Cllr Joanna Reynolds speaking at full council
Cllr Joanna Reynolds speaking at full council

Cllr Joanna Reynolds’ speech to full council on the council’s plans to tackle the climate crisis. 

I am sure that everybody in this chamber agrees that the Climate Emergency is the most important threat to bio-diversity and human life that we have ever been faced.  An urgent response is required now from us in local government, from national government, businesses and every individual in our borough.

We are taking the lead on this – and I would like to thank my colleague, Claire Holland, who is the Labour Cabinet member responsible for putting together our response to the Climate Emergency, for driving Lambeth’s activity forward.

We are initiating a fully representative, independent and meaningful Citizen’s Assembly which will produce recommendations for averting the crisis – not all of which will be within Lambeth’s control, but we will campaign with members of the assembly and others, to have the recommendations and their voice heard.

We are committed to getting the Citizens Assembly right and doing it properly – the universally accepted 12 principles are central to our planning.  Planning is key to ensure the Citizens Assembly is effective and representative.  We are at the beginning of the process and will continue to actively seek input from partners.

We are working on a green new deal for Lambeth – for instance working with our solar partners to ramp up clean energy generation and storage capacity whilst at the same time, training residents on our estates in clean technologies to enable them to work in this exciting area.

We have already done much to reduce our carbon footprint as a council:

  • Moved into one building
  • Switching street lights to LED alternatives
  • Reducing the vehicle fleet to ultra-low emission vehicles (now 90% of the fleet)
  • We have installed electric charging points for cars, taxis and other vehicles – and planning more for this year and beyond
  • We are planting over 500 trees in Lambeth this year

And we plan to:

  • Vastly upgrade our cycling infrastructure
  • Create environment and people friendly neighbourhoods – like the Brixton Liveable Neighbourhood
  • We have published our Carbon Reduction Plan which will make the council’s operations carbon neutral by 2030 – the Carbon Reduction Plan is a dynamic document. We don’t profess to have all the answers and so work with organisations and individuals to share ideas – for which we are very grateful and hope to extend that network in the future

But this isn’t enough and we will continue to work with partners and drive for more initiatives to create a cleaner and more healthy borough.

The climate crisis is far more important than politics or grandstanding.

And I would like to make a personal plea.

The climate emergency is terrifying and everybody in this chamber (on the floor and in the upper seats) want to do all they can to avert the crisis.  We are all agreed on that.  We all know we need to act now.

And yet we seem to be arguing about where we don’t agree instead of understanding where we have common ground.

I would like us all to come together, build on that common ground, agree the way forward (which will require give and take on all sides) and make a difference.

When our children or grandchildren ask us in 30 years’ time, Nanny Reynolds, what did you do when you were a Lambeth councillor to make a difference to the Climate Crisis?  I don’t want to say, argue with other organisations that fundamentally agreed with us.

Because if we do argue rather than come together and work towards improving the climate outcome, we give the floor to all of those who are not concerned about the climate crisis, or their children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

Let’s make the difference.  Grab the agenda and the conversation and start to tackle the climate emergency, together.

Cllr Joanna Reynolds

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