Green groups brand Newham's climate emergency plan as 'weak'

A general view of traffic on a motorway

Newham Council has been urged to publish a roadmap with dates outlining its plans to cut planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A coalition of green groups has slammed the town hall's plan to tackle the climate emergency as "weak".

Newham Climate Action Plan (NEWCAP) wants the council to publish a roadmap, with dates, which includes details of cuts to its climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The local authority has committed to reaching net-zero by 2030, meaning Newham Council would balance the amount of COit produces with the amount it removes from the atmosphere.

Extinction Rebellion Newham, Fossil Free Newham, and Newham Cyclists are among NEWCAP's founding members.

The grouping commented after publication of the council's annual climate emergency progress report.  

A statement released by NEWCAP said: "The plan is comprehensive. It includes all the aspects that need to be addressed, but it is weak. 

"It does not provide the detail and timescales for Newham citizens to be confident it will be achieved.

"This statement is not meant to cast blame on Newham Council, but to re-iterate that we live in a toxic system. Newham, as we all know, is more toxic than any other place in the UK.

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"If we don’t have a clear, detailed plan - that all the citizens of Newham can get behind - we will fail. And if we fail, it will be the most needy among us who will suffer most."

Air pollution from an exhaust

Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when hydrocarbon fuels including wood, coal, natural gas, gasoline, and oil are burned. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

An analysis from the Tyndall Centre found that for Newham to make its "fair" contribution towards the Paris Climate Change Agreement, it should stay within a maximum cumulative CO2 emissions allowance of 7.4million tonnes for 2020 to 2100.

If its 2017 CO2 emission levels continued, Newham would use its entire quota within seven years.

The Paris agreement includes pledges from major countries to cut the amount of planet-warming gases they emit.

A council spokesperson said a roadmap will be developed this year and published in 2022.

She added the trajectory for cutting CO2 emissions is encouraging, with total emissions for 2019/20 of 7,125 tonnes, a 42 per cent drop since 2017/18 and 58pc since data collection began in 2014/15.

"We are going in the right direction. However, we agree this trend alone is not sufficient enough to guarantee we will meet our CO2 targets," she said.

The town hall pledged to continue being ambitious in its plans, but urged people and businesses to do their bit, adding it will push central government to do more.