This week we’ve seen further evidence of the practical reality of the climate emergency in the shape of Storm Ciara.
The impact in London has mainly been limited to fallen trees and branches, but we’ve once again seen many other parts of the country hit by extensive flooding with all of the misery and cost that it causes for local communities affected.
Last Saturday, I was delighted to speak at the Dulwich and West Norwood Climate Coalition ‘Speak Up for the Climate’ event in Herne Hill, a group that I helped to set up in 2015 in the run up to the Paris Climate Summit that year.
The group subsequently organised a series of annual community meetings on climate change, and Saturday’s event was certainly the best ever, with a fantastic range of talks and community organisations offering practical advice.
The strength and depth of community engagement in my constituency is inspiring, but we also need more leadership and commitment from the Government, which continues to subsidise fossil fuel industries and is yet to publish detailed plans for the scale of change we need in order to deliver the urgent reduction in carbon emissions the climate emergency demands.
Lambeth and Southwark councils were among the first to declare a climate emergency and are developing their detailed plans to deliver against this commitment.
Both councils have recently published plans to make local streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists and improve air quality in parts of my constituency.
It was great to see about 200 residents at a packed meeting on Saturday morning to discuss Southwark council’s Our Healthy Streets Dulwich consultation.
The town hall is proposing possible changes to streets in the Dulwich area to tackle the incredibly high level of air pollution at key junctions that impact so negatively on children and older residents in particular, reduce rat-running traffic and improve safety.
You can find details at https://consultations.southwark.gov.uk/environment-leisure/our-healthy-streets-dulwich-phase-3/
Lambeth council is consulting on changes to Rosendale Road at www.lambeth.gov.uk/better-fairer-lambeth/project/healthy-route-brockwell-park-to-gipsy-hill and in the Railton Road area at https://brixtonstreets.commonplace.is/ with the same objectives of improving air quality, encouraging walking and cycling by making the streets safer.
Both the climate emergency and our air pollution crisis mean that we cannot just maintain the status quo.
Whatever your views, I hope you will engage positively with these proposals and submit your feedback – it’s only by working together that we’ll see the change we need.