Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party and its candidate for Hanwell Broadway ward has sent the following replies to EFoE’s six important environmental questions for the London Borough of Ealing. We also asked the same questions of the other political parties. We are still waiting to hear from Ealing Labour Party and Ealing Conservatives.
Question 1: Would you review Ealing Council’s Climate Strategy on a regular basis? (Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy – Adopted January 2021). In particular, would you provide estimates of the emissions saved so far as a result of the actions in the strategy and a projection of total emissions forward to 2030 (‘Net Zero’ year)?
Yes annually, we should not just be prudent with money but also our environment. There needs to be an audit of the targets in the Strategy each year. Actions speak louder than words, and we would work to ensure that the measures set out in the Strategy are put in place. Net zero is an ambitious target for a local Council, when many of the Borough’s emissions are outside its control. We must also work with all other organisations and communities on tackling emissions outside the Council’s direct control.
Question 2: Ealing Council has recently revised its Biodiversity Action Plan. What do you think of it and are you happy to see it adopted in its current form by end of 2022?
The plan is full of good intentions and short on concrete action. For example an unwillingness to properly protect Warren Farm and a campaign for a sports stadium to eat away at the nature reserve shows a lack of resolve. Designate all of Warren Farm a nature reserve now!
Question 3: Would you require developers to provide an estimate of carbon emissions – direct and ‘embedded’ – for all major planning applications in the borough?
Question 4: Would you place a requirement on developers to provide net zero carbon housing units?
Yes. Net zero is problematic of course, as there is a carbon cost to building anything new. Overall the Council must be more ambitious in what it is requiring from developers.
Question 5: Would you set a target to stabilise and then reduce the amount of motor traffic on Ealing’s roads? What policies would you adopt to achieve this?
Traffic must be reduced. All transport policies must expressly aim to reduce car use not just make traffic move more smoothly. There must be a connected network of safe routes for cycling, safe and attractive walking routes and joined up public transport. If the council’s net zero target by 2030 is to mean anything, car use will have to fall by at least 1/3 in this term.
Question 6: Would you establish a plan to address air pollution such that pollution levels across the entire borough are brought within UK legal limits and WHO (World Health Organisation) Guideline Values?
Yes, as above the Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy needs to be reviewed annually. The number of monitoring points must be increased and where air quality is not improving rapidly enough additional action must be taken.