Residents hope to gather 2,000 signatures before petition goes to full council
A petition calling on Merton Council to declare a climate change emergency has gathered nearly 1,500 signatures.
A group of residents is hoping that the petition reaches 2,000 signatures before it goes before a full council meeting on July 10.
It was set up by Pippa Maslin (pictured above right) , who said: “Scientists warn that climate breakdown is the single biggest issue facing us.”
So far, 85 councils across the country have declared a climate emergency with many committing to carbon neutrality by 2030 – this is what she is hoping Merton Council will do.
Dr Maslin added: “We’re the last generation who can prevent climate catastrophe, but we only have 12 years to do so. The new government target of net-zero emissions by 2050 is a step in the right direction but it’s still too little too late.”
And although she is a member of the Green Party she thinks that this issue is bigger than party politics.
She said: “We know that political parties in Merton are discussing a climate emergency and we welcome that. Climate breakdown is far bigger than party politics and people signing this petition hold a range of political views.”
And Councillor Tobin Byers, cabinet member for adult social care, health and the environment at Merton Council, said he is keen for the council to make a climate declaration.
He said: “We are keen to bring forward a declaration at some point and for it to be cross party.
“I’ve been working with officers to look at what it would take to reduce our carbon emissions. I will now be talking to the other parties to see if they support it.
“The petition will be submitted at some point and I am very keen to continue working with Pippa and the various groups in the borough.
“If we do make a declaration the next stage would be to create a plan in partnership with the community.”
But he said that 97% of emissions in the borough are out of the council’s control so it would need to work with businesses and other organisations to have an impact.
He added: “I think it is absolutely right that the council shows some leadership and makes a declaration and sets the framework for carbon reduction. But we are only going to make a difference if we can work collaboratively with community groups.”
Along with other concerned residents Dr Maslin taken her campaign to the streets of Merton encouraging people to sign their petition, which is also available online at www.change.org/p/we-call-on-merton-council-to-declare-a-climate-emergency.
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
June 25, 2019