Today, a new Climate Coalition group formed in the borough, write in the Havering Daily demanding real action from Havering Council.
Several community groups, who have grown tired of years of inaction, have joined forces to lobby councillors to take urgent action on climate change.
We believe Havering Council must involve residents in this change.
Havering Council’s overview and scrutiny board met on December 7 to discuss the local authority’s Climate Change Action Plan. The four groups forming the coalition were invited to the debate to ask questions from the officers in charge of the plan.
Ultimately, councillors voted against the proposed requisition of the plan.
We, as individual groups but also as part of the Havering Climate Coalition (Extinction Rebellion Havering, Havering Friends of the Earth, Romford Quakers and Havering Cyclists), were delighted to have been invited to Havering Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Board meeting on Tuesday, 7th December 2021. We were however, disappointed in the way the meeting came to an abrupt end without much discussion and, we think there is room for progress on the Council’s Climate Change Action plan and look forward to working with the Council in the future.
Extinction Rebellion’s statement:
Extinction Rebellion Havering has been in touch with the council over the last two years trying to get a sense of their plan, if any, to tackle climate change in the Borough. We have also repeatedly offered our help to several councillors and officers. Last month, Havering Council finally published its Climate Action Plan. We were disappointed to discover the ‘action’ plan lacks urgency and actual action, with no deadlines or targets to report on. We are worried this is more a wish list than a practical, actionable plan.
However, we stay optimistic as we have been observing the change of spirit in Havering as demonstrated by the creation of a new Climate Coalition involving our friends from Havering Cyclists, Friends of the Earth, Romford Quakers and ourselves. Every step forward is progress, and we believe Havering residents are becoming increasingly supportive of climate action which aspires to protect livelihoods, businesses and the planet from the harm created by climate change. We intend to continue to work hard to make Havering residents’ voices heard and to get results from Havering council for a greener and healthier borough for all.
Friends of the Earth’s statement:
Havering Friends of the Earth (HFoE) set out ten major criticisms of the Climate Action Plan in a letter published in the Recorder on the 19th of November. Cllr White responded to some of these in a letter the following week, and argued that we must work together on climate change. In the Special Meeting HFoE were limited to one question, which was about public participation in putting flesh on the plan.
Although we feel that most of the criticisms we made were not answered to our satisfaction in the Special Meeting, and we are very angry that discussion was cut short (by, of all people, the chair of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee!), it is clear that the Climate Coalition has pushed the council into recognising that they have to listen to us, and that we need to work together on the detail of the plan, and to make it operational.
This is a positive step, and we will now be pressing Cllr White and colleagues to make good on his proposal that we work together. Mention was made in the meeting of a Green Forum and surely it is well past time to get something along these lines set up.
Havering Cyclists Statement:
Havering Cyclists have tried to work closely with Havering Council for more than 20 years as part of the Cycling Liaison Group and were extremely disappointed to have not been listened to on Tuesday, 7th December, at the O & S Board meeting by some Councillors wishing just to accept the Havering Climate Change Action Plan without dissent. However, we still wish to play a vital role and contribute to this plan as we have a wealth of knowledge emanating from our role as part of the London Cycling Campaign.
Romford Quakers Statement:
At Romford Quakers, we were heartened to have been given the opportunity to feed back our reflections on Havering’s Climate Action Plan.
Based on what was said during the meeting, we appreciate that Havering Council are facing financial limitations, however we maintain our position that vulnerable residents in Havering living in cold, draughty conditions need priority actions.
We believe that SMART targets for the short, medium, and longer term would be an encouraging start; indeed, such an approach can be seen in the climate action plans of neighbouring Boroughs.
We care about climate justice and relish every opportunity to work with Havering Council on their Climate Action Plan. Ultimately, we – as a Borough – must do everything within our means to fight climate change effectively.