Havering climate plan approved

An ambitious plan to make Havering carbon neutral in less than 20 years has been criticised for failing to explain where the money will come from.

At a full Havering Council meeting, opposition councillors attacked the Conservative group’s climate change action plan for its lack of detail.

Summarising her objection, Residents’ Group councillor Stephanie Nunn told the chamber: “No costings, no priorities, no cross party working, no scrutiny, no thanks.”

Council leader Damian White insisted the report is not intended to be “an oven-baked recipe” and admitted that “not everything in this report will be delivered”.

The plan was approved by the majority of the council chamber, despite a number of criticisms from multiple parties in the chamber.

Measures the plan proposes include making sure buildings are energy efficient, raising awareness among residents and making Havering “as resilient as possible” to extreme weather events.

It also warns that changes in “behaviour and investment” are needed from outside the council, which has direct control over “less than a twentieth” of the borough’s emissions.

Cllr White told the chamber: “This is not an oven-baked recipe, what it is seeking to do is bring together all the myriad reports and have an overarching report to give timelines – and commit this council and the administration going forward. 

“We are determined to do everything we can to resolve this climate crisis we are suffering from.”

The climate change action plan promises to give the cabinet performance updates “twice yearly”, with monthly monitoring by a team at the council.

Criticising the report, opposition councillors complained the report lacked detail on the cost or timeline of each action, adding that the plan should have been scrutinised by a committee before being approved.

Resident’s Group leader Ray Morgon said: “You are not going to achieve everything you want to achieve by 2040, you don’t even know where money will come from. 

“None of the ambitions you have put forward have been formally costed.”

Havering’s cabinet member for housing, Joshua Chapman, replied that costs will be worked out “project by project”.

He added: “I think we’re in broad agreement that tackling this is challenging and not everything can be done straight away.

“It requires focus, ambition and prioritization, which is what is set out here.”

Labour leader Cllr Keith Darvill said the report had taken “far too long”, with other councils declaring climate emergencies back in 2019.

He added: “We’ll vote against this not on the basis that we don’t want a report that is not good enough and needs to take in a lot more detail.”

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter