Kingston Council releases climate emergency draft action plan ahead of COP26

Kingston Council released its Climate Emergency Draft Action Plan in mid-October, putting forward strategies it could take to help get Kingston Upon Thames to net zero by 2038.

Kingston Council encouraged the community to share their thoughts by filling out the survey attached to the plan on what more it can do. 

The council split up its draft plan into sections which have an in-depth focus on topics like travel, waste, climate change, council buildings and more. The surveys are attached to each section. 

The shortened version of the survey is here

Councillor Stephanie Archer, the portfolio holder for environment and sustainable transport, said: “The suggested actions it contains will help the council reduce carbon emissions and create a cleaner, greener Kingston for everyone.” 

One of the sections that Kingston Council looks to improve is transport.

According to Gov.uk, transport was responsible for 34 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. The majority came from transport on the road.

Now that the country has opened back up again, Kingston Council aims to encourage more people to actively travel and also free up space on busy roads as part of its many solutions.

Kingston Council has already put solutions in place such as starting a new Cycle Hub, putting in 130 vehicle chargers, employing a biodiversity officer and much more. 

Some residents said they were happy with what it had done so far. Marilyn Mason, 75, said: “If you take things like the cycle paths, which obviously is a green thing to do, it’s met with an incredible amount of opposition but they’ve ploughed on. 

“Speaking as a cyclist… parts of Kingston are much pleasanter to cycle in as a result. I and other cyclists are doing the world a favour by cycling.”

Kingston’s Green Party Councillor Sharron Sumner said she thought the council was not doing enough.

 “Lots of people keep talking about things, but they’re not actually talking about doing things,” she said. 

“They don’t want to change peoples lives too much because they want people to still vote for them.”

Kingston Council has also said it has planted nearly 1500 news trees. Sumner, however, said they were not being sufficiently watered. “They’re planting 1500 new trees but they’re cutting down healthy mature trees,” she added. 

The Green Party has new proposals which they urge the Government to consider in COP26. 

One of the solutions they suggest is a carbon tax which aims to lower carbon emissions. The plan is to tax £100 per tonne of carbon and raise it to £500 in 2030. It aims to target big fuel companies that are big emitters and provide a tax yield for those on a lower income. 

Resident Stephen Cotterell, 65, said: “Our carbon based economy is killing our environment. Kingston has one of the most polluted roads. 

“Yes a carbon tax will work… because it has been shown to be effective elsewhere.”

COP26 will commence on October 31, where world leaders will come together to tackle climate change. The UK will work with other countries to bring carbon emissions down to meet The Paris Agreement. This aims to lower global warming to below two degrees. 

If you would like to read Kingston Council’s full draft environmental action plan and have your say visit: kingston.gov.uk

Share the story