Residents called to help borough become more resilient to climate change

Residents called to help borough become more resilient to climate change
credit Julia Gregory

Residents are being asked to help at-risk Islington become more resilient in the face of climate change as town hall bosses launch a Go Zero call to action.

The borough is one of the six in London deemed most vulnerable to flooding and extreme heat and has the smallest amount of open space in London.

The environment and regeneration scrutiny committee hosted an online public meeting to discuss the council’s progress towards its target of becoming net zero by 2030.

Rowena Champion, the Executive Member for Environment, Air Quality and Transport, told residents at the meeting: “People who lived through last summer will understand the impact” of the climate emergency.

She added: “We need to protect our planet. We need to protect Islington and Islington people” from the worst excesses of flooding and excessive heat.

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It comes as 93 per cent of residents in focus groups overwhelmingly told the council they were concerned about climate change, with just 1 per cent saying they were not worried.

The group of 40 people also said saving money was a clear driver in cutting energy consumption and they also want the council to think about the barriers to change such as concerns over road safety stopping people getting on their bike.

The council is launching six weeks of climate change action with a series of ways residents can help.

It has team up with “Anchor institutions” including the Whittington hospital and City and London and Metropolitan universities to promote ways to reduce carbon use.

This week it launched its first Go Zero action by teaming up with Arsenal to encourage people to recycle old sports kit ahead of Earth Day on Saturday 22 April.

People can bring old boots and trainers to Arsenal’s collection points at Friday’s match and at Highbury House, at the Arsenal Hub, and at their London Colney training centre. The sports shoes will be donated to local schools.

They can also bring sports equipment as footballs and tennis racquets to be swapped or upcycled at the Arsenal Hub, in the shadow of the club’s world-famous Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Keith Townsend, the council’s director of environment said: “It’s important that we work with residents.”

He urged the 70 people who attended the online meeting to contact the council with their idea and said it was looking at ways to help people change their behaviour.

Islington council is planning to set up a citizens panel and pay for members to do climate awareness training.

Recruitment is likely to get under way this spring with the first quarterly meeting in September.

Residents and council staff discussed plans for retrofitting homes, to make them more energy efficient, how to encourage more people to get involved wtih a circular economy of reducing, reusing and recycling items, changing the way people travel and their views about net zero.

Islington is extending its network of low-traffic schemes to cover more of the borough as part of its aims to cut the 16% of carbon emissions caused by traffic.

Some residents said a lack of confidence in getting on their bike, worries about bike theft and the cost of bicycles would hold them back, and others raised concerns about some cyclists using pavements.

The council said it offers bike training courses which could help would-be cyclists,

The council is drawing up a new local supplementary planning document with guidance for making plans as green as possible, such as using renewable energy and it wants to hear what residents think will be helpful.

It will hold a public consultation this summer followed by a further consultation on the draft document in the autumn.

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