• Matthew Dooley

New forum for climate change

Hillingdon Friends of the Earth march in Uxbridge earlier this year

The people of Hillingdon will now have a forum to discuss climate change after the council passed a new motion on the issue last month.

Hillingdon Council unanimously passed the motion which includes holding an annual “people’s assembly” to discuss how to better protect the planet.

Hillingdon Labour’s Deputy Leader Councillor Stuart Mathers submitted the motion.

He says the assembly will consist of residents and relevant organisations to discuss and shape revisions to the council’s climate change action plan.

Councillor Mathers, West Drayton (Lab) said: “The climate change action plan strategy should not be static but a dynamic thing—an engaging project that empowers us and our residents to raise and rise against the challenge of climate change. Hillingdon Council cannot wait for national governments to lead, we must be ambitious for a better Hillingdon.”

He also drew a parallel between world leaders building on previous countries’ agreements at COP26 and the council building on its own climate policy, agreed upon two years ago.

The motion also aims to support businesses and organisations towards making the entire borough net zero by the year 2050.

The motion was amended to include the phrase “where practical and cost effective” to a clause ensuring all the council’s procured services are net carbon zero by 2035.

Additionally, the amendment removed any mention of pension plans from a guarantee to publicly report on the level of investment in the fossil fuel industry regarding council investment plans.

Councillor Eddie Lavery, Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing & Regeneration, Cavendish (Con), said: “I am rising to propose a minor amendment to the motion proposed by Councillor Mathers, I do hope that this will be accepted in the spirt it is intended, as a friendly amendment.”

Hillingdon Friends of the Earth also voiced its support for the measure.

In a tweet following the vote, it said: “Glad our earlier insistence that the Council must be open to future improvements to its commitments on addressing the climate emergency has already paid off.”

The motion builds on previous climate policy from the council, which declared a climate change emergency in January 2020.