted” the council had included measures previously proposed by Conservative councillors, but called for the town hall to go further and commit to improving its electric vehicle charging provision.

View the action plan here.