Greener streets for young people as Haringey declares climate emergency
Pioneering students made their voices heard as they joined Haringey Council’s calls to protect our environment.
The Year 9 students from Woodside High in Wood Green, spoke at Haringey’s Full Council meeting, where the council declared a climate emergency and set out bold plans to create a healthier environment for our children and communities.
Woodside High student Patrica Ssonko said:
"We are happy that finally our voices are being heard and that our council is stepping up to take action to save our environment. We must take the issue seriously. If we don't take action now, it will not just be our generation who will be impacted, but all future generations to come."
Two motions were passed at the meeting – one declaring a climate emergency and the other working to deliver greener and less polluted streets around our borough’s schools.
Declaring a climate emergency, the council warned that unless action is taken there will be an increase in health problems – particularly for young people and older people – as well as higher energy and food costs.
Haringey agreed to work with the community and partners to speed up the borough’s efforts to become carbon neutral. The council was originally aiming for 2050 but will now be aiming for 2030. Haringey will call on the government and Greater London Authority to provide more powers and resources to make this possible and an action plan and revised target will be brought back to Full Council by the end of the year.
A number of measures have already been brought in to reduce carbon emissions in the borough. Emissions were reduced by 32.4% between 2005 and 2016 – higher than neighbouring boroughs and the national average.
Measures already delivered include investing more than £1.2million in solar power generation, developing a district heat network and municipal energy company and being the first authority to withdraw a third of its pensions fund from fossil fuel investments into low carbon investments.
The second motion followed the successful introduction of Haringey’s first School Street outside Lordship Lane Primary in Tottenham last month. The council will develop an action plan around delivering other school streets too.
The council also pledged to increase spending on active travel such as cycling and walking in future budgets and to investigate a Workplace Parking Levy, which could be used to fund more school streets.
Cllr Kirsten Hearn, Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“The children of the UK went on strike to protest climate change. I hear you, young people of Haringey, and we will act to address the climate emergency. We have already taken steps to reduce Haringey’s carbon emissions. There is much more we can do working with partners and with the support of the Greater London Authority and national government. Climate change will have a serious impact on our young people’s health, unless we act now. In Haringey we must – and we will – do absolutely everything we can to protect them from toxic air.”
Full details of the meeting can be found here: http://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=60809
You can watch the meeting here: https://haringey.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/412477