The independent London newspaper

Climate change cannot be fought piecemeal

26 March, 2021

The ‘little forest’ at Dixon Clark Court

• WE have heard many dubious declarations regarding the shameful felling of trees at Dixon Clark Court, by Highbury Corner, for a net estimated total of 14 affordable one-and two-bedroom flats.

Yes, much needed flats, but at what an environmental cost.

The one declaration which actually matters is the one which was made on the steps of Islington Town Hall in June 2019 when a “climate emergency” was declared and a photo opportunity created with our two Members of Parliament, neither of whom subsequently seemed very interested in tree felling or in fact the climate emergency itself or how the council was tackling it.

If the council was serious about tackling climate change, would they:

– fell healthy mature trees (the “little forest” at Dixon Clark Court, the mulberry in Park View, the pear at Highbury Quadrant and doubtless others to come);

– delude themselves that “replacing” the six Dixon Clark Court trees with 63 saplings (locations unknown) a hedge and some bat boxes is really a suitable defence against climate change at this highly polluted junction;

– give permission to Canonbury Primary School to install an artificial grass playing field (this approved by, among others, the chair of the environment and regeneration scrutiny committee?

Isn’t it the role of that committee to scrutinise proposed plans, and if they are environmentally unsound to reject them? If the school needs the playing field then more ecologically suitable surfaces are available.

The whole area round Highbury Corner is being steadily stripped of nature and so should merit particular attention when it comes to planning proposals for yet more environmental destruction.

Actions do really speak louder than words; and many words were spoken at the scrutiny committee meeting on March 17 to discuss the council’s vision for achieving net-zero carbon status by 2030.

But to achieve anything meaningful, actions need to be joined up and the current piecemeal approach to tackling the environmental emergency we are facing just won’t wash. It’s #greenwash to think otherwise.

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