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Environmental groups want to support council in accelerating the shift to a zero-carbon world

PUBLISHED: 10:25 15 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:16 23 March 2020

The letter was sent on behalf of nine community groups and 17 climate activists. Picture: Extinction Rebellion Hackney

The letter was sent on behalf of nine community groups and 17 climate activists. Picture: Extinction Rebellion Hackney

Extinction Rebellion Hackney

Hackney’s environment chief says he stands by the council’s “firm commitment” to tackling the climate emergency and looks forward to discussing its decarbonisation programme with activists.

East London Uprising in London Fields. Picture: Extinction Rebellion HackneyEast London Uprising in London Fields. Picture: Extinction Rebellion Hackney

Councillor Jon Burke told the Gazette: “Hackney Council’s is the most scientifically-rigorous climate emergency declaration in the country.”

The councillor was responding to an open letter penned to the council by 17 climate activists and several Hackney-based voluntary and community organisations championing environmental action. It lays out their community response to the Town Hall’s climate emergency declaration last June.

The letter features eight “resolves” discussed by the council at meetings and workshops and urges it to ‘lead a rallying cry’ communicating the need for residents to take more action to solve the climate crisis. “Everyone has a part to play,” it reads and gives suggestions as to how the council can lead in its role to consult, educate and inform.

Cllr Burke said Hackney Council has “developed a national reputation for rapid and far-reaching action on decarbonisation” since 2016, citing its work on the country’s largest urban tree planting programme, the creation of a publicly-owned clean energy company and the commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy in 2020 as well as other innovations like its “groundbreaking” object lending library in Dalston.

XR campaigners marched on Abney Park to mourn the loss of the Red Girdled Mining Bee there, following development nearby. Picture: Anna SherwinXR campaigners marched on Abney Park to mourn the loss of the Red Girdled Mining Bee there, following development nearby. Picture: Anna Sherwin

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While the letter’s signatories said they understand the challenge the council faces in terms of budget and resources, they urge local authorities to communicate with the wider community about how they can help to accelerate the shift to a zero-carbon world.

Cllr Burke says Hackney is the only council with a firm commitment to deliver against the stretching challenge of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change’s “higher confidence thresholds” for limiting global warming to 1.5C.

The letter calls on the council to revise net zero targets from 2040 to 2030, in line with the Green New Deal motion passed at a Labour Party conference last September.

XR campaigners marched on Abney Park to mourn the loss of the Red Girdled Mining Bee there, following development nearby. Picture: Anna SherwinXR campaigners marched on Abney Park to mourn the loss of the Red Girdled Mining Bee there, following development nearby. Picture: Anna Sherwin

It is a target Islington Council has taken on – but is still short of the 2025 target set by Tower Hamlets council.

Included in the community response are many of the positive things the council and local groups have done to combat the climate emergency and it details ways in which residents, activists and community groups can support it in acting upon the emergency declared.

“Our future depends on you,” the letter states.


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