Sarah’s five point plan to tackle Croydon’s climate crisis
Croydon council are already taking some great steps in making sure our community plays its part in tackling the climate and environment emergency facing us all. I want to work with the Council and use my voice in Parliament and beyond to go even further and make Croydon the least polluting, greenest borough in London.
Transforming our community for the future will not only protect the environment, it will create thousands of good, clean jobs for the future, opportunities for Croydon’s young people, and will save Croydon people time and money.
My five-step plan for a clean, climate-friendly Croydon:
1. A Croydon Energy Cooperative creating green, local energy for and by the community
I will work with the council, community, and experts in the sector to push for a publicly owned green energy company to fund, install and manage Croydon’s own clean, local energy.
The funds raised through shares in the energy cooperative go into putting solar panels and other green energy sources on schools and other community buildings. This generates cheap renewable energy for local people, saving us money and creating income that can be put back into the community and fund more green projects.
The model has been successful in other local areas, and as well as creating clean, cheap energy for the community, it creates job opportunities for local people who can be trained up to manage the energy projects themselves.
2. Stop funding fossil fuels, start funding the future
I will put pressure on public and private organisations in Croydon to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest that money in companies with the highest environmental standards.
Divestment is asking public bodies to get rid of stocks, bonds and investments in funds that support the fossil fuel industry. Cutting public investment in fossil fuel companies will not put our public money to better use, it will stop the industry wielding so much power over our politics and make sure we take the urgent action we need.
In 2014, Croydon Council moved their pensions to an ethical fund, divesting in tobacco and weapons, and this was really welcome. But it must go further to divest from fossil fuels and send a clear message that fossil fuels are not the future.
3. A healthy local environment
Bad air quality is a public health emergency here in Croydon. Nationally, air pollution causes 40,000 deaths and costs us £20bn. In Croydon, there are at least 20 schools and nurseries within 150 metres of a road more polluted than the legal limit.
Urgent action is needed. Our children need to be protected from pollution with clean air zones near schools.
I have campaigned for a Clean Air Act and I want to repurpose our public space to make walking and cycling safer and more accessible, and encourage healthier, cleaner, cheaper public transport. A Labour government will also expand local bus services and provide free bus travel for under 25s.
I will encourage electric vehicle use with more charging points around Croydon, and a vehicle scrappage scheme to make switching to climate friendly cars affordable. The Ultra Low Emission Zone has been working to reduce congestion in central London since earlier this year, and I’ll look at how zones like that can improve the air we breathe here in Croydon.
My plan for Croydon’s streets will not only reduce carbon emissions but cut congestion and encourage outdoor play and exercise.
4. Nurturing Croydon’s nature
I will protect Croydon’s green spaces and promote the creation of new ones. We can improve our immediate environment and help wildlife flourish even in our most urban areas with green architecture, green buffers and green verges along our roadsides.
I will work with the council to plant more trees on our land to offset our carbon emissions.
5. Green Houses
Our homes emit 14% of our carbon emissions. Yet it’s an area that often gets overlooked in the climate debate.
As Shadow Housing Minister I’ve been working hard on Labour’s plans to fix the housing crisis and make our homes energy and water efficient, and climate resilient.
Labour will build 150,000 homes a year and they will all meet a zero-carbon standard. We will insulate existing homes and put solar panels on our roofs.
Reducing household emissions isn’t just good for the environment. It will cut energy bills – that at the moment are so high many families are forced to choose between heating and eating. It will improve our health and wellbeing, cutting costs to the NHS. And building the homes of the future will create new skilled jobs to boost the economy.