Tony Gill, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidate for the North Hanwell ward in the local elections on May 5th, submitted the following replies to our six important environmental questions for 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)?
My answer is Yes, we will. Now two-thirds of Local Councils (District, County, Unitary and Metropolitan) have declared a climate emergency. But it is vital that climate emergency announcements are not just lip service, and must lead to real action through public support. As TUSC representatives, we urge the fact that elected councillors, trade unions, environmental groups and campaigners’ efforts will be fundamental to holding councils accountable through public pressure to translate paper targets into concrete action. We will work alongside Trade Unions, respective environmental groups and campaigners on this. Although the Climate Change Act did not include a statutory duty for local authorities to set carbon reduction targets, again, public pressure will be needed for councils to set targets based on the carbon footprint, not just of council run services but capturing total emissions for their area.
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?
Well, to be honest, after having read through the relevant material, the information provided looks good to me, But “Once again” I strongly urge for the fact that the announcements made are not just lip service, and we must ensure that real action is taken to ensure that the BAP is carried out accordingly as promised. As TUSC representatives, we urge the fact that elected councillors, trade unions, environmental groups and campaigners’ efforts will be fundamental to holding councils accountable through public pressure to translate paper targets into concrete action.
Question 3: Would you require developers to provide an estimate of carbon emissions – direct and ‘embedded’ – for all major planning applications in the borough?
Yes, we will.
Question 4: Would you place a requirement on developers to provide net zero carbon housing units?
Yes, we will. Councils have powers in enforcing environmental standards in public and private housing and buildings. The Green Building Council confirms that local authorities are not restricted in their ability to require energy efficiency standards above building regulations. These powers can be enforced in new builds and the social housing programmes which TUSC stands for.
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?
Yes, we will. Local authorities have powers to intervene in the provision of bus and transport services, which can be used to ensure they are run in the interests of local people, to boost the use of public transport. A massive increase in funding is needed for cheaper, genuinely affordable and greener transport. We do believe that the council should be part of the fight for this funding. It should be pressure on both London Mayor and the Central Government to properly fund public transport through democratic channels.
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, we will. We do believe in the fact that in drawing up local Climate Emergency Plans, councils could set targets based on the carbon footprint, not just of council run services, but capturing total emissions for the local area, giving a real picture of what needs to be done to tackle the climate crisis. We do urge that Councils should take the lead in monitoring and reducing air pollution and could work with union Unite and Hazards UK which have produced important practical and campaign advice.