Greenwich Council is poised to declare a climate emergency at Town Hall next week, months after initial calls from campaigners.

The council is set to pledge to be free of single-use plastics by 2020 and carbon neutral by 2030 as it takes the step at a meeting on June 26.

Pressure to join neighbouring boroughs and declare an emergency has mounted, with a petition started by the local Green party being backed by more than 400 people.

Campaigners say the Blackwall and proposed Silvertown Tunnel, paired with the new Ikea superstore and gridlock are damaging resident’s lungs.

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, the cabinet member for environment, stopped short of previously declaring an emergency in February, but is set to take the step next week.


Greenwich Council to join other boroughs in 'climate emergency' call

The council will commit to being carbon neutral by 2030 and to create the first “Greenwich Partnership” to focus on climate change, pledging to work with partner organisations to improve the environment.

A motion, backed by the Labour group, said: “Council notes that the impacts of climate breakdown are already causing serious damage around the world.

“That all governments (national, regional and local) have a duty to act, and local governments that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.

“That strong policies to cut emissions also have associated health, wellbeing and economic benefits; and that, recognising this, a growing number of UK local authorities have already passed ‘Climate Emergency’ motions.”

The council has also pledged to “use [its] lobbying power as a local authority to campaign at the local, London-wide and national level to draw attention to issue and bring about changes at all levels of government”.


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It comes following mounting pressure from environmental campaigners over the planned Silvertown Tunnel and air quality in the borough.

Stop the Silvertown Tunnel will be protesting outside City Hall on June 20, ahead of a citizens assembly on Saturday held by Extinction Rebellion to tackle pollution.

The council has consistently supported the new tunnel between Greenwich Peninsula and Silvertown despite numerous campaigns against it.

The controversial road, which is due to open in 2025, is aimed at combating congestion around the Blackwall Tunnel – however critics say it will make the situation worse.

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio London earlier this month, Council leader Danny Thorpe said: “We are working hard to be clear on now the decision has been taken is getting the right mitigation to make sure there are no adverse impacts on the borough. There’s clearly people for it and against it but, look at the Blackwall Tunnel, now that was built in 1887 for carriages and horses.

“As a city, we have to have serious conversations about the infrastructure we need to keep our city moving. We want to get people cycling and walking, we are working with the mayor and his team to make sure public transport is people’s first choice.”