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Redbridge in a state of 'climate emergency'

PUBLISHED: 17:51 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:51 25 June 2019

Demonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall, calling for the borough to admit it has a climate emergency problem. Picture: Redbridge Council

Demonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall, calling for the borough to admit it has a climate emergency problem. Picture: Redbridge Council

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Redbridge is officially in a state of "climate emergency".

Activists outside the town hall. Picture: Redbridge CouncilActivists outside the town hall. Picture: Redbridge Council

The council voted unanimously to adopt the status after a motion was brought forward by two Wanstead councillors, at a meeting last week.

Paul Donovan, Wanstead Village councillor, said "radical change" is now needed in Redbridge and the situation has moved beyond the stage when doing a bit of recycling and flower planting would fix it.

"We need to realise that as human beings we are killing ourselves and the planet," he said.

"There are 9,500 deaths due to pollution in London each year - this figure rises to 50,000 for the whole country.

Demonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall, calling for the borough to admit it has a climate emergency problem. Picture: Redbridge CouncilDemonstration outside Redbridge Town Hall, calling for the borough to admit it has a climate emergency problem. Picture: Redbridge Council

"Environmental considerations have to move centre stage - they must become an integral part of the budget, council operations and investments. The council must become a beacon of good practice but also seek to get others to act in an environmentally sustainable way."

As well as adopting a "major cultural change" the council will ban single-use plastic straws from local authority operations.

It will also encourage businesses in the borough to "act in a similar vein".

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Targets will be created for tree planting, carbon-free building and travelling.

By 2041 80per cent of journeys should be completed in green transport.

"The challenge is huge and we are running out of time," he added.

"There are already encouraging signs in Redbridge, with some imaginative ideas contained in things like the Local Implementation Plan on transport.

"But we need to go much further and much quicker - we are lagging behind neighbouring boroughs, which given the amount of green landscape we have in Redbridge is not impressive."

Councillor Jo Blackman said up and down the country, councils have passed climate emergency resolutions and Redbridge Council needs to "make up for lost time".

"There are lessons to learn from neighbouring boroughs. In Waltham Forest, after significant changes to roads and cycling infrastructure through the mini-Holland scheme, the number of households exposed to more than the EU recommended maximum amount of nitrogen dioxide dropped dramatically, from 58,000 in 2007 to just 6,300 in 2017.

"That is almost a tenth of those affected in 2017 compared to 2007.

"So we were pleased to see that Wanstead Village will be one of the first areas to benefit from the next round of investment in improvements in cycling and walking."

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