Sutton Scene - Deputy Leader of the Council Column 02/10/2020

Published Friday, 2nd October 2020

Councillor Manuel Abellan's column from our Sutton Scene newsletter, Friday 2 October.

Sutton is taking ambitious action in response to the climate emergency and last night the Council’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee unanimously approved its new Environment Strategy and Climate Emergency Response Plan. The updated Strategy presents a vision of a zero carbon Sutton, and outlines the actions needed to achieve this. 

The benefits of a zero carbon Sutton are clear: cleaner air, safer streets, greener spaces and lower energy bills. Achieving this vision will require changes for all of us - some minor, some major. But the consequences of doing nothing are severe in Sutton - more flooding, extreme temperature changes and drought. 

Carbon is released every time we burn non-renewable energy to generate light, heat and power; every time we drive our cars; and every time something is made or thrown away. This means we all have to rethink our daily lives. 

Many of you are already making changes and I want to say thank you. I am hugely encouraged by the dedication to tackling the climate emergency shown by so many residents during the Council’s climate emergency survey and events earlier this year. The views of almost 900 people in Sutton have helped to shape the borough’s new Environment Strategy.

The Council is continuing to make changes to help move us towards a zero carbon Sutton. These include trialling School Streets and Low Traffic Areas to make it easier for people of all ages to move around the borough actively, healthily and safely; improving the energy efficiency of homes; working with residents in flats to make recycling easier; and creating sustainable drainage systems in schools and by roads. 

We are listening and consulting. If we trial things and residents say that a scheme, such as a Low Traffic Area, is not working, we will work with you to make improvements. We have made changes to some schemes already. If a scheme is not working, we will remove it. 

But the Council cannot tackle the climate emergency alone. It is only responsible for 3% of carbon emissions in Sutton. The Environment Strategy highlights the areas where funding, partnerships or changes by government are needed. 

And it outlines what we can all do as Sutton residents to make a difference. Small everyday actions can together make a huge difference across the borough. The Council will be sharing tips and updates through Sutton Scene and social media. We’ve made a good start - now let’s continue to work together to tackle the climate emergency in Sutton.