Local community groups came together to discuss and work out a way forward for a sustainable agenda for Haringey. Well, given that the Labour Council and the Labour government between them have not done the necessary – this is probably a move in the right campaigning direction.
The problem is that whilst the presentations were very good – from Friends of the Earth, Haringey Residents Associations and an energy consultant – it is in the end to a great extent about political will. We really do have to work towards a sustainable future and (excuse the number of clichés) there really is no time to lose. But whilst there is a lot of emphasis put – rightly – on individual action, there is much more that need to be done by the different parts of the state, especially giving us not merely an aspirational target for reducing carbon emissions by 2050 in the forthcoming Climate Change Bill but annual targets instead.
And a bit more is required of businesses – such as why not get the FTS100 companies to publish their carbon footprint? And why does Labour Haringey show no interest or desire to take up the local Liberal Democrat manifesto commitment to get businesses to recycle? Lots of individuals recycling their glass bottles is one thing, but imagine the impact of providing more pubs with a glass recycling service – or shops a cardboard box recycling service – and the list of examples goes on.
And one of the biggest carbon emitters of all – our homes – could be so much more energy efficient: not just lagging and cavity walls, but real improvements like in some northern European countries where emissions from peoples’ houses is almost down to nothing. It can be done – and the costs can be covered by savings on fuel bills.
Nevertheless – congratulations to the organisers of the sustainable communities conference, as we sure do need pressure – continual pressure – on both Haringey Council and the Government, particularly as the Climate Change Bill proceeds.