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Lib Dems: Give us a carbon-free budget

Plea to Town Hall chief to detail cost of green plans

28 August, 2020 — By Sam Ferguson

Kate Pothalingam: ‘It’s no good saying central government has to fork out if you don’t tell them how much funding is needed and what will be achieved with it’

LIBERAL Democrats are demanding the Town Hall produces a detailed budget explaining how much money it would take to deliver a “carbon neutral” Islington by 2030.

Earlier this year the Labour council pledged to reduce carbon emissions in the borough to net zero by 2030.

It also unveiled its Biodiversity Action Plan and invited residents to comment through a consultation.

But Islington’s Lib Dem parliamentary spokeswoman Kate Pothalingam told the Tribune more detail is needed from the council to “make the vision real”.

“It’s no good saying central government has to fork out if you don’t tell them how much funding is needed and what will be achieved with it,” said Ms Pothalingam.

“The Labour council wants, as do we, Islington to be carbon free, but right now, its paper is pound-sign free and that won’t get us anywhere. There are good ideas there, but we need substance on the costs and clear targets for emissions reductions.”

The Lib Dems are calling on the council to release details of how much money the Town Hall is seeking from Whitehall to fund its net zero ambitions and more transparency over the implications for residents in privately owned ­properties and social housing.

Chairman of the local Lib Dems group Pierre Delarue said the party was ready to back Labour if a full plan and budget is put to the central government.

“We have written to Richard Watts offering to work with the council to build a zero-carbon Islington and look forward to his reply,” he said.

“We want to see all parties and groups working positively together to get to an actionable plan for going carbon neutral. Labour doesn’t have a monopoly on good thinking, any more than it has a monopoly on local popularity.”

Council environment chief and Labour councillor Rowena Champion said: “Despite facing cuts to funding, the council has already taken major steps in response to this issue, such as improving the energy efficiency and reducing the level of carbon emissions of all our buildings and infrastructure, accelerating our development of smart energy networks, and by reducing vehicular emissions through our commitment to creating people-friendly streets.

“As part of our commitment to creating a net zero carbon borough, the council will continue to lobby both regional and national government for further support to help achieve our ambitions.

“We are currently in the process of carefully reviewing the numerous comments that we have received from local people and organisations, and will provide a further update on our plans soon.”

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