Schools are crying out for help on green issues

Last September the Camden Sustainability Task Force sent a letter to the Council s education chiefs [attached] 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

Last September the Camden Sustainability Task Force sent a letter to the Council's education chiefs [attached] 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 dept could do a lot more to help schools.

The Task Force, an all-party group of councillors set up after the May 2006 election, on which both Green councillors sit, is concerned about climate change. It has a remit to suggest radical but practical ways to cut the carbon out of Camden. Over the last year it has produced reports on Energy and Energy Efficiency, on Waste and Recycling and on Transport. Its fourth report - on Food, Water, Biodiversity and Green Spaces - is due to go to the Council's Executive in May.

The Task Force 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 where energy saving measures are invested in 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.

Schools are crying out for help with these things 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.


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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 responsible for Camden's schools, with his background in the energy sector - 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% 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)

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Highgate Ward

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