Labour declares an environmental and climate emergency
Labour declares an environmental and climate emergency

Hornsey & Wood Green Labour has an active climate change & environment group, and I let them know what I’ve been up to in Parliament at their regular meetings. Here’s my latest report:

On 28 March in Parliament, Labour declared a national climate and environment emergency.  Species decline, habitat destruction and climate change are progressing at an alarming rate under this government, risking our food supply, landscapes, infrastructure, and public health.  It was recently revealed that the UK will miss almost all its 2020 nature targets, with 14 out of 19 biodiversity targets currently not being met by the government.

It’s absolutely crucial that Labour puts maximum pressure on this inept Government to act and declaring a ‘Climate Emergency’ is an internationally recognised term being used around the world to publicly register concern over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings describing the enormous harm that a 2°C rise in global temperatures would cause.

There has been a wave of motions from Councils across the country, including Haringey, recognising the gravity of the situation and the need for radical action if we’re to have any realistic chance of keeping global temperatures below the limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees.

Calling on HSBC to phase out funding for fossil fuels
Calling on HSBC to phase out funding for fossil fuels

Since my last report, I’ve joined Muswell Hill & Hornsey Friends of the Earth as they campaigned outside Muswell Hill HSBC to urge the bank to stop funding coal and set a timetable for phasing out finance for fossil fuels. Big banks have a real responsibility to set the agenda in this area and I’d like to see HSBC doing much more to invest responsibly and think about the role investment plays in funding climate breakdown.

I’ve continued to challenge this Government about their wrong-headed decision to close the feed in tariff and damage our growing solar industry.  The scheme was a huge success and its closure has led 30-40% of firms contemplating closure and international figures considering pulling out of the UK market.  It’s completely the wrong approach at a time when we should be encouraging investment in renewables and moving away from our reliance on fossil fuels.  I took part in a Westminster Hall debate and in my interventions, I highlighted the impact on small businesses and on schools, where the overheads tend to be greater and asked what the Government is doing to ensure more solar installations on Government buildings where they should be leading the way.  I have now written to the Business, Energy & Climate Change Secretary Greg Clark, asking him to listen to the voices of the many young people involved in this campaign by, even at this late stage, delaying the removal of the Feed in Tariff and Export Tariff. I also requested that he meets with a group of young people and parliamentarians to discuss these issues as a matter of urgency.

The Speaker called me at Communities and Local Government Questions – where I pressed the Secretary of State for the need for an integrated approach to housing which has a green agenda at its core whether that be local energy production, conservation or insulation.

I’m one of 34 MPs who has signed a cross-party letter to the Prime Minister asking her to undo the blocks the government has placed on onshore wind energy.  Onshore wind is supported by over three quarters of the UK public, and is our cheapest energy source. Despite public concern about climate change reaching a ten-year high, since 2015 government policy has prevented new onshore wind turbines from being built. In light of this, we’re calling on the government to amend planning and energy policy to allow new projects to be brought forward, helping to decarbonise the UK’s energy system – and even bring down energy bills for consumers because of its low cost.

Finally, this Saturday 13 April I’m looking forward to chairing a public meeting on “Haringey in a time of climate emergency” at the Royal British Legion Hall in N10 and have been helping to promote this important event through social media.


Catherine West
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green




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