Why Not Southwark Campaign

Southwark Council Must Act Now to Protect the Future of Southwark Residents

In 2019, Southwark Council declared a Climate Emergency. Since then, their response has been very un-emergency-like, and more a case of business as usual. But the climate crisis is already directly impacting the health and wellbeing of residents in Southwark and it’s only going to get worse in the future. We see other local authorities and Councils taking action and taking this moment to adapt and change, so we ask: 

Why not southwark?

We’re asking for Southwark Council to seize this opportunity and display leadership to protect the future of Southwark residents. 

We have three immediate steps for the Council to take: 

1. Immediately stop funding companies which are contributing to the climate crisis. Divest the Southwark Pension fund from fossil fuel companies.

2. Stop treating everything as business as usual and hoping the climate crisis will just go away. Enact constitutional change to bring the climate crisis to the heart of Council decisions.

3. Listen to Southwark Residents. Implement and empower a Citizen’s Assembly to have Southwark residents oversee changes to Southwark’s climate policy.

What can you do?

Tell Southwark Council they need to Step Up and Act Now on the Climate Crisis:

1. Use your voice

Write, email, tweet or communicate on Facebook with your local Councillor. Tell them your concerns about the climate crisis and let them know that mitigating the climate crisis should be at the heart of everything Southwark Council does. 

You can use the tool Write To Them to find you local Councillor by just typing in your post code. Once you have found them, you can send them an email about the issue to let them know your concerns. Here is a draft letter already written for you, but you can personalise it with your own concerns about the climate crisis in the borough.

2. Take a stand

When local elections come around, vote for a councillor who is committing to real change and not empty promises. 

3. Spread the word on social media

Post or tweet about the climate issues which matter and how Southwark Council can do more. Use the hashtag #WhyNotSouthwark and direct it to @SouthwarkCouncil. You can also repost, retweet and like XR Southwark’s social media posts.  Follow us on Social Media at:




4. Sign up for XR Southwark’s Digital newsletter

Remember to select ‘Southwark’ if you want content related to your borough. You can also come along to one of our monthly New Member Inductions. 
Join here!

5. Donate now

If you can’t spare any time to help in our campaign, that’s okay! We’re currently looking for donations to help fund the campaign. If you can spare a few pounds, it will go a long way to help our cause.

act now!




want to learn more?

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the world faces catastrophic climate and ecological risks if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees. We’re currently on track for 3.2 degrees warming, which presents an existential risk to humans, communities and biodiversity.  We need to act now to prevent catastrophic climate change!

Southwark impact

We are seeing the impact of climate change and air pollution on Southwark right now and this will only get worse:

  • 6.1% of deaths in Southwark are attributed to human-made air pollution. In December 2020, Ella Kissi-Debrah became the first person to have air pollution listed as a cause of death, a decision made by Southwark Coroner’s Court.
  •  Increased frequency of storms and rapidly rising seas as a consequence of the climate crisis will make 60% of Southwark residents and businesses at risk of severe flooding in the near future.
  • Due to failed crops and biodiversity loss, the climate crisis will threaten supply of food across the world. As many as 75,000 people in the borough are at risk of climate crisis related food poverty.

Other UK Councils are taking action and leading on climate crisis – #WhyNotSouthwark?

Southwark Council must follow their example and display leadership to protect the future of Southwark residents.



1. Higher housing standards 
  • Ipswich and Cambridge council have a requirement for all new homes to meet Level four of the Code for Sustainable Homes, a 19% improvement on national standards. Southwark Council is the largest landlord in London, yet they have made no commitments in their 2020 Housing Strategy to develop a set carbon reduction strategy.


2. Invest in active travel and public transport
  • Greater Manchester has a ten-year plan to build 120km of segregated cycle routes on main roads and add new or improve existing cycle and pedestrian crossings
  •  Greater Manchester also has free buses to encourage use of public transport. Southwark Council only aims to reduce trips by cars and motorbikes by 13% by 2041, despite contributing 142 tonnes of CO2 every year.


3. Tree planting 
  •  Enfield Council has committed to planting 100,000 new trees by 2022, creating 60 hectares of new woodland on council land
  • Hackney Council is planning 36,000 new trees with the aim for 40% of streets to have canopy cover. 
  • Southwark Council has promised to introduce just 10,000 trees to the borough by 2022, despite being larger in size than Hackney


4. Invest in Renewable Energy Projects
  •  Warrington Borough Council has launched a green investment scheme. They have also purchased a solar farm which powers council buildings and homes, which also saves them money.


5. Divest from fossil fuels 
  •  Waltham Forest, Enfield, Haringey, Hackney, South Yorkshire and Merseyside have chose to divest their investments out of coal, oil and gas companies whose actions are fuelling climate changeSouthwark Council currently has £3.65 million invested in Shell.


6. raising funds to reinvest in climate initiatives 
  •  Nottingham City Council uses a levy on employers providing parking spaces to encourage public transport and create a fund to reinvest in active transport and public transport, so far raising £61 million to reinvest back into tackling climate crisis


7. Putting the climate crisis and the hearts of decision making, including COVID-19 recovery
  • Camden Council made constitution changes in November 2020 to make sure all council decisions enhance the natural environment and to act to mitigate and adapt to climate crisis
  • Bristol City Council co-founded Bristol’s Green Capital Partnership bringing together organisations working towards making Bristol a sustainable city and have a Black & Green Ambassadors programme to connect and empower diverse leadership and community action 

act now!