Green campaigners urge Newham Council to ‘declare a climate emergency’
PUBLISHED: 14:06 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 15 February 2019
Green campaigners have urged the council to declare a climate emergency.
The activists from Fossil Free Newham called on Newham to take the step and commit to making the borough carbon neutral by 2030 at a public meeting about roads and transport at East Ham town hall.
The group repeated its call for Newham’s pension fund to stop investing in fossil fuel firms.
Campaigner, Rebecca Woo, said: “The Newham pension fund committee has already taken active steps to reduce their fossil fuel exposure to 1.2 per cent, the lowest of any borough in London.
“We applaud this but it is not ambitious enough. The lives of people in Newham are being affected right now.”
She added severe levels of air pollution led to asthma which according to Fossil Free Newham is one of the commonest diseases afflicting people in the borough.
Fossil Free Newham’s Anne Basu said the UK was at risk of failing to meet carbon reduction targets for 2023-2027.
“We not only need to meet these targets, we need to exceed them if we want to halt climate change and protect our children’s future. Newham, it’s time to do more,” she said.
Fellow campaigner, Karine Adandedjan, said: “We want Newham to be a role model for other east London councils.”
More recycling, walking, car sharing and cleaner energy was needed, they said.
A Newham Council spokeswoman said the authority was prepared to consider any proposals which it believed would have a genuine effect on changing behaviour.
Cllr John Gray, chairman of the council’s investments and accounts committee said he was willing to meet Fossil Free Newham to discuss their concerns.
The spokeswoman added the council engaged regularly with Fossil Free Newham and shared their air quality concerns.
Its approach was to engage with people to improve air quality but there was a need to understand what stops residents taking up more environmentally friendly transport options.
It was working with TfL and neighbouring boroughs on sustainable transport infrastructure, she added.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned last October that limiting global warming to 1.5pc might still be possible, but it required rapid changes across society.
It concluded that failing to act would have significant consequences.
London mayor Sadiq Khan declared a climate emergency last December.