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Eco-champion continues fight for Green agenda

PUBLISHED: 12:48 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:55 07 September 2010

ECO-CHAMPION Cllr Alexis Rowell has called on Camden's political leaders to sign up to seven eco actions as a last-ditch plea to take the environment up the agenda before he bows out in May. Together with his colleagues on the council s sustainability ta

ECO-CHAMPION Cllr Alexis Rowell has called on Camden's

political leaders to sign up to seven eco actions as a last-ditch plea to take the environment up the agenda before he bows out in May.

Together with his colleagues on the council's sustainability task force, group chairman Cllr Rowell has written to the leaders of the four parties asking them to pledge support for seven eco-friendly measures.

These include introducing an eco portfolio on the executive to lead on issues relating to climate change, retaining an eco-champion role and giving it a constitutional standing, reducing Camden's carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020, introducing a sustainability sign-off for all new policies and measuring the effect of policies on residents' happiness and wellbeing.

Cllr Rowell said: "The great thing is all the political parties have signed up to the eco portfolio. And Labour and the Liberal Democrats have the 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 in their manifestos.

"Sustainability is enough of a priority on Camden Council to have someone concentrating uniquely on it. I hope that they put someone in the position who is a freethinker rather than a 'yes' man. I am going to make sure all four party leaders respond to each point. This is the culmination of all the work we have done in the

task force.

"It is about making sure that Camden Council does not relax now. We have set an enormous number of things in motion but there is a lot more that needs doing.

"We have got to keep going because we are not going to create a zero-carbon Camden if we do not.

"At the moment every report and every policy has to get a legal and financial sign-off. What we are

saying is because sustainability and the environment are so important now there should also be an environmental sign-off - as they are already doing in Sutton."

The taskforce, five of whom are stepping down in May including Cllr Rowell, also want Camden to follow Bristol's lead and commission a peak oil report via the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), a group which brings together the private, public, voluntary and community sectors to tackle issues in the borough.

It also proposes the merger of the taskforce and the leader's group on sustainability into a new sub-group of the LSP devoted to climate change, peak oil and resilience issues, which are about how Camden copes in shock situations such as a hike in oil prices, snow, food supply shortage and terrorism.

"We have done a colossal amount in Camden but we need the LSP to buy into it," Cllr Rowell added. "I really hope the LSP will take on board the taskforce and the leader's sustainability group.

"Councils need to be measuring what makes people happy - not growth. It is not more growth or after a certain amount more money that makes people happy, it is a community,

growing your own food, having friends and family and quality of life.

"Caerphilly Council in Wales has installed a wellbeing indicator where people rate their happiness between 0 and 10. We need to think about whether policies will make people happy."

An event is being held at 7.30pm on Wednesday at St Stephen's Church on Rosslyn Hill by the taskforce.

It is a chance to learn more about climate change and sustainability through short films and a Q&A with green organisations.


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