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Islington Council told to treat climate crisis like WWII preparation

"Islington's planning system is too slow", architect says

05 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Christopher Procter: We need an emergency style plan

THE Town Hall needs a “World War II emergency-style” plan to accomplish its vision of a carbon-neutral borough
by 2030, an architect has warned.

All 48 councillors backed a motion acknowledging a climate emergency and the need to cut carbon emissions to net-zero by 2030 at the monthly full council meeting last Thursday.

But there has been little in the way of explanation of how exactly they plan to do this.

During questions from the public, architect Christopher Procter, based in Cross Street, Barnsbury, said the council needed to adopt “an emergency supplement” to its Local Plan, which acts as a blueprint for planning policy and lasts until 2035.

He told the packed chamber: “We are facing human extinction. To prevent this, all council resources have to be temporarily shifted to decarbonisation.”
He accused the council’s local planning system of “not being fit for purpose”, adding: “The borough’s response to climate change focuses on new-builds without addressing existing low- standard buildings.”

Speaking to the Tribune after the meeting, the award-winning architect explained how, without the council promoting “serious retrofitting” in all homes in the borough, it would fail to meet the carbon-zero target.

Retrofitting involves the installation of new insulation in walls, new windows and doors and can include the addition of a small number of solar panels on the roof.
Mr Procter advised that the council needs to undertake a survey to find out exactly how many homes need to be retrofitted to be more energy efficient.
A large chunk of the carbon emissions produced by this country is down to heating homes.

Islington’s local plan: A blueprint for planning until 2035

The planning system was “too slow” in Islington, putting people off applying for permission to take on retrofitting projects in their homes, Mr Procter said.

“It’s harder to achieve things when it’s so slow,” he added. “In the private sector people need incentives and the council needs to make the planning easier and faster. That should have all been in the Local Plan but it wasn’t.”

Mr Procter called for a WWII-style plan because “there was amazing mobilisation in such a short time”.

He said: “Emergency requires some sort of mobilisation and different ways of thinking. This has to involve all of the community.”

Housing chief Diarmaid Ward defended the council’s Local Plan, which recommends that developers pay a carbon offset levy for new developments.
The Labour councillor said: “While we do not plan to create an emergency supplement, the council is doing everything we can to reduce the impact of our buildings on the climate.”

He added that the council needed “further legal framework and resources” from the government.

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