Cllr Claire Holland is the Leader of Lambeth Council and a councillor in Oval ward.
The scientific consensus is clear: the effects of global heating are already here and are being seen and felt in our communities in Lambeth and across London. As we look to deal with the immediate issues affecting people in Lambeth such as the increased frequency of flooding and extreme heat events that smother our city, we also need to take bold and urgent action to prepare our borough for a future in which climate-related shocks become more prevalent and more pronounced.
Boris Johnson claims that his government is serious about tackling the climate crisis – so serious that he took a plane to Cornwall for the recent G7 summit. He likes to talk about his ambition to pull China, India, and some of the biggest polluters into line, but he can’t (or rather won’t) pull his own government into line to take the action needed. Keir Starmer is right when he says that the biggest threat we now face is not climate denial but climate delay – that’s why Labour-run Lambeth is already underway in planning for, and delivering on net-zero emissions for our operations and estate by 2030.
Just as the council needs to take radical action to cut emissions and adapt our borough for the future, so do our big institutions such as our universities and hospitals, as well as developers, our businesses, community groups and residents of Lambeth in general. It needs the input of us all to shape how we respond to the climate crisis and what should be our focuses whilst we try and play our part in stabilising our climate.
That is why we funded a Citizens’ Assembly on behalf of the borough; to bring together a group of Lambeth residents broadly representative of the communities who live here, to consider the issues and their solutions through a lens of fairness and equity, and to make recommendations relevant for us all to deliver on.
The recommendations chart a way forward for our great borough not just to deliver on net-zero emissions, but to do so in a way that is just and fair, reducing the inherent inequities in our society at the same time. This is the Lambeth way, working together to deliver on our commitments to end the social, racial and climate injustices that blight the lives of too many people.
Over the coming months, all parts of Lambeth will be coming together to develop the Borough’s Climate Action Plan to take these recommendations forward, and to deliver them and much more. We will do so in the knowledge that the actions that we take in the next few years will shape the future of our borough for generations to come. We must act now.
Cllr Claire Holland