Southwark Council has postponed a climate emergency public conference “in light of the rapidly changing picture” of Covid-19.  

Leader Councillor Peter John said the council could not engage a “representative cross-section” of residents if most elderly people were being advised to stay at home.  

The public meeting, Southwark’s first community conference to tackle the climate emergency, was set to take place on March 21. It’s not yet known what date it will be postponed to.  

Cllr Peter John said: “The current challenges that we are all facing with Covid-19, mean that we have to take sensible decisions based on official guidance, and what we feel is the right thing to do for our residents, staff and councillors.  

“We cannot hold a conference which is meant to engage a representative cross-section of our residents if a significant element of our older population is being encouraged by government advice to stay away from large meetings. 

“Climate change remains a top priority for Southwark and so we will continue to engage with residents, businesses and groups across the borough to make sure that everyone can get involved and be part of tackling the climate emergency together”. 

According to the council, the decision to postpone will not delay plans to develop a climate emergency strategy by July. 

Councils around the country could stop holding public meetings in general amid the health crisis. 

Southwark is currently reviewing its schedule to decide whether other meetings should go ahead.