This post was first published by My London on 16/07/2019.
Extinction Rebellion brings boat to Croydon Council to demand it goes carbon neutral by 2025
‘Act now’ was the message emblazoned on a blue boat ‘moored’ outside Croydon Town Hall last night (Monday, July 15).
It was a stunt by protest group Extinction Rebellion which demanded the council pledges to go carbon neutral by 2025.This was instead of the 2030 target Croydon officially set last night (Monday, July 15).
We asked some of the protesters why they thought five years earlier would make all the difference.
The group handed out crocuses to councillors as they entered the town hall as a sign of peace and non-violence.
Hana Wild, who lives in the borough, said: “Time is running out now, it is not on our side. I think we can just turn it around it we act now. We need the council to actually do something about it.”
Fellow protester Andrew Laidlaw added that he does not think the council’s target of carbon neutrality by 2030 is soon enough.
“Knowing how the world of bureaucracy works we have to start putting things in place immediately, we think 2030 seems like a long way off,” he said.
“This is a local issue as all these things are bad for this community, pollution, the amount of rubbish everywhere and excessive traffic.
“All these things can be faded out.”
But despite the plea from Extinction Rebellion to bring the date for carbon neutrality forward the council stuck with its 2030 target.
Leader of the council, Tony Newman, said this was a realistic target, adding: “What I don’t want to do is set targets which are immediately unachieveable.”
In the chamber, Councillor Niroshan Sirisena described carbon neutrality as the “inter-generational mission of our time”.
He said: “The green new deal for Croydon cannot be imposed from above nor can this council shirk from its responsibility to deliver.
“This is why we are going to develop this with direct and sustained involvement from local communities experts and the activist network.”
Mr Sirisena added that the council should work with workers, employers and unions to promote green jobs in the borough.
But the council’s motion came under fire from some of the Conservative opposition.
Councillor Jason Perry said the deceleration was “well meaning” but described the council’s position on environmental issues as “conflicting”.
“This council is proclaiming this climate change emergency whilst at the same time using it’s development company Brick by Brick to build on green spaces, particularly on council estates.
“This council is developing planning policies that encourage the destruction of gardens and trees. And this council is proposing an admissions based parking policy which does not differentiate between cleaner hybrid vehicles and diesel vehicles.”
Despite this, the climate and ecological emergency deceleration was unanimously backed by the council.
Mr Newman also announced that a citizens’ assembly and climate emergency commission would be launched to give residents a say.