Four years since the council established a commission to report on the environmental threats, its recommendations have not been implemeted, according to Cllr Ria Patel. By LOUISA GAUTREY
Ria Patel, the leader of the Greens at Croydon Town Hall, has criticised the council’s lack of action over the climate crisis, saying that proposals to reduce the borough’s impact on global warming have “sat on a shelf” for four years.
The council has been slow to respond to the growing threats caused by the ecological crisis, despite establishing a climate commission in 2019, Councillor Patel said. “Very minimal action has happened, and if it has happened it’s not been very well coordinated in a big wider plan,” she said.
Soaring temperatures across the Mediterranean, reaching 44 degrees, have seen wildfires, often fanned by strong winds, burning out of control in parts of Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Spain. Outside Athens, hundreds of holidaymakers, including children, had to be evacuated from the on-rushing flames.
Record temperatures have been recorded this week in China and in Death Valley in California – notorious for being the hottest place on earth, where the mercury has reached 53.3C.
And meanwhile, warming seas off the Florida coast have put emergency services on alert across the east coast of America for the threat of deadly hurricanes.
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, in a television interview, said that the summer heatwave across much of the northern hemisphere showed that, “Climate change is not some distant threat.
“It is real, it is here and it is now.”
Lucas called the government’s climate “adaptation plan”, published on Monday, as “deeply disappointing” and “lacking in ambition”.
And here in Croydon, her party colleague, Patel, has taken a similar view of the council’s response to climate crisis.
“We could have started in 2019, four years ago, and we would have been much further along than we are now,” Patel said in an exclusive interview with Inside Croydon.
The Croydon climate commission had, Patel said, “Put together citizens, bringing in kind of a proportion of residents that are representative of Croydon, and brought in all different views.
“That formed a report and provided recommendations to the council. This was a really big piece of work, a really good piece of work and pretty well conducted.
“But since then, it has sat on a shelf and nothing has happened, which has been so disappointing.
Patel, who last year became one of the first Green councillors to be elected to Croydon Council, said, “I understand there’s other issues in the council, like its gone bankrupt. But everything else can’t just stop because of bankruptcy.
“So much more work needs to be done on the climate crisis, but also the biodiversity crisis.
“Croydon does also have a biodiversity action plan. But again, that’s also been sat on the shelf and not been put into action.
“Both crises need some action and to be put into place, throughout all aspects of the council.
“All council departments should be considering the climate crisis in any decision they make.
“Similar to any major decision they make they should be doing an equality assessment, in my opinion they should also be doing a climate review as well.”
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