Westminster Council set to declare Climate Emergency after Labour pressure
After months of pressure from Labour and local residents, Westminster Council appears to be on the verge of declaring a Climate Emergency. Now Labour are calling on them to go further and are setting out bold new ideas in a new ‘Green Paper’.
More than a hundred local authorities across the country have already officially declared a state of climate emergency. This follows the publication of a UN report last year which set out that there are only 12 years left to tackle climate change and prevent catastrophic environmental damage.
Until now Conservatives at Westminster Council have been moving too slowly on the issue. Despite repeated requests to do so, they refused to follow the lead of other local authorities and publicly declare an emergency. As a result, Labour activists and councillors took it upon themselves to push the Council to commit to climate action. Labour ran a petition, helped convene public events such as the Climate Assembly on June 5th, and lobbied the Council’s Cabinet through questions at full council to one to one meetings with the Council Cabinet Members. Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cities of London and Westminster Steven Saxby has been an active part of mobilising the local community for this campaign.
Labour submitted an ambitious motion to this month’s full council calling for a Climate Emergency. However last week it became known that despite their initial reservation Westminster Conservatives would also commit to declaring a climate emergency, an important step forward.
Labour will now be pressing the Council to go further and faster, in particular urging them to adopt a zero carbon goal (no off-sets) by 2050, use climate assemblies, tackle issues around food miles and join the UK 100 Clean Energy Group, areas which Conservative motion doesn’t include.
To set out bold ideas and actions for how Westminster might meet the challenge of climate change Cllr Pancho Lewis and the Westminster Labour group are now publishing a new Green Paper that can be accessed here.
Shadow Environment Cabinet member, Pancho Lewis said:
“Climate action can’t wait any longer. We’re encouraged that the majority party at Westminster has now agreed to formally declaring a climate emergency. But this is just the start. We need radical climate action and we need it now. Whether it’s in housing, transport, energy, or the way the development industry works, everywhere we look we need to dramatically cut our emissions so we can ensure our world doesn’t become uninhabitable. It’s become cliche to say we must do this for the sake of future generations – of course that’s true, but the crisis is unfolding in front of our eyes now. This is about the present, not just the future”.
Labour Parliamentary Candidate Steven Saxby said
“It’s vital we tackle the toxic air in this Borough, invest in affordable Green energy, and create new Green jobs, so I really welcome the commitments outlined in this paper by Westminster Labour Councillors and look forward to working with them on local action to help tackle the Climate Emergency.”
***Stop press: Join the demonstration at 6pm this Wednesday outside Westminster Council House, Marylebone Road, NW1 5PT. Urge the Council to take radical action to fight climate change. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org***