In positive news, XRS requested and were invited to attend the Overview and Scrutiny Panel of the Council on December 1 2021, to discuss Southwark Council’s Climate Strategy and Action Plan following the criticisms presented by XRS in partership with 18 other community groups when it was first launched in July. 

We approached the OSC as we had not gained much traction with Cabinet member Cllr Helen Dennis (whose Cabinet position covers the climate emergency) and Chris Page, Southwark’s Director for the Climate Emergency, about making the plan ‘SMART’. Our presentation to the OSC suggested three ‘easy’ improvements:

  1. Include SMART targets for every action in the plan, so that progress can be tracked (we gave Newcastle’s climate plan as a comparison to Southwark’s)
  2. Outline the rough cost and potential funding sources for each action, and identify the carbon savings for each action (cost-benefit assessment to drive prioritisation)
  3. Align the CAP with other plans that the Council has / is preparing – New Southwark Plan, Movement Plan, Waste Plan and give timelines for when these will be done
  4. Plus a fourth request, to train all councillors on how to monitor climate action progress according to their constitutional obligation, given that climate action is complicated and wide-ranging.

The Chair welcomed a “very constructive” presentation, and the often repeated view was that this was a very clear and helpful intervention. A positive discussion followed and the OCS voted to formally recommend XRS’s four requested improvements to the Council, and that the Cllr Dennis, who was on the call, was requested to report back to the next OSC meeting in March 2022 on progress against these goals.

The slides we presented are below in PDF format for your information, and a link to the meeting itself is on YouTube here. XRS Lobbying coordinator Eloise Waldon-Day and Local Group coordinator Megan Atkins spoke for XRS, at about two hours in.

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