Introducing a Climate Citizens’ Assembly for Westminster
A Labour-led Westminster Council will introduce a Climate Citizens’ Assembly if the party wins next year’s local elections, it was announced today.
Labour councillors will shortly release their ambitious new ideas on climate – A Green New Deal for Westminster. It will detail the some of the steps that Labour will take to tackle the climate emergency in the City of Westminster, setting out Labour’s ambitious agenda to build a net-zero carbon future for our city.
Among other pledges, Labour is committing to put local residents at the heart of climate policymaking by introducing a new Westminster Citizens’ Climate Assembly.
Local Climate Assemblies have been introduced by UK councils across the country to help build a stronger bridge between elected representatives and their communities, providing a space for new ideas to be developed. They are typically run by independent organisations who devise a structured programme of engagement for residents to learn from experts, discuss and share views, and ultimately make recommendations to their local authority.
For example, in Camden a group of over 50 residents, selected to be demographically representative of the borough, came together to discuss and deliberate solutions to the climate crisis. Assembly members produced their own 17 point plan for Camden. Among other measures, they recommended establishing a Climate Emergency scrutiny panel of experts and residents to hold the Council and its partners to account, and prioritising installing renewable energy sources in homes, by for example rolling out solar panels to as many homes as possible.
Similar assemblies have been used in other councils up and down the country – from Newham to Newcastle, Copeland to Kendal.
Despite efforts by Westminster Labour to press Conservative-led Westminster Council to introduce a Climate Assembly, to date Tory councillors have refused to take up the challenge.
Ryan Jude, a Lancaster Gate candidate and green finance expert said: “We’re 100% committed to doing everything in our power to tackle the climate emergency if we win next year’s local elections. But we won’t be able to do this on our own – overcoming the climate emergency will require more than just council-led solutions. We need to engage local residents and communities and place them at the heart of developing solutions to build our green future. The Westminster Climate Assembly will help us achieve that goal.”
Pancho Lewis, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Climate assemblies are a tried and tested method to help generate new, innovative ideas to help tackle the environmental emergency. Plus, they help forge a relationship based on trust between communities and local authority leaders – something that is currently acutely missing in Westminster. That’s why we’ll begin our plans to introduce a Westminster Climate Assembly from day one after we take the Council.”