Government funding to support eco-projects branded ‘woefully inadequate’ as Hackney Council receives emissions update

Cllr Jon Burke at an eco energy conference. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Cllr Jon Burke at an eco energy conference. Picture: Emma Bartholomew - Credit: Emma Bartholomew

Government funding to tackle the climate emergency is “woefully inadequate”, a Hackney councillor has said.

Comparing it to other funding streams which increase carbon output, such as £29bn for roadbuilding, Cllr Jon Burke slated the £3 billion earmarked to support a green recovery at a Hackney Council meeting on July 22.

The authority was giving an update on its eco-progress a year on from its declaration of a climate emergency.

Hackney is aiming for a 45 per cent reduction in its carbon dioxide equivalent emissions against 2010 levels by 2030 and delivering net zero emissions by 2040.

An extensive rundown on the borough’s progress says its consultants believe above targets are “possible”.

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The update came on the same day that its publicly-owned energy company unveiled its first solar power installation at the West Reservoir Centre.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t know another council that does more than us’ – Hackney’s environment chief on the climate emergencyREAD MORE: Hackney Council declares a climate emergency - but divest eco-campaigners query £75m fossil fuel investmentsHackney’s energy, waste and public realm chief Cllr Jon Burke said: “Amidst the tragedy of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are signs that the public are valuing cleaner air and time spent in nature, and many people have adapted to working remotely.”

Multiple schemes to decrease carbon emissions in the borough include 5,000 new street trees to be planted by 2022, an additional 40 School Streets and cycle infrastructure schemes to link 89 per cent of residents within 400m of a cycle route.

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It also said 12 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were to be created or improved.

As part of the update and as the Town Hall works on improving its analysis, the borough’s mayor Philip Glanville made an “absolute commitment” to present the annual emissions data to a citizen’s assembly in the future.

Burke said although he is keen to include key stakeholders with an interest in sustainability in the council’s work, he is “equally keen” to ensure public engagement extends as broadly as it can.

He said: “The environmental community, however benign its intentions, is not necessarily representative, ethnically, politically, socially or economically, of Hackney, and we believe as an administration that to ensure that we bring the public with us we need the broadest possible participation.”

The government has been contacted for comment.

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