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Comment - Local Stuff

Council Aspirations by David Flint

Enfield Council presented its draft Sustainability Strategy - Enfield 2020 - on Sept 5. Jeff Laidler, Head of Sustainability, presented it to the Sustainability Scrutiny Panel at the Civic Centre where three EGP members listened with interest.

The strategy is very ambitious with a long list of worthwhile objectives. Many are unquantified and some beyond the scope of council policy. I'll look at just two: the reduction of carbon emissions and health inequalities.

Climate change
Enfield Council aims to reduce carbon emissions by 25% by 2014 and by 40% by 2020. It claims to have made reductions of 18% already which sounds good.

All these reductions are relative to 2005. Jeff Laidler agreed that they should be related to the Kyoto baseline year - 1990 - but that the necessary data was not available from so long ago. Perhaps so, but the effect is to set less ambitious goals than are needed. It's important, though obvious, to note that most of the buildings we'll use in 2050 have already been built. It follows that these buildings will have to meet the national 80% reduction targets. The REFIT and RENEW projects are therefore of the first importance. However, the new build targets are too modest. Developers should be required to reach code 5 next year not 2016 and encouraged to achieve zero carbon level.

Health inequalities
The document recognises that there are major health inequalities between rich and poor wards and the council wishes to reduce them. It notes that trends are likely to increase inequality. To this I'd add that a recent report has shown that much of the poor's ill health is lifestyle-related BUT the poor take less notice of better lifestyle advice than do the rich. In short I do not think that the council CAN reduce health inequalities. I expect them to increase.

First published in the EGP members newsletter, October 2012

Published and promoted by Bill Linton for Enfield Green Party, both at 39A Fox Lane, London N13 4AJ