23 January 2020
Lambeth’s Green councillors have scored the council a “B minus” and said it urgently needs to up its efforts if it is to catch up and keep pace with the action required to address climate change, on the first anniversary of its declaration of a climate emergency.
Lambeth Council passed the Green Party motion declaring a climate emergency and committing to reach zero carbon by 2030 on 23rd January 2019, a year ago today. Since then Green councillors say they have seen very little evidence that Lambeth are treating this with the urgency required.
At a meeting of the full Council last night Councillor Jonathan Bartley, Co-Leader of the Green Group, questioned Labour councillors on whether they planned to set a carbon budget for the council for the next 10 years. He also stated that there has been “little evidence of the radical changes required in key areas such as energy, housing, transport and waste management”.
Last night’s meeting also saw local councillors vote through a Labour motion titled “Taking real action to tackle the climate emergency” which commits the Cabinet Member for Environment and Clean Air to write to central government asking that they adopt the 2030 net zero carbon target.  Green councillors say the motion highlights the lack of progress made by the council on tackling the climate emergency.
Co-Leader of the Green Group, who are the official opposition on Lambeth council, Cllr Jonathan Bartley (St Leonard’s) said:
“Over the past year we have seen Lambeth Council make small steps in the right direction to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint - they have hired a member of staff to oversee the council’s climate change response and have begun making plans for investing in better cycling and walking infrastructure, but this is simply not enough.
“It is disappointing that after a whole year the Council still doesn’t know how much carbon it is emitting, or even if it will set an annual carbon budget. We are only just now seeing Labour agree to lobby the government to adopt the ambitious yet necessary 2030 net zero target, and the planned citizens’ assembly has now been delayed.
“The council’s new procurement strategy mentions carbon emissions just twice. The Transport Strategy doesn’t even mention carbon or decarbonisation.The corporate carbon reduction plan doesn’t contain a proper baseline for carbon emissions or reduction targets and Lambeth Labour continue to push ahead with their estate demolition programme despite not having any estimate of the impact of embodied carbon that would be released.
“Lambeth Council must be bolder and treat this like the emergency that it is, They should set a carbon budget, include a commitment to carbon neutrality in all contracts, end the incineration of the borough’s waste and pull the plug on its reckless estate demolitions.”
“It gives me hope to see groups like Extinction Rebellion, along with the Green Party, keep the climate emergency at the top of the agenda. One year on from the declaration of a climate emergency it is still activists that are putting words into action, not the council.”