More than 150 people including residents, businesses, community groups and elected representatives gathered for a climate emergency workshop
Published: Wednesday, 16th October 2019
On Tuesday 8 October Hounslow Council helped to address the worldwide problem of climate change at a local level.
In the past eight months, more than 200 of the UK’s principal authorities (including county, unitary, metropolitan, London boroughs and district councils) have made climate emergency declarations. Hounslow is one of the first to take their commitment to the next level by taking steps to develop a climate strategy which responds directly to the problem of how to reduce carbon emissions.
Working with partners Eunomia, who delivered the workshop on behalf of the council, the ambitious event resulted in hundreds of suggestions about how the borough could become carbon neutral by 2030.
Hounslow Council has already taken strides towards reaching this goal. In 2016, solar insulation panels installed at Western International Market made this the largest of its kind in Europe. The council has committed to reduce emissions and energy consumption at its community buildings and housing developments, as well as create infrastructure to encourage more sustainable modes of transport such as improved cycling opportunities. Hounslow has the second largest number of electric vehicle charging points in London, and plans are under way to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy to help reduce the number of people driving to work and help fund improved public transport.
Councillor Katherine Dunne, Hounslow Council’s cabinet member for communities and workforce, said: “It was wonderful to see so many people come together to discuss such an important issue. While climate demonstrators brought many parts of central London to a standstill our gathering proved to be just as powerful, impactful and passionate – but without any arrests!
“We are doing what we can to address the climate emergency, but there is still so much more that we can do to make a real impact and meet our ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. This isn’t something we can do alone – the climate emergency effects everyone and we all have our part to play to help lower carbon emissions before it’s too late. This event was one way to help the public to understand the global problem we face and how, by working together, we can make a difference.”
The climate emergency event complements the work already being done around improving air quality in the borough. The council’s Air Quality Action Plan (2018-2023) aims to tackle the health impacts of air pollution, support advances in monitoring air quality, and use the latest interventions to reduce emissions particularly in the transport field.
Laurence Hawcroft, a member of the Osterley and Wyke Green Residents’ Association, said: “I was sceptical about this event at first, but I feel a lot more positive after the workshop. I thought we’d just be ticking boxes but if only 20 per cent of the ideas we have discussed here today make it through it would be brilliant start.”
The information gathered from the climate emergency workshop will form part of a draft plan of action which will be presented to council members later this year.
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